Archive | July, 2012

We Don’t Want to Write a Blah Blah Blah Blog

26 Jul

Have we ever wanted to write? Yes. Always.

Have we ever wanted to write a blog?  No, we don’t want to write a blah blah blah blog.

We enjoy our computers.  We enjoy the internet.  The internet is a tool for us. It is essentially a way of finding things we want – recipes, travel spots, teaching ideas, etc.  We’ve never really thought of it as a form of primary communication.  Yet more and more people turn to it as a way to express their thoughts and share with others.  Yes, the sharing does sometimes fall under the “TMI” category.

Still we now find ourselves at a point where we are looking at a way to share our work and our thoughts.  Since we had created a Word Sorts several years ago as a way to increase word usage and understanding, Laurie thought the topic of words would be a good start for us. We both approached it somewhat differently and, rather than mesh our ideas like we usually do (according to our Mother we share one brain!) we thought we might take this approach.

“Wordy” Thoughts

Laurie’s Take

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is defined as the fear of long words.  I read it on the internet at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia so it must be true.  I fear that there is a lack of words- big, or otherwise- in today’s popular vocabulary.  Is there a word for that fear?

Take the word “awesome” for example.  At one point in time, this was not an everyday word since it literally means “inspiring awe”.  When I first saw my daughter, or even the Grand Canyon, I was filled with awe.  Both sights were completely overwhelming.  When I held the door open for someone today, they said, “Thanks.  That’s awesome.”  While the sentiment was nice, the word usage was inappropriate at best.  My holding a school door for someone probably does not inspire awe in them.  On the other hand, if I was holding open the pearly gates, “awesome” might then be appropriate.

My sister and I are both teachers so the shallowness of popular vocabulary is shockingly in evidence every single day.   If I had Leigh Anne’s memory, I would give you some really good examples.  Since I am barely able to remember all the way back to this morning, you will have to be satisfied with awesome.

I don’t expect people to go around “whencing” and “hithering”.  I do expect some basic knowledge of words- both what they mean and when to use them.  As a teacher of English Language Learners, I value the importance of having a strong vocabulary.  If you do not know the meaning of many of the words in a written passage, it is difficult to gain full understanding of the passage.  It is even more difficult to apply your limited understanding to answer comprehension questions that involve higher order thinking skills.

Grammar doesn’t have to be technically perfect by my standards.  In fact, sometimes it deters from telling a good story- which is of utmost importance to me.  The depth of vocabulary is essential to getting that story right.

I am completely in agreement with my young niece who defined “talking” as “story telling”.  Isn’t that the purpose of communication?  It is in my world.

The best part of teaching is helping people to write and tell their stories- hopefully stories of success.  Isn’t it?

Leigh Anne’s Take

When Laurie came up with the concept of writing about words I used the computer as I always did.  I started to research. Looked for ideas and quotes yet nothing was inspiring – even the so-called inspirational quotes.  Meanwhile my oldest daughter, who is 5, has no problem creating stories.  I don’t think writer’s block happens when you’re 5.  So instead of  wasting time on the interenet looking for inspiration, I sat down to type up her story “Top Bear’s Adventure.”  We are still waiting for her painted illustrations to dry so we can publish her work.  Yes, at 5 all work needs to be published.

At the end of her verbal story telling I asked her what words meant to her.  Her first response was “What? Texting?”   The answer of “talking” was second.  When prompted about writing stories she looked at me like I was a little confused and informed me that story telling was talking.  I refrained from saying only if we lived in an ancient culture. Some things you don’t want repeated later at school.  I fear her teacher hears too much as is:)

Mentally I keep coming back to the fact that ‘texting’ came as her first response.  It made me a little nervous.  What had we done wrong?  We read to her all the time. We model reading.  Shouldn’t writing have been her first response?  I was a little worried. She loves books and creates her own stories.  Shouldn’t she have mentioned books?  How had this turned from a “let’s write about words” into a “needlessly worry and feel guilty about your parenting skills or lack thereof” blog?

Once I got over my bad-parenting panic, I realized that she had helped me move past some of my other worries too.  Her answers combined present and past. A form of writing that for her is common place but is a relatively new form of written expression and the other is the oldest form of storytelling. Written expression changes and evolves just like words and word meanings do.

My daughter also made me realize that going with the present doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the past.  We can text. We can talk. When it comes down to the bottom line – all forms of communication hinge on the necessity of words whether they are written, spoken or illustrated. When words are our cornerstone, shouldn’t we do all we can to increase our knowledge of them?

So, what does it come down to? 

Have we ever wanted to write? Yes. Always.

Have we ever wanted to write a blog? We didn’t but now yes, we do want to write a blah blah blah blog.  We hope you enjoy our sharing – hopefully we don’t end up in the TMI category but we’re pretty uptight so it probably won’t.

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