Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teacher Tuesday

We've missed several "Teacher Tuesdays" since we took a family vacation to Disneyworld.  It was fun to say the least - full of flamboyant middle aged men in Mickey Gear, Single 35 year old women kissing Pooh Bear, (You think I'm kidding about this but I'm not.) and countless screaming children.  At any time, you could probably spot at least 10 meltdowns occurring.  Isn't Disney supposed to be the "happiest place on earth"?  Good thing we had a blast anyways!!!  It was a fabulous vacation, one that I probably won't get to repeat anytime soon - so thanks mom and dad!

While teaching 1st grade, I had tons of students that would go on trips to Disneyland.  I even had one student that had been 17 times in her short 7 years!  I got to hear about many Disneyland trips, and read about many in student journals.

One day, I was preparing grades for conferences and wanted to look at writing samples from the students.  I pulled out all their journals and began reading.  To any other person, their writing would be completely illegible, but a first grade teacher becomes expert at reading and making sense of complete gibberish.  As little ones are learning to write, they record their words in the same manner that they say them.  Everything is sounded out with no attention to spelling rules.  Love becomes "luv", because becomes "becuz", sing becomes "seg".  You get the idea, right?  (I even once had a we become "wii" - I think that student was counting video game playing as reading time...)

Spelling becomes even more difficult to students with speech impediments.  Just like everyone else, they record their words exactly as they hear themselves say it.  This became very apparent to me as I was reading through student journals.  I came to one that said, "We went to Disneyland.  It was wile wile fun."  I stared at that page forever trying to figure out if the student meant "while" or "Willy" until it hit me.  This particular student always substituted the /r/ sound for the /w/ sound - a very common mistake.  Apparently, he had really really fun at Disneyland!  I thought it was so cute, I copied the page and sent it home to his mom.

So - just like little Billy, I had "wile wile" fun at Disneyworld and can't wait to go back someday!!!

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