Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education
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Poem Against the 1st grade--this one reminded me of dialect
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Author:  Bobbi Faulkner [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Poem Against the 1st grade--this one reminded me of dialect

Poem Against the First Grade
Alex, my son, with backberry jam
smeared ear to ear and laughing,
rides his unbroken joy with words
so fast we let him get away
on the janjar without clean cheeks first.

He spills frasasass
tea with milk and honey;
a red-chafted schlicker
beats our cottonwood drum.
Thumping the pano keys
like a mudpie chef,
he goes wild with words
as the wittle wooden
arms inside, a hundred
Pinoschios to singsong.
If he can't wide byebye
bike to the candy store,
where he is Master Rich
with one penny, words turn
to tears in his mouf. Once
in a while, he walks home
with pumpumpumpernickel bread,
his nose twitchingg so fast
a wabbit would love him.

Now this language isn't taught in first grade.
Alicia, his tsister, knows this fact.
But he juggles it around all day
until she makes him spit it out like
a catseye marble or a tack. "Ax," she says,
"that's not right." She's been among giants
who wipe off the dialect of backberry jam,
then pour hot wax on each bright mistake.

I hope for a bad seal on Ax and tsister,
encourage the mold of joyous error
that proper sad giants, armed to the ears
with pencils and rules, all forgot.

--George Venn

This poem expresses the fun in language and "joyful" error to me! Do we not correct our students when they make mistakes? Of course not! But dialect has its place and is not wrong! I've even had my students collect "language logs" where they collect unique uses of the language. This can be things like jargon of specific communities (teaching, skateboarding, medical, etc) and phrases and sayings that are unique to places and groups of people, to slips of the tongue. The idea, to me, is to explore language as a fluid thing.

ENJOY!

Author:  Melanie Huss [ Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:49 pm ]
Post subject: 

What a wonderful poem....I can't wait to share it. I love the language logs..once again an idea that makes me wish I was teaching so I could use it with my students.

Author:  Nora Vines [ Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:15 am ]
Post subject: 

As a first grade teacher I have to say I loved this poem Bobbi!! I couldn't agree more that we can teach and preserve the children's own dialect simultaneously. And the language logs are a great idea!![/i]

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