Thursday, January 20, 2011

Write from Your Full-Sized Aortic Pump

"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word."
Stephen King

Remember when we talked about thesauri? Well, I promised you the rest of the story, so here we go.

In the past when I've introduced my students to the thesaurus, I always follow it up by showing this clip from Friends. (Minus those first few seconds, of course.) 

If you're so much in love with my blog that you hate to stray to Youtube (sarcasm), let me give you a quick synopsis. Joey is writing a letter of recommendation to an adoption agency for Monica and Chandler. Worried that he won't be taken seriously because of his...ahem...lack of intellect, Ross introduces him to a thesaurus. 

When it comes to words, my students think like Joey. Bigger is better. Because everyone wants to sound smart, right? Unfortunately when you let a 7th grader loose with a wealth of strange, unwieldy synonyms, their writing can become a bit of a communication nightmare. 

For some reason, I never got around to the "Bless His Heart, but Don't be a Joey" lesson this year. However, a few recent student sentences have convinced me that it's time to bring it back. 

This is where you come in. Can you figure out what their pre-thesaurus sentences must have been?

REAL student writing:

1) "We convened subordinate to the towering bark fortress."

2) "This holiday, we indulged in some beautification novelty trimming."

3) "I unfurled my protection system from the precipitation."

4) And one of my personal favorites, from the reading fair today:

"These three children used to be so blithe, it was hard to explicate."

When I happen across one of these sentences in student writing, I gently pull them aside and quote Chandler's advice to Joey:

 "You don't need a thesaurus. Just write from here (motions towards heart) - your full-sized, aortic pump."

Armed with a thesaurus,
Ms. P

7 bonus points:

erin said...

I love this post! I mean... I permeate with adulation for your electronic publication. :)

Ms. P said...

Haha! Well, I enshrine your ardent absorption of my compositions.

(I could do this all day.)

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