Category Archives: kidspeak

Classroom Kidspeak

I’ve been reading aloud to my classes Heartbeat, Sharon Creech’s wonderful coming-of-age tale, written in poetic format. I began today’s reading with the chapter titled “Footnotes.”

“Anybody know what a footnote is?” I asked.

“They’re words that you have to step on,” said M-Boy.


Later in the day, I was reading aloud to students in my reading intervention class. The subject was jellyfish and how their polyps clone themselves. “That means,” I said, “that the polyp makes an exact replica of itself over and over again.”

I turned to D-Boy and said, “Can you imagine having two D-Boys exactly alike?”

“Hey!” exclaimed D-Boy, “That’d be cool! I could send the other one to school and I could stay home.”


Laughing My Way?

I still have a staggeringly long list of things I have to do before I can turn in my keys and collect my final paycheck on Tuesday. One of them is to make sure that I’ve administered the Brigance Diagnostic Test of Essential Skills to each of my students. It’s an instrument that helps measure academic progress (or in some cases, regress) from the beginning of the year to the end. Our special ed department requires it for each student with an IEP.

One section of the test asks students to read aloud and give the meaning of common abbreviations: Mr., Dr., lb., oz., and so forth. (Oh, etc. is part of the list too!) When F-Boy reached some unfamiliar abbreviations in the list, he didn’t stumble or say, “I don’t know.” He made up his own meaning:

DOBDrunk on Bus (No buses around here, but plenty of drunks. Sadly.)
POprobation officer (F-Boy’s definition makes perfect sense in this and other low-income communities, but it’s not what the creators of the Brigance had in mind, which is post office.)
sq. ft.squat on feet (Sounds like instructions for using an Asian-style toilet.)
sq. in.squat inside (Don’t relieve yourself outside, go inside!)
cu. in.cut into (I don’t want to know into what.)
ml Miller Lite (No surprise. F-Boy was arrested a few weeks ago for possessing beer on campus.)

Even though we recently experienced a terrible tragedy at our school, I couldn’t help but laugh as F-Boy gave me his unique perspective on abbreviations. F-Boy has been a thorn in my side all year, but he redeemed himself in my eyes (although not in the administration’s eyes—he’s ending the year in ISS) the last couple of days of school by giving me the gift of laughter.

Now, if I can just keep laughing my way through the dozen or more things I still have to check off my to-do list before I can turn in my keys and get my final paycheck…

Kidspeak: ‘Fart-Walking’

I am escorting my seventh-graders back to the classroom after an excursion to the library. B-Boy is walking beside me, scuffing his shoes on the floor so that they squeak with every step.

“Mister!” B-Boy exclaims. “I’m fart-walking!”