Wii will get there

Today I filled in for a Year 1 teacher. Because she was also absent yesterday her students had not yet gone over their new weekly spelling words. There were 12 words; six belonging to the ‘ig’ family word group (pig, dig, fig, etc) and six frequently used words like have, went, play.

When introducing new spelling words, teachers like to ask their students if they are able to verbalise a sentence using the word. So today it went a little something like this (keep in mind the children are about six years old):

Me: “Can somebody give me a sentence using the word dog?”

Student: “I.have.a.dog!”

Me: “Can somebody give me a sentence using the word went?”

Student: “The.dog.went.to.the.park!”

Me: “Can somebody give me a sentence using the word play?”

Student: “I.play.with.my.dog!”

And then there was the word we and I saw one little boy’s eyes light up. Up until now he had seemed distracted so I was keen to hear what he had to say. “Yes, Adam*? Go ahead.”

“I.play.the.Wii.at.home.”

At first I didn’t register because I don’t own a Wii but his mates were right onto him, explaining the difference between the two words.

How is a six-year old boy whose first language isn’t even English able to use the word Wii in context but not the word we? Is it a cause for concern or just funny? And I wonder how confused he’ll be when he discovers you can use the word wee for pee?

*Names have been changed.

Out of the playground, into the world

Yesterday I read about two Sydney high school girls who recently experienced two vastly different cultures as part of their study programs. Katie Summers from Kincoppal-Rose Bay traveled to Queens, New York for four weeks and Meriden’s Melinda Heinrich spent 11 days in the Tanami Desert, Alice Springs.

While Katie studied in an old mansion, visited UN Headquarters and climbed the statue of liberty, Melinda slept in a tent, hunted goanna and assisted a vision-impaired boy at school. Both girls go to private single-sex schools. Katie wants to pursue international studies and Melinda wants to work closely with small communities.

As a public school teacher, I am envious of the opportunities these girls have that the kids I teach probably won’t ever have. As a mother of daughters (one on the way!) I hope that some day my girls will grow up to have the same attitudes and independence that these two young girls have. And as a woman I am inspired by all that they will become in the future.

Which trip would you have preferred as a student: a winter in NYC or the rocky terrain of the Australian outback?