Tuesday Talk: Keep Quacking

It’s Tuesday, so it’s Amy quacking at you.

I may be stepping into Laura’s territory today.   So here goes nothing.....

I admit the saddest I feel often happens at the end of the day at car duty.   You read that sentence right, so let me explain.

Background info:  
Teachers open the doors for all car-riding students, morning and afternoon.   We are a primary elementary campus, so our oldest kids are only in the 2nd grade.    

The sad scenario:
I open a car door to complete silence.   It really bothers me.   I know, and you probably know, I am a talker.   So, it breaks my heart that a 5-year-old can be away from the “outside” world for an entire day and there is silence.  No greeting, no hello, nothing but crickets to greet Little Lloyd* back into his world for the evening.  

Not that this happens often.   But when it does, I am thinking to myself, “Did I just say the last words to Ken* or Barbie* until tomorrow morning?”   

The facts:
According to research done by Gates (1931) and McCormick (1999), even students who are statistically above average cognitively need at least 20 exposures to learn a new word. Students with moderate cognitive impairments need 55 exposures. We should be exposing our students to new words 20 times at the least.

I sometimes feel like I am saying the same thing over and over, day after day.   Does anyone else identify???????

But repetition is a good thing for vocabulary and language development!   Just look at the facts.   For Sweet Little Suzie* with average ability, she needs to hear the word or see the word 35 times before she owns it.   For Big Bill*, he needs to hear or see the word 30 times before it is part of his vocabulary.   And Big Bill is in the Bluebirds group (flashback moment for some of you)!     Does it make you stop and think?   Knowing how many exposures we should actually be doing?   

Another bit of reinforcement:

Author Malcolm Gladwell explains the 10,000 rule, greatness requires a huge amount of time.   Gladwell details this rule with examples, The Beatles and Bill Gates.  If you want to know more, read Malcolm Gladwell’s book.   

All of this means, I’ll keep on trucking, and quacking.
*names are made up in for this story

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  1. This is a great post! I completely identify. I realize more and more it starts in the home. Even if my little kiddos are exposed to tons of words, I only have them for 30 minutes :-(. We must keep educating!
    Allison's Speech Peeps

  2. What an incredibly touching post! I had not stopped to think about that, but you're right... I have car rider duty for my PreK students and there are quite a few who say nothing. Sweetie gets in the car and that's it. =( Surely makes you want to hold them for a few moments longer.

  3. Love this post! I work at a school in a neighborhood where violence, drugs, and poverty are the norm. My Kinders come to school with an extremely low vocabulary "bank." I too am disheartened by the lack of conversation that takes place at dismissal time, and no doubt much of their time at home. We want to do ALL we can for our sweet students! Isn't that why many of us became teachers?

    Sommer Pride


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