Naive Shirts


Working with children brings many f-words to mind: fulfilling, sometimes frustrating and of course, funny. I so enjoy reading children’s writing and I’m reminded of the difference just one little letter makes.

A student wrote, “My mom has a naive language. She mostly speaks her naive language at home though.”

Naive language? It took me a second read to understand she’d dropped the ‘t’ in native. I was thinking about children’s perspectives on their parents’ naive language.

Along those same lines, a few years ago I modeled a lesson on procedural writing with kindergartners in front of several colleagues. We were working on telling about events that happened one step at a time and putting them in order. I’d created my own book about the true story of my daughter spilling mustard on her horse shirt. One of the steps read, “She took off her dirty horse shirt and put on a clean shirt.” The students loved the story and asked me to read it again. They had funny anecdotes of things that had ended up on their shirts too. There was much communing around the act of spilling.

After the lesson as the teachers and I debriefed surrounded by the students’ writing, we discovered a handful of kids writing about their shirts dropped the letter ‘r.’

I know, right?

One wrote, “Dirte shi*ts are terebl. Ons the shi*t gets dirte its hard to clean.”
(The asterisks are mine.)

I feel fortunate to be the recipient of approximations of words. What’s ‘f’ for funny in your world of working with children lately? And happy Friday!

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