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Edu Consultant. Blogger & Social Media Marketing at Edutopia

Without Literacy, where would

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Without Literacy, where would we be? When I was a school principal, I'd often have long discussions with my staff on the issue of literacy being at the heart of all we do. I don't necessarily agree with the view of having to sell it to kids? But I do see where you're coming from, Judy. I worked as a teacher to immerse my students in it, in as many different ways as I could. I'd like to think I was least I hope I was. Bravo, Judy for your tremendous commitment!

Teacher, Writer, and Artist


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Words are powerful things. They’re sometimes like little bullets on a page of paper. Without words, all we’d get to do, I guess, is draw, wave our arms around, spit, and grunt.

In first period language arts class today, we read, going around, one at a time, the new fifteen words at the beginning of lesson 4. Punctilious landed on Lucy. She asked … Is that OCD?

I was struck silent for a moment. Struck impressed. She’s so sneaky smart. Lucy has obsessive compulsive disorder. I said, Not really. God. Sort of. Read the definition.

Lucy said … Careful of and attentive to details, especially ones relating to good manners and behavior … punctilious.

In class, sitting at her desk, when Lucy speaks to you in her always-quiet voice, she puts her right elbow on the desk and then presses the four fingers together. Then she moves her thumb underneath her fingers and it all looks like a duck beak. Lucy doesn’t move the fingers like a beak when she talks, but she told me one time after I asked her why she does that … It helps me communicate better.

Lucy also constantly picks at the skin on her arms and pulls out her arm hair and picks at the skin on her ankles and picks the hairs off of her ankles, too. All the teachers let her do it for a while and then ask her to stop. She stops without complaining, but then she starts up again when you’re looking the other way. She pays attention while she picks, but sometime you can catch her lost in that world and she can’t find where the going-around-the-class reading had ended with Brainerd or Lazlo.

Miss Velvet, her homeroom teacher and advisor by default, says Lucy’s mother is oblivious to her daughter’s disorders. That’s hard to believe, but it could be true. As a teacher you get to know the parents real well, too, by default.

Lucy had come to class today with the hairs of her right arm shaved off. Her left arm still had hairs. No one other than Lucy’s mother would have shaved the arm. I’m pretty sure. Maybe Lucy’s mother is oblivious to everything else that puts her in this school.

Now we’re quietly working on our own in the vocabulary workbook, except Lucy. She’s hunkered down over her right arm. I don’t say anything. I get up and walk around and look out a window and actually whistle a little bit and then sneak up behind Lucy to discover that in the duck beak she had hidden a pair of tweezers.


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