My First Dictionary

I was trying to show the students in one of my classes how easy it is to write something. For their warm up, I had the Latin word “dict,” which means “to speak.” From that we get various words like dictionary, dictate, indict, etc. I had them choose one of the words from our list and I wrote the following for them.

I can remember when I got my first dictionary. It was for my graduation from high school. Most people would think it was a rotten gift. Not me. I loved it. I would actually spend time reading it because I wanted to broaden my vocabulary. To this day, I still have that dictionary with the inscription from Bernice Moncreif, a friend of my mother’s. In fact, it is the only gift that I still have from graduation. I think Mrs. Moncreif made a wise decision in giving it to me. She got her money’s worth.

Writing is hard. I tell them that all the time. But you cannot write unless you write. The way you learn to write is by writing. It doesn’t matter what you write about, just write. I guess I should not be so hard on them. Half of them can’t seem to get their names on their paper, much less write five sentences for a paragraph. Maybe by the end of the year!


Whenever I’m trying to get the class to quiet down, I hold a stopwatch up so that they can see it as it adds seconds as they talk. I then take the time, add it to class before they can leave for their next class. It’s actually quite effective.

I had  1:47 on them at one point and one of the girls asked: “If we can act like angels, will you take some of the time off?”

My brain went to work. “If you can act like angels? Well, you are acting like angels, the fallen ones. By the way, nice use of the simile, comparing yourselves to angels. As for your ability to act like good angels, that is beyond your capability given that you are fallen, sinful humans. But give it a shot.”

While most of my response was way over their heads, I think they understood the gist of what I was saying.

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4 thoughts on “My First Dictionary

  1. babalucy

    Praise the LORD for the seeds you are sowing in those 6th graders hearts. My Ruth gave me a dictionary for a birthday gift and I use it almost every day and love it

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  2. Yes writing is hard. It is a passionately loved while at the same time passionately hated pastime of mine. Thank God for spell check, and especially the little blue squiggly lines that show up to point out that you’ve used the wrong homophone.

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