Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I warned the class about cell phones. They are supposed to be put away and silenced so that the students are not tempted to use them during class. But I think some students are so used to having them in their hands that they can't seem to relinquish them.

English class at the continuation high school. They were given a sheet with their assignment on it--the usual sort of read-a-story-out-of-the-book-and-answer-questions deal. I went through these instructions point by point.

Part of the assignment was to copy the vocabulary words for the story. This is common enough that the students copied the word and definition even though that's not what the instructions said. They were to copy the word, the part of speech, and write one synonym for each term.

"What's that?"

(Synonym was helpfully defined in parentheses on the instructions page.)

I indicated thesauruses. Some used those. Some figured out synonyms from the definition. Some didn't bother to do the assignment.

One girl was struggling. I mentioned thesaurus. But her phone was on her desk...

I shouldn't have...

"Or you could type 'define appreciate' into Google..."

Because synonyms pop up, too.

She did. Completed that portion of the assignment.

And I hang my head in shame.


  1. When I worked in an office, people knew I was a writer. The guy next to me was always asking how to spell things. It was annoying and disruptive to be constantly helping him write his emails. One day he yelled over, "I need a word." I yelled back, "Dictionary." He didn't get it but I found it hilarious!

    1. Great story. It does get old being the one with the answers...

  2. Sometimes it is just easier to give in to the cell phone thing. You never know they may actually realize they can learn from google than just text and play games

  3. Cell phones are just hand held thesauruses (plus many other things). And as long as she's not just texting, it seems fair to let her use it.

  4. It's the way of the world now. You did good. I loved Stephanie's comment above :)

  5. LOL, it is so easy to rely on the "tool" of the cell phone, even if it is not a permitted one in a classroom :) But you did teach her at least if she needs a synonym, now she knows how to find one :)



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