I had the opportunity to watch Mapera in her normal class environment the other day, and it was very interesting.
At home, Mapera is loud, creative, bossy and easily frustrated. At school, she is a Stunned Mullet.
I sat in on her class for about 1 hour; the teacher was teaching the children verbs (which in itself is marvelous, I don’t recall learning what verbs were ‘til I studied Latin aged 14). They ran around “doing” things, then sat and looked at photographs and identified what the people in the photos were doing, then they matched up words with the pictures. All the while the teacher repeated that these were verbs.
They sang a song about verbs and answered questions about what verbs you do with your arms and which ones with your legs. Then they got given a little paper person and had to stick the arm verbs on the arms and the leg verbs on the legs. The parents present were asked to assist with the cutting and sticking, so I took the opportunity to see how much Mapera had actually taken in.
“What sorts of words are these, Mapera?”
“Your teacher said it a few times; it starts with a v…”
Stunned Mullet said “vuuuuuh-owel?”
We tried a few times, but the word had simply not penetrated the Stunned Mullet brain, so I left it alone before she started getting upset.
At home later, I tried a different tack.
“Mapera, you know a verb is a doing word don’t you?”
“How about you think of a verb as being a little creature that goes around doing things, like running, jumping, biting, and swimming”
At that, she became very animated and suggested that Hakopa could be a verb when he does crawling, clapping and laughing. I said that was a great idea.
Later that day I asked her what type of words she was learning about at school, without any hesitation, she jumped up and down and shouted “VERBS!”