Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Every year, Michigan's Lake Superior State University puts out a list of overused, misused, and cliched words that they think should be retired. Some of the words this year include ginormous and mancave.

It is interesting how words or phrases change over time. I remember when we used to say, "That's bad," to really mean something was good. For awhile "bad" meant "good." I don't remember what we'd say if something actually was bad. That is, bad is in bad, not bad as in good.

I unknowingly use words that the kids haven't always heard. I told the kids one year that they could wear "slacks" to the Christmas program. One girl went home and asked her mom what slacks were. I probably confused other kids too without realizing it.

We were singing a song one time about "Little Sally Walker sitting in a saucer." I asked the kids if they knew what a saucer was. Many had no idea. They thought of a flying saucer and had a few other guesses, but I had to explain it to them. I guess most kids don't have tea parties anymore.

I asked the kids one time if they had ever seen a sewing machine. Only 2 or 3 out of the class of 20 something had ever seen a sewing machine. I explained what a sewing machine does, and we examined the stitching on our clothing.

The 2nd grade teacher one year wanted me to show the kids a record player. They were fascinated by this antique.

Times do change, and life goes on. Nowadays, things advance so quickly that it's hard (if not impossible) to keep up. New technologies are created all the time. I do my best to try to understand my students and their ever evolving vocabulary just as I'm sure they do their best to understand me and my archaic language.

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