This week the comics from the local paper was the source for our vocabulary words. I got the idea when one of the characters used the word “minutiae.” This was a word I taught the kids the week prior and served as validation that what they learned on school is applicable to the real world. The kids had to pick 5 words to add to their vocabulary list. I knew one of them would be rendezvous.
I overheard a conversation between a couple students. The eldest of them told the group, with the knowing wink, that it meant “to make out.”
I intervened, “No! It means meeting.” Every disinterested student suddenly found the lesson intriguing. I know because Mr. I Normally Don’t Care went to the back of the room and brought the big dictionary to find out if the well meaning teacher was trying to lead the class astray.
Sure enough I was right and the situation was ripe for teaching. “Maybe it’s the 10th definition. You know the dictionary helps with words that have multiple meanings.”
Now several students are in dictionaries and the girl who told the original meaning is laughing. She realized her definition wouldn’t be validated by Mr. Webster. “it only has 5 meanings.”
I was laughing with her too. Sometimes all it takes to get a kid to want to learn is to let them think they shouldn’t know it.