How to Use Words

from The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

How to use words correctly is one of the major areas where first graders need help. On the other hand – unbeknownst to them - misused vocabulary and/or misunderstood concepts are where six-year-olds rule the world, creatively speaking.

For me, it’s ALWAYS interesting to see how kids determine when and how to use words.


Words with Different Meanings

Bill Cosby, the comedian, said that two-year-old children don’t realize that sound travels …

Well, I agree and want to add that neither do some six-year-old children!

In other words, some kids will talk about me right in front of my face …

Whenever Martin arrived at school today, he took one look at me and said, “Man! What happened to your hair?”

“I had it highlighted,” I said.

Stevie joined the conversation. “What’s that mean?”

I explained. “I had someone put highlights in my hair … to lighten it.”

Stevie conferred with Martin. “What’s she talking about?”

“I don’t know,” Martin fussed, “but my momma won’t let me play with markers.”


What’s in a Word?

Today, we were talking about “addresses” and who lived inside the city limits and who lived outside of the city limits, including who lived on a farm, etc.

Several of my students live on farms while others have never been to one.

I told them … “I live INSIDE city limits … That means I live in town.

Weesie said, “I live where the cows are.”

Everybody laughed.

I frowned at the class and shook my head.

Weesie stammered. “I mean we got cows out where we live.” She gasped. “Guess what happened to me last night. My Momma accidently left me outside all by myself … WITH THE COWS!” She shivered. “Oh, I was scared! I had to MOO the cows away and run inside!”

Her classmates were concerned. So Martin said, “Teacher, did that ever happen to you?”

“Did WHAT ever happen to me?”

His Southern country twang is as pure and as real as he is. “Did YOU ever have to run inside cause of loose cows?”

Loose COWS? … WHEW! For a minute he scared me!


A Bedazzling T-shirt

Tommy said to my assistant. “You must be rich!”

“Who ME? Rich?” She chuckled.

He studied the design that covered the t-shirt she was wearing. “Ain’t that real gold?”

“Sure it is,” little Weesie determined. “Look at all them DIAMONDS ... They winking at me!”


Red Eyes

At the Reading table, I told Michael, “Look here at me. Let me see your eyes.”

“What’s wrong with them?” Martin asked, stepping up to see. “Oh! Why your eyes so RED?”

“CAUSE ... ” Michael said, flatly, “I been working so hard.”


Aaaaah, what’s THAT?

“Mmmmm Mmmmm, Teacher, you smell so good!” Amy said. “What kind of flavor is THAT Avon?”

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