The conversion has begun. One of the students asks me for a synonym for skill. This is the same student who mocked the thesaurus yesterday as useless. So, I laugh and hand her a thesaurus. Her first response is “No!” and laughter. “Not that dinosaur,” but then she takes one and looks. I pass out books to other tables, just for the pure fun of it. . Lesley says “ I love this. It is better than Google.” “Lesley, you are my hero!….Listen to this people, Lesley likes the thesaurus, she even thinks it’s better.” “What? No way!” Now everyone is asking for thesauri and looking words up. Julia is sitting on a desk reading aloud from her copy. My strongest holdout yesterday admits that it helped him a lot. Another student says, “With google you have to choose one word, but here you can find everything and it is quicker than having to go on the internet.” I am amazed. Total reversal, maybe our time is not yet over. The dinosaur has had new life breathed into him, all by one comment.
In homeroom, three of my students ask if they can make a poster about the thesaurus. This is an all or nothing crowd. Either they are all in, or they want nothing to do with it. They are now “all in.” So the poster advances. They decide that the thesaurus needs an origin story. How did it begin. “Once upon a time a dinosaur met a unicorn….” He may be getting a new name “Thesaurus Rex” is under consideration.
I may need to teach some spelling rules, but at least everyone is on board now with the thesaurus. This lesson is from my morning class, who are at the intermediate stage of acquiring English as a second language. My afternoon classes, who read People of Sparks, are at a more advanced level.