Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Oopsie!

I did not post here on the blog yesterday although I did write many many words on student papers.  Mostly, I scribbled 'Excellent!', 'Very creative epilogue!', and 'Wow!  You really understand alliteration now!'  A couple of times I penned, 'Fragment' or 'Watch your punctuation and quotations' or 'Oops! Banned Word!' 

In my class, students are not allowed to use say/said, get/got, come/came, go/went, or see/saw/look (this list is representative but not complete) because those verbs are overused and have become meaningless and boring.  Students are required to use their thesaurus (gasp! yes, really) to discover stronger, more vibrant verbs to substitute in their stories.  I also have banned the use of very and really as adverbs.  Pretty and ugly can easily be replaced with more descriptive adjectives.  How many times have you heard someone or something described as 'pretty ugly'?  Banning boring words increases my correcting times but at the same time increases my enjoyment quotient while reading stories.  How fun it is to read a nine year old's paper where the characters 'admonishingly stated', 'replied smugly', 'demanded', 'shouted' and 'exclaimed'.  Another child (also nine) wrote that his characters 'fumed' and 'inquired'.  However, my favorite substitution for said this week was 'whined woefully'.

Now it is time for me to depart for my class where I will enthusiastically teach my students to exchange 'gallop, run, trot, race, proceed, saunter, and stroll' for that boring banned verb 'go'.  Gotta go leave now!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

uh-oh! Do any of us dare reply to someone who has an amazing vocabulay on the tip of her tongue? (grin) What fortunate students they are to learn how to express themselves well while they are young. Mary

betty jo said...

Willow you probably 'whine woefully' when you read my blog! I so envy your students and would love to have you for a teacher.

Graf Spee said...

My first thought with "whine woefully" is that it's great alliteration, in fact it almost sounds like Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse. "Wherever we wander, we whine woefully."

ellen b. said...

Your students are very blessed to have you as their teacher!

nikkipolani said...

My high school English teacher had a similar list of words: neat, very, nice, great...

Candace said...

Willow, my English lesson yesterday consisted of going over Dead, Tired Words (R.I.P.) and learning to use a thesaurus. I'm looking forward to stronger vocabulary in the final draft!

Sara said...

Your young students are learning something wonderful - the richness of the English language!

And I would do well to desist from writing as lazily as I do and consult the thesaurus with greater frequency.

Aqeela said...

wow, i love this! (im sure that whole sentence would be banned in your class!) I have always, even as a child when i was an aspiring writer / poet, tried to use 'bigger' words, its so enjoyable learning new ones, i hope to read the whole dictionary one day God willing!
Aqeela xx

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

You are making your students excellent writers, Willow! They will thank you for it one day. I often crack open the thesaurus myself as I get tired of the same old words, but I never come up with as good a combination as :whine woefully" :)

PS: Wish I could have stopped to see you while I was in California!

Dorothy said...

I think I'm going to be looking for ways to incorporate "whined woefully" into my vocabulary! What a gift you are to your students, Willow!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the story about the teacher who told here students, "There are two words you should never use in your essays. One of them is 'swell' and the other is 'lousy.'" A student raised his hand and said, "All right. What are the two words?"

The Professor

Bethany Hissong said...

Ha! I love the Professor's story! ;) Clap, clap, clap, clap... that's me showing you how spectacular a teacher you are!!! I'm sorry if I bore you because I'm sure I use those words. I'll have to think harder about it.

fiberjoy said...

Wait! You're teaching your students to think creatively? They are blessed.

Ally Johnston said...

Perfectly penned as always. Tried and tested words do become out dated and clumsy. It never hurts to expand the vocabulary and therefore the mind.