Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Brenden's word was liberty. All the kindergartners know that liberty is a word, of course—they say it in the Pledge of Allegiance. Not very many had any idea of what liberty means. Brenden's word offered a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on what liberty means. It means, basically, freedom. Liberty is what you lose when you do things on "Level 4." Sitting out a recess at school is a loss of liberty. Going to jail is a loss of liberty for adults.

Spellingwise, liberty uses the Soundabet "er" sound, so it was a great choice from a phonemic point of view.

Thanks, Brenden!

(P.S. It might be well for all of us adult Americans to reflect a bit on liberty, too, as we are citizens of the country that incarcerates—that is takes away the liberty—of so many many people, more than 2 million in all. That's a lot of people to sit in jail. Thirteen of our states have populations of less than 2 million. No free country outdoes us in locking people up. I, for one, am not proud of that fact.)


Lynola said...

So each child gets a day to choose a word? Is there a particular theme? Do they choose it at home? What are the parameters and with what do you teach this (morning routine, reading...)? I'm just curious as to the purpose and the method.
~Phoenician K teacher

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Lynola-- It's experimental. The idea behind it is to put up words in the room that are particularly meaningful to the students in the room. They get to choose what word they want, but it should be a word they want to be able to read, write, and spell. So it will serve as a "word wall" if you are familiar with them, a reference like a dictionary, and also as a way to strengthen our relationships among ourselves. I, for example, would never have guessed Brenden wanted to know how to read, write, and spell liberty, and I find it fascinating and helpful to know that about him.

Theresa Milstein said...

You may want to consider reading, I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. It goes through the meaning of each part of the Pledge.

geoffreyamyfox4 said...

Brenden saw this word on one of his dad's books and was certain that this is the word he wanted to use. He chose it on his own and maybe he chose it, because he was curious what his dad was reading. Thank you for explaining the definition in class. The kids are learning a lot of new words, in a fun way!

Dan Gurney said...

Thanks, Theresa. I've seen that book. Our social studies program has a whole section on patriotic symbols, including the flag, so we'll get to it. But for now, I think it's mostly gobbeldy gook. I wonder if even the average guy on the street knows or cares, for example, about the difference between a republic and a democracy.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Amy/Geoffrey. Brenden will probably be able to read that book by the time he's 11. Dylan's word (phrase, actually) today was Security Patrol. Yesterday's word was Horse shoer. It's interesting to see what words interest the kids.