Definitions

23 Mar

Although the students I teach are gifted, they have, for the most part, led sheltered lives. They can read difficult texts, but sometimes lack the maturity or life experience to understand everything. It is a challenge to be a gifted 6th grade reader.

As a result, students occasionally come across words in their reading that they don’t know. Some of them skip the words, some of them look them up, and a few come to ask me. I almost never decline. I want them to know they can ask me anything. I will occasionally give a quick definition coupled with encouragement to get more details from a parent, but I will always tell them something.

The best one came today. We read Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” which contains the lines

From his loins would have sprung ten sons. From their loins one hundred sons, and thus onward  to a civilization.

As students were annotating the text, a boy asked me what “loins” meant. I might have used the term “downstairs” and mentioned the body between the belly button and knees. He nodded and understood.

Another student sitting nearby overheard our conversation. I saw the color drain from his face as he said, “Like pork loin?”

I could imagine what he was thinking, so I said, “That comes from a pig’s side.” I wasn’t sure that was true, but I didn’t want to ruin pork loin for him forever.

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10 Responses to “Definitions”

  1. elsie March 23, 2017 at 5:36 am #

    Horrors for the child visualizing pork loin is something else! LOL! Oh yes, vocabulary can be tricky.

  2. terierrol March 23, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    Sometimes you have to be careful because not always sure what picture they are painting in their heads. Idioms can be so much fun to teach too.

  3. lwalpuck March 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    This is so funny! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful, smile-inducing slice from your day.

  4. arjeha March 23, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    Thanks for the smile. You never know what kind of an image a sixth grader will conjure up.

  5. Christine Baldiga March 23, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    Our students keep us smiling for sure. Such a funny story.

  6. JudyK March 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

    So funny! It reminds me of when I was about 6th grade age. I was at home, reading the newspaper, and came across a word that I could decode, but didn’t know the meaning of. “Hey, mom” I called across the room to my mother, “what does ‘prostitution’ mean?” Mom got flustered and muttered something about “you’ll learn about it when you’re older”, and I realized that it was one of THOSE words that I was going to have to look up on my own. 🙂 ~JudyK

  7. franmccrackin March 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    What a great little moment! I laughed so long my husband got curious so I read it to him 🙂
    So great to capture it, and you wrote it very well. It strikes me as one of those teaching moments that flies by so fast that you would have forgotten it if not for this writing challenge. Do you agree?
    Also, I don’t know if you ever teach PD, but you might fit this in somewhere. Great story.

    • Adrienne March 24, 2017 at 5:14 am #

      I almost didn’t write this one. I had something else in mind, but this one niggled at my brain fot the rest of the day and I knew I had to write it.

  8. Sonia March 23, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    what a great story. I’m so glad I never taught kids that age. It was hard enough when my daughter would ask questions — I was never good at gauging what was an appropriate answer for whatever age she was. You could collect these moments — it would make a very interesting essay.

  9. jet197 March 24, 2017 at 8:17 am #

    I laughed out loud! The way you told the story was perfect! “Like pork loin?” I’m still chuckling…

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