Laptops and Homophones

By Vita Forest

At school, during Literacy groups, where three different activities run concurrently under my leadership and another is outside reading with a parent, we had, what you might call, an incident.

Martin, at ten years old, was becoming frustrated with a program he was interacting with on a laptop.  The cursor was not cooperating.  His responses were not being recorded.  He couldn’t move around the screen as he wished.  Some of his peers looked up like meerkats and turned their heads in his direction, while other class members jumped up to look over his shoulder and offer suggestions.  But all too soon, his muttering and irritation escalated into shouting and rage.  Along with the increase in volume, came a quickly accelerating wave and then explosion of fury which saw him slam down the lid of the laptop and raise it above his head all the better to hurl it across the room…

“Martin!” I shrieked with obvious great authority and calmness.

It was all I could do, being across the other side of the room deeply involved in deciphering his classmates’ handwriting and how they were responding to the latest chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Luckily it distracted him long enough to hesitate and in that moment of hesitation I was able to sprint across the distance and gently press the weapon back down onto the benign surface of the desk.  He took some deep breaths and blinked.

‘Do you need to get some fresh air?’ I asked in a quieter tone, kneeling beside him.

He nodded and stood and marched out of the classroom.  I sent an extremely calm student out to follow him on his walk.

The meerkats returned to their work and the classroom returned to the more normal level of noise for Literacy Groups.  Martin returned after ten minutes walking in the sunshine, calmer, with his earlier meltdown forgotten.

Later, as I was marking the stack of books containing the students’ responses to ‘Troublesome Homophones’, I came across the following sentence used by Jason to demonstrate his knowledge of thecorrect way of spelling ‘there’  “The laptop was thrown over there.”

I called him over to my desk and pointed to the sentence nodding in appreciation.

‘Good use of ‘there’,’ I said.

He grinned.

‘I like to look around and get inspiration from what’s going on around me,’ he said.

Indeed.

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