Camp cont.

I'll just say it again: I fucking love camps. Especially the last couple of days. I always, always over-plan and prepare, so that by the last couple of days, I'm able to pick out the choice activities from what's left and we have a lot more fun. Today, the other students who are in summer sessions spent their break time gazing longingly in through our window and frowning at all the screaming, smiling and laughing we were doing. And tomorrow is going to be basically nothing but a huge sugar high.

I had already forgotten what it was like to be around the little ones. They're so handsy -- they grab anything in sight: Teacher what this? Teacher what this? And they come running over to show you the most awkward, asinine things at the most random times: Teacher hand-uh pone numbers looks like food!!! And they cry. For no reason.

They're adorable as fuck, and I like them, and enjoy having them for that last bit of the year before they start to man out. But I don't think I could do it all the time, and am mostly glad to be working middle school. I've caught myself gazing in at my third grader's summer classes, and feeling so relieved when they come over to talk (more) sensibly, in their already changed voices.

That having been said, English camp sometimes yields real opportunities to actually teach English on a more complex level. Today an argument broke out amongst my three second graders. I listened in for a bit, before they decided to have me settle it: What was the difference between "a few" and "some"? They knew the obvious difference of "a few" generally meaning a small number, but "some" meaning anything from a few to almost all. But they were arguing over the degree to which "some" was flexible, and in what cases you would use it. I got to explain that we use "some" or "a few" at different times, depending on the feeling we want to give. For example, if you are failing two of your six classes, and your mom asked you how many classes you were failing, you would answer "a few" to give the impression that it wasn't that many. However, if your mom got your report card and you came home to find her angry, she would say you were failing "some" of your classes, because her point is that you are failing any at all, and she doesn't want to make it sound smaller. But. If your relatives asked your mom about your scores, she would probably just answer that you were failing "a few" classes, because she doesn't want to make it sound like a lot. If she's complaining to your father about how he needs to discipline you, again, she would say you were failing "some".

It's been a long-ass time since I've had the chance to explain something like that. And they stayed after to have me explain the difference between a participle and a gerund. For fuck's sake. What smart boys I have.


The Hallyucinator said...

Wow Liz, did you just think up those examples on the spot? Never realised before that there's actually a nuance between 'some' and 'a few', which you can even use to negotiate social conflict.

I'm no Picasso said...

Haha it's actually a difference I've had to explain before to adult students. And they made it easy to give an example, because of how specific the question they were asking was. Which I was amazed by. They knew that there was an issue there to begin with -- they just had different opinions about what the right answer was. They're smart cookies!