Thursday, March 04, 2010

Kids Say the Most Alarming Things

When I think of potentially dangerous topics or lessons in my classroom, I think of, say, racism. Or sex ed. Or a spirited Mets vs. Yankees debate. I don't usually think of context clues. But lo and behold, my children are creative and perhaps slightly disturbed.

During the 37.5 minutes today, I was working with a few kids on context clues, using a book one of the girls is reading as a model. I read aloud a sentence in which a drink was described as having a "fiery, intense, and succulent" flavor. "Succulent" was the unfamiliar word. So, I asked the students, how would we use context clues to figure out the meaning of this word?

"Well," Tammy said, a little uncertainly, "she says in the next sentence that she loves the taste. So 'succulent' must be, like, good."

"Yeah, but it's 'fiery,'" argued Dawn. "So that's, you know, burning. Stuff that burns doesn't taste good."

"Right, usually when something is described as burning, it's not good," I agree. "Like you don't like it. But this character seems to like that burning taste."

"I like burning," Jack chimed in.

I hope he means in the cayenne-pepper sense of the word.
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