Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dictionary Skills

7th grade English. They've been reading Freak the Mighty. They day's assignment was a worksheet to go with their reading of the novel.

The worksheet consisted of eight vocabulary words, space where they could summarize four chapters in three to four sentences, and ten comprehension questions. (They've been getting similar worksheets as they read through the book.)

The lesson plan stated that they could look up the vocabulary words in dictionaries that were on shelves in the back of the room.

I started class by passing out the worksheets. I explained the assignment.

"Can't we look up the words on our phones? She lets us."

While I was sure this was a true statement, the lesson plan said to use dictionaries, so I told them they had to use dictionaries.

And that's where the whining began.

Looking up words in a dictionary is hard. It's so much easier to type it in to the phone. It pops right up. Why did they have to flip through pages, especially because they couldn't find the word right away? And half the words weren't even in the dictionary...oh, wait, there it is.

(All the words were in the dictionary. They were just on the wrong page. Whoops.)

On and on and on it went. One boy even argued (okay, he tried to convince me) that using the phones was better. And they should be allowed to do that rather than get out those unwieldy books.

I don't want to be one of those who laments "these kids today". I don't want to be one of those people who talks about the dumbing down of our youth by talking about what they don't know or what they're unwilling to do.

But sheesh!

When did looking something up in the dictionary become so hard?

1 comment:

  1. It became too hard when they first enveloped themselves in the sweet embrace of search engines. It requires less thought and that's...addicting.


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