Two posts in a row that aren’t about real estate? This article was in the last issue of my MoosePrint Newsletter… I got such great feedback on it I decided to add it here!
One day last year I was working with a second grader listening to her read. Dakota is a young scholar you quickly learn to admire. She works hard at learning. She was reading along and suddenly stopped dead. “I’ll never get that word,” she said.
“Oh yes you will,” I countered. We both worked pretty hard, a syllable at a time. Simultaneously is a pretty big word for a second grader, but she finally got it. Of course then we had to work on the meaning, so I patted her on the arm with both hands “at the same time.” For some reason, the word and her accomplishment became big. When I would see her in passing I would look at her. Her brow would furrow as she concentrated and said “Sim-ul-tan-e-ous-ly.” Sometimes we would share the word with another teacher. “Dakota knows a big word!”
This fall Dakota came to visit the Grange Hall as part of the “Words for Thirds” program. The Grange I belong to gives every third grader in three school districts their own personal dictionary. One of my greater pleasures in life is getting to do those presentations. We talk about the grange, some history, and how to use a dictionary. Towards the end I ask the kids to share one thing they’ve learned. After a few kids gave the usual answers I called on Dakota who had been sitting patiently with her hand held high. She stood up, puffed out her chest and said, “Least year I learned the word sim-ul-tan-e-ous-ly. It means at the same time.”
This is one of those stories that no matter where you end it, it’s a great story. But the story isn’t over yet. Last week I was at school and walked by Dakota’s classroom while the kids were getting ready for lunch. She spotted me, ran out into the hall and grabbed me. “Mr. Boomsma, come in here. I want to show you something.”
I pretended to let her drag me into the room and waited patiently for her to return with her “show and tell.” She returned with one of her classmates in tow and pushed her friend in front of me. “Ok,” Dakota said. “Tell him.”
Her classmate looked quite serious and a bit hesitant, but after a moment of obvious concentration she said, “Sim-ul-tan-eous-ly!” I looked at Dakota to see her ear to ear grin. “I taught her that!”
While I was confirming that Dakota’s friend knew what the word meant she was off to find another classmate. When she returned she informed me that she was teaching everyone in the class “her” word.
It is a pretty big word, even for a third-grader. As I’ve told the story, at least one person saw a parallel to the story of Johnny Appleseed. It’s also a great Christmas story. Heck—it’s just a good story. Hard-earned accomplishments are the best. And sharing makes them even better.