My fourth grade readers were in the midst of exploring words with Greek and Latin roots.
“I think hyper might mean heat,” said one.
“Ok. How could you test your thinking?” I asked. He proceeded to wrestle with making meaning for the words hyperventilate and hyperactive. After a few minutes of thinking aloud and in his head, he decided that “heat” was probably not quite right as the meaning of that root.
“What does hyper-bowl mean?” another of my students called out.
“Well, how could we find out?” I asked and added, “It’s actually pronounced hy-PER-bol-ee.”
“Oh, wow…” a third child chimed in.
Meanwhile, two others got busy looking up the meaning of the word on the dictionary app of an iPad.
While the conversation was going on, all thirteen kiddos were sorting their new words and writing them in their word study notebooks.
“Oh… it means like an exaggeration,” said one of the two who’d decided to find the definition.
“It does,” I replied.
The fun was about to begin. I was just waiting for my opportunity.
My favorite I’m-going-to-rush-and-finish-first student handed me her notebook so I could glance at her work.
“Not in a million years am I going to let you get away with this,” I smiled sweetly as I handed her notebook back and asked her to find and correct spelling errors.
She looked at me sideways, unaccustomed to that sort of response, not yet catching on to where I was going and returned reluctantly to her seat to contemplate her next move.
My second speeder handed me his notebook, words barely legible, several with errors.
“You’re killing me,” I said to him as I passed his notebook back and asked him to clean up his work.
He looked slightly puzzled and sat down, sighing.
“Pretty sure I’ve mentioned to you all at least a million times that before you turn in your work, you should look back over it and make sure you feel it reflects your best effort.” I said to nobody in particular, in the most breezy tone possible.
And then, there was a giggle, followed by another, and joined by the rest within moments.
“Ohhhh…. I get it now,” said one of my quietest students.
“Good one Ms. Keeler,” added the student sitting next to her.