Finding Sophisticated Words
Finding Sophisticated Words
Raold Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, Matilda (and many more) are classic children’s stories with colossal figures and hilariously gruesome events. My all time favorite by this author is an adult short story called Parson’s Pleasure where a miserly antique dealer tries to swindle rural folk out of an antique dresser. He convinces them to sell, saying among other things that the piece of furniture is, “not worth more than firewood.” Eventually the farmers give in and to “help” the swindler fit the piece in his car, take an extraordinary measure with the Chippendale.
I thought of this when I recently wandered into a classroom. The room was darkened, students were sitting in a semicircle facing the screen. Right there, big and bold was Mrs. Trenchbull from Roald Dahl’s Matilda, close- up face, menacing, evil, bulging eyes. Pause was pressed, “Ok,” the teacher says, “Someone give me words to describe Mrs. Trenchbull?”
“Mean,” shares a student.
“Oh, yes, she is mean! As 6th graders we now are able to use sophisticated words, we launch from the word mean. What are other words to describe her?” said the teacher.
The class is first silent, then writing furiously their ideas, then wanting to share. “Loathsome,” says a second student. The alternatives pour out.
Teachings from the Teacher’s College Units of Study are simple yet sophisticated. They use multiple ways to help children get at one specific topic, such as character traits. Each young learner sees a movie or reads a piece and adds his or her own words to help make meaning. The 6th grade teacher sets a high standard for picking descriptive words. The students dive right in!
In addition to description, Raold Dahl uses names to create imagery, another trait of excellent writing. Born in 1915 this children’s author undoubtedly heard stories from elders of the trench warfare in World War I. Cold, wet, gangrene, gruesome. Why not name an onerous character Trenchbull? The two words together, just in their name, conjure an image of the character. Matilda’s teacher’s name is Ms. Honey. What sort of character is she?
As we teach our children to be good readers and writers, it is such a joy to use the literature that exist as exemplar texts. Pieces of movies, media, written word help us see examples of how we nurture our young readers and writers. What a gift to be able to talk about this and teach! And stretch our children to think beyond the plain, to the intricate and sophisticated!
XC: First Ever Kingdom East XC race at Burke Town School on Wednesday, October 23rd. (Thursday, October 24th as a rain date). Mark your calendars!
Facilities – We hope to every Friday produce a video about our facilities. As many of you know we have some significant needs in our buildings. These weekly videos will highlight our opportunities and challenges. If you have a Facilities Friday idea, send it our way! link for Facilities Friday Video (today) Facilities Friday youtube playlist link
Progress Reports: Regular communication with parents is necessary for them to effectively partner with you in their child’s learning, and any time a parent requests a written update on their child’s progress, it should be provided.
However, separate mid-trimester formal progress reports (as they have existed from past practice) are not expected at the district level. One of the reasons why TeacherEase was chosen was to provide ongoing feedback to parents regarding student achievement/progress. Although TeacherEase isn’t fully functioning yet, we are getting very close to going live, and teachers should be putting emphasis on how they are documenting achievement/progress toward the identified learning targets according to the grading scale, so that they can report out at the end of the trimester. There will also be a place on the report card where narrative feedback is given.
Current Open Positions in Kingdom East School District – please click on this link to see all open positions.
Fine and Performing Arts: KCP Presents season, two amazing shows in the next few weeks that students can attend for FREE.
- October 9th, 2019 Grammy Award-Winning Apollo’s Fire will be playing at Fuller Hall
- October 21st, world-renowned Pink Martini with vocalist China Forbes will be back at Fuller Hall:
Kingdom East School District- School Board. Meeting Schedule
Kingdom East Website http://www.kingdomeast.org
School Board Landing page- Warnings and minutes for all Board Meetings