No Dinosaur After All

Front Yard California Poppies

“Damn, I’m good!” That’s what Anne said, when I told her that she had in fact spelled correctly, the names of these two dinosaurs, struthiomimus and pachycephalosaurus. Later she added in all humility, that years ago our then six-year-old nephew Rey had to correct her pronunciation of these names. I had asked her to write them on a Post-It note for me, because as all long time readers of this little blog know, I can’t spell worth a damn.

It has been a tough week for Anne. It was report card week at school. This meant she had to additionally work two evenings, for parents and teachers conferences. Thursday night, she was so conked out on the couch that I could not wake the dead. Friday was an easier day; it was a professional development day. This meant that the students were excused from class and the teachers met to improve their educational skills. The subject of dinosaurs came up during these meetings.

The topic under discussion was complex text in reading. The teachers were covering the importance of complex text, when Anne spoke up, “Prior knowledge and subject matter interest often facilitates the use of complex text.” At this point the speaker said, “That’s a good point, save it for later.” Anne thought he had said, “That’s a good point, say it louder.” So she repeated herself, “PRIOR KNOWLEDGE AND SUBJECT MATTER INTEREST …” In Anne’s defense, all the teachers at her table had also thought that the speaker had said, say it louder too. Eventually though, Anne was able to complete her point, “Many children are so interested in dinosaurs that they learn complex words like struthiomimus and pachycephalosaurus.” The crowd laughed at the introduction of this vocabulary and the speaker asked if she knew how to spell those words, but he thought better of this implied dare and moved the discussion onward, smart man.

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