2/27/16

One Hundred Years of Grammar

Some books that once belonged to my dad are now my treasured books. I have pleasant memories of browsing his bookshelf as a child. He didn't have a vast collection of books, but I believe that he kept and valued every book he ever owned. He built his own bookshelf to display and organize his books, and that bookshelf served him until his death.

One of his books was a Scott, Foresman grammar textbook. The book lists three copyright dates, 1917, 1923, and 1929. His textbook is almost one hundred years old. When this book was brand new, 1929, my dad would have been 8-years-old.









Over the course of years, I have purchased many books and guides to assist in keeping up with grammar rules. I don't know why I bothered to waste the money. My dad's 100-year-old textbook is still relevant. I turned through the pages today and couldn't see anything that had changed about grammar in the past hundred years. 

I won't be around one hundred years from now to check on standards of grammar, so I hope this textbook lands in the hands of someone who will keep it and value it like my dad did. Besides, it might come in handy.



2/15/16

A Walking Dictionary

During my teaching career, I utilized any method I could find to help children learn. I knew the more senses I could involve, the better chance that learning would take place. I taught third graders, so my daily curriculum included all subject areas. Vocabulary was an important part of all the subjects, and I delighted in watching the children's understanding grow as the year progressed. Instead of lecture, the prevalent learning methods in my classroom were demonstration, hands on, and interactive learning.

I left the classroom after eleven years to work in counseling, but I have always considered myself a teacher. I did not realize how much I missed teaching until today. After doing some shopping this morning at Target, I gave an impromptu vocabulary lesson right out front.

I'll try to repeat the lesson here for those who missed the Target version. The vocabulary word of the day is stumbling block. As any elementary teacher worth her keep would do, I opted for demo over lecture. Of course, to make it interesting for the students I came out of the store carrying an overweight purse and a hot cup of Starbucks tea. My attention was drawn to the sound of my cell phone ringing from the depths of the over-stuffed purse. Proceeding on my way, I encountered the object of demonstration in my path - a stumbling block. The part of the stumbling block was played by a rock. While fumbling with the cell phone, my foot connected with the large rock -- the stumbling block -- in front of me. With great ado, the three of us fell to the concrete -- the purse, the tea, and me.




I didn't have to say a word. I knew my lesson was a success. With flair, I had demonstrated that a stumbling block is an obstacle or hindrance to progress. The rock in my path had halted my progress. I resisted the urge to pick up the stumbling block and fling it across the parking lot. Instead, I picked myself up, dusted off, and continued on my way with a new respect for stumbling blocks.

I'm not sure how many students I was able to reach with my lesson today, but I'm guessing my effort didn't go un-noticed. It's always that way with teaching, you never really know how far-reaching your efforts may be. I only hope the vocabulary word tomorrow isn't snakebite.