Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chortle and other words of the week.

K brought her vocabulary words home and there was a word that I had never heard of-- chortle.  Rachael is going to ask, "You mean that you didn't read Through The Looking-Glass?"  No, I didn't.  I wasn't really an Alice in Wonderland kind of kid and I still have no interest as an adult.  Hubs didn't even realize that it was a word.  A point to know is that chortle is a "blend of chuckle and snortcoined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass  (1871)."  Good to know!

K had some rather difficult homework this evening.  While I was at work, I got a text from one of the class parents.  She asked if I had seen the antonym paper and I told her that I wasn't home yet, but I'd text her when I had.  

Sweet love.  That thing is a hot mess. 

K and I pulled out the thesaurus and found that our desk copy was just not beefy enough.  We had to go to Webster's online.  We worked for probably 20 minutes trying to fill in 5 blanks.  Wow.  I texted the parent back, who said that they came up with the same answers that we did except for one that they had left blank.  K and I talked about it and decided that we needed to change the suffix to make it fit.  Either way, I told K to tell me tomorrow how many kids actually turn this paper in.  Honestly, it put that 7 years of college education I have to use.  Dang.  I'm not usually that involved in her homework.  I usually just check it, bring errors to her attention and if she doesn't know how to fix them, I help to guide her problem solving.  

Today, K had a vocabulary quiz in science.  That quiz involved the technical definitions for solid, liquid, gas, mass, matter, volume, density and solution.  Hubs, 2 classes shy of pre-med in college, about had a heart attack when he saw what we had to teach her.  He said that the definitions that she had looked like they came out of a college book.  He has spent the last 5 days doing wonderful experiments with her and looking videos up online so that she can know what these definitions not only mean, but why they are what they are.  However, Hubs was teaching her definitions that he found online.  He said that they were easier.  "But, they aren't what she is being tested on.  The wording she is being tested on is right here."  He was stunned.  I told him that she needed to be familiar with those particular definitions because that was the wording she was being tested on-- not what was online.  That launched Hubs into a tirade of how kids are only taught to memorize facts and if all they are doing is memorizing a set of words without knowledge of what it means.  "But I've shown her and she knows what density and volume are.  She can tell you about mass and matter!  She can tell you the difference of solid, liquid and gas!"  I get it.  I really do.  We sat down last night and did flash cards with her.  You'd be glad to know that girlie earned a 100% on her quiz.  :wipes to the forehead:  Wow. We had an interesting discussion about it at work yesterday.  The gallery director said, "But you want them to dumb it down, right?"  "I don't want the definitions dumbed down.  I want them age appropriate.  Kids can't know what all these things mean if you don't make it something that they can understand first."  

I'm not sitting and asking for my child to either be spoon-fed or not to be challenged.  I know that K's teachers are teaching what they have to and in some cases, not at all what they want to be teaching or in the manner that they would like to be teaching it.  I admit that this week has been filled with chewy words for her.  Added to the list are the words cantankerous and boisterous.  She may have heard me say boisterous, but I can tell you that I have never used the word cantankerous around her.  I do admit that we've been freely slinging the word "chortle" around all evening.  You need to get your chortle moving!  Have you fed your chortle yet?  We're all a little round in the chortle.  Yes, we know it was the complete wrong use of the word, but it sounds funny.  Why not have fun with a funny sounding word?  If it helps, K knows that it means, "To laugh heartily."  She'll even tell you that as you say it 4 different times in one sentence.  :)

Have a great night!  May the chortles be with you!


Rach said...

I DO so love the word "chortle". And, no worries, I've not read Lewis Carol--too twisted to comprehend when I was younger, and now, no time. :oP

I do, however enjoy and love fun words. :o)

You are absolutely correct in that teachers are required to teach what the state and district mandate and there's not a lot we can do about it. I completely get Hubs's argument about teaching to the test and whatnot as it isn't unheard of to hear teachers saying the exact same thing. We've lost critical thinking skills. Kids now just want to know "what do we have to know for the test" and expect you to give it to them instead of figuring it out on their own and applying the knowledge they have and stretching it. It's really quite sad. Something that was meant to instill academic rigor and consistency instead has reduced them to mediocrity in some respects. Good teachers can still get in those critical thinking skills and challenge their students, but it's a tough thing.

And, I've soapboxed...I'm done, I promise.

ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Is it just harder because it's 4th grade or is it moving toward the "Common Core" standards?

Flash cards are a great idea. Both my boys make them for definitions and it helps.

Hang in there Bailey's Leaf Family!

Bailey's Leaf said...

I think that it is probably a combination of the two. It don't know and do know that it is what it is. There is no changing it, so we better hang on. This one is going to be one loooonnnnngggg ride!