Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Failing Sixth Grade English

Um... I write for a living.

But I can't pass sixth grade English. I'm trying to help Ben with his similes homework.

She's as clumsy as a:

Ben circled pig.

I said, no it's ox.

Pigs are uglier.

It's not about ugly. It's about clumsy. And it's as much a figure of speech as it is a comparison.

No it's not.

Then you do the homework.

No, I need help.

He's as gentle as a:

Dove, Ben circles confidently.

No, it's lamb.

Doves are more gentle... peace and all. It's dove.


He looks at me. It's lamb? Really?


Finally, we finished the similes, some of which he refused to change because after all, what do I know?

I mean, Mom, you went to 6th grade a long time ago.

It's true.

Onto the Martin Luther King Crossword puzzle. I love crossword puzzles.

How do you spell "assassin?"


This leaves him howling in laughter. Too stupid for 6th grade similes but I am funny. of course, I typed it in Word first and spell checked it.

My confidence is shot.

"An organization of whites that sought to control blacks and keep them from gaining political power." 10 letters. second to last is the letter A.

Klu Klux Klan.

Mom, that's eleven letters.

Any ideas, folks?

I'm going to go dig out my diploma from college and kiss it. I'm so glad I'm done.

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Anonymous Bil Browning said...

Ku Klux Klan. That's how I learned how to spell it - I didn't see anyone use "Klu" until a few years ago...

11:18 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Yeah, the southern gal in me was just about to correct you...until I saw your revision!

12:31 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

You know, that simile homework doesn't make sense to me...Ben's logic is spot-on, I think, with the dove.

If the kids have never heard these particular turns of phrase before, how are they supposed to know a lamb is the gold standard rather than a dove or a kitten?

(Well, let me take that back; kittens are vicious little creatures; they just have very tiny weapons and therefore can't do much damage. And I do love me some kittens.)

I mean, if the choices were:

howler monkey

...that might make more sense.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Sue J said...

I think it's much more interesting when you let kids create their own similes and metaphors. It also shows that they actually understand the concept (which your son clearly does). But some teachers like to stick with the old standards like these.

I used to be a 6th grade special education teacher, working in inclusion (mostly students with mild learning disabilities). Worst teaching moment I ever saw: 6th grade social studies teacher doing a map drill. Here is the latitude, here is the longitude. Write down the place on the map at that point.

Before any students located it, I saw (to mixed glee and horror) that the answer was Lake Titikaka.

You can imagine the uproar that answer created as students said the name to themselves. The teacher was completely flustered, lost control of the class, and actually said to them, "Oh, grow up!"

Lady, it's 6th grade!

Sorry for the long comment, but thought you might enjoy the story!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Sara said...


1:13 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Just finished a book by a woman who served in the Peace Corps in West Africa (as I did). She was an english teacher (I taught math). She tells a story about teaching similies. The first student to finally get it right said, "madame is as fat as an elephant." Fat is a compliment there (although I was never able to take it as such). She said she wasn't sure whether to be happy someone finally got it or be angry.

8:26 PM  

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