Uh When When Sits-You-Hay-Shun
No watt kids like moor then in-knee-thing? Why, having fun of course. And if I could put you on the spot for a moment, can you tell me how many words in the first sentence of this paragraph are misspelled? Take your time, give it some thought. I’ll go and listen to some Stone Temple Pilots while you’re pondering.
Okay, time’s up. How about none of them? Now, you might think that Mikey (that would be me) has been pushing his earbuds a little too far into his ears (I cannot deny such a thing), but the truth is that some of those words are misused, not misspelled.
What I’ve done is substituted a few of the words for homophones (not to mention taking liberal advantage of hyphens), or words that share pronunciation and not spelling. Not to be confused with homonyms or homographs, but liken to heterographs. Hey, take my word for it, they’re all related. I could give a discourse on those relationships, but perhaps I’ll save that for another blog entry. And, you can always Google it.
So, where was I going with all of this? Oh yeah. Having fun. When faced with the usual litany of assignments, I have to imagine that your students are pretty quick to don those “I am bored” faces. I know you’ve seen them. We all have.
What if you changed the perspective of your educatees for a moment or so? Ahh, yes. Homophones to the rescue. What can’t those literary devices do? Try this:
The next time you have a quiz to give out, perhaps a short one of about five or six questions, nothing too daunting, give a thought to having your students write out their answers using homophones. The challenge (and the fun) will be to use real words that sound like other words. To set things up and get the munchkins started, write out your assignment on the chalkboard or white board in a similar fashion, and be sure to pull the trick that I initially pulled on you, asking them to count all the misspelled words. (Insert evil laughter here.)
Want to kick it up a notch for the next assignment? Have the kids write out their answers using completely made-up phonetics, which actually are misspelled words. I’ll give an example: “Thuh kwick broun fawks jumpd ohvur thuh layzee broun dawg.” You may wind up with a giggle fest on your hands when executing this particular exam, as I am getting the snickers just by typing it. Keep in mind that not every word has a homophonic or phonetic equivalent, but it’s always fun to try.
Though I am a staunch advocate of correct spelling (I know, my grammar could use an oil change), I stand 100% behind the misspelling of words, if done so on purpose and to a certain effect. (I wish you could see my screen right now, as it’s replete with red underlines and things boinking at me.) My reasoning behind such a traitorous claim? Simple. You cannot misspell a word unless you know what the correct spelling is. (I like to call it knowledge by default.)
By the way, I’d love to hear about any classroom Frankenstein-esque experiments that you feel wonderfully funny about, and I’m sure my readers would love to hear from you as well. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime…
Teech. Lirn. Injoie!