Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Schooled - Yay! Rah!

Back when I was in middle school it was called junior high. Actually, that's not entirely true. They changed our junior high to middle school at the beginning of my seventh grade year. Ours was the last sixth grade class to grace the halls of our town's elementary school. It took us all awhile to get used to calling it middle school.

In middle school, we wrote notes to our friends and signed them "LYLAS" (Love You Like A Sister). Then someone came up with "LYLASFE" (LYLASForEver) so we added a time stamp to our sisterly love. If you really loved someone like a sister back then, you might even write them a personal "cheerleader" in one of your notes. Don't remember what a cheerleader is? Here's an example for my friend Buffy:
B is for Best Friend
U is for Unforgettable
F is for Funny
F is for Friday night Fun
Y is for You Go Girl!
Yes, my best friend back then was named Buffy. She's still a friend and she might be reading this now so be nice with your comments. I don't specifically remember writing a cheerleader for Buff, and if I didn't, this one is long overdue. So, Yay Buff!!

Anyway, we didn't know what else to call those little poems of praise so we called them cheerleaders. But I have come to find out some thirty odd years later that there is another name for them. In language arts circles, they are called "acrostics". I learned this from my second grader when he came home with a language arts assignment to write one about another student in his class.

Who reallys cares what these things are called? It doesn't matter. What is interesting is that this situation highlights the fact that back in the day, we weren't taught to the depths that kids are being taught today. I am sure we did acrostics in school as part of the curriculum. In fact, I know we did. But I don't think we, the students then, were given as much information as they, the students today, are. I had never heard the word "acrostic" before my second grader said it. Just like I didn't know the word "rubric" before he came home with it.

It's a challenge for a parent to keep up sometimes. I always knew my kids would end up being smarter than I am. I just thought it would happen when they got their PhDs, not while they were in elementary school.  Go Boys!


  1. I had the pleasure of teaching a girl about the word "palindrome" this weekend after she pointed out to me that her name, Hannah, is spelled the same way forward and back. It was really cool to see her get excited about this word and idea and she sought out other names that were also palindromes- Ava, Elle, Bob. It was really cool to be part of that spark with her.

    I also know that kids today learn more and learn differently. In this same space that I got to share "palindrome," I got totally schooled on some new fangled way of counting by using straws in pockets that represent hundreds, tens, and ones.

  2. Memories of school are coming back thick and fast now my kids are in school. But they are being educated in India while I was educated in Ireland. Still....some things are the same, some are different!

  3. This is cute. Do you know the difference between a junior high and a middle school? It's a philosophy, really; it's about creating groups that are smaller, more intimate, for the purpose of transitioning more smoothly to such a big school. For example, we have about 240 kids in the 6th grade at our middle school. They are grouped into three "houses" or "pods," which means that instead of being all over the building in classes, they travel together, between 3 or 4 teachers who lead their house.

    Oh, and BTW, I've never intercepted a "cheer," though they are still writing notes. At the high school, though, they just text.

  4. Crazy
    Nightingale of

    Back at you my dear friend.

    By the way, in later years people dropped the "y" and add "The" - The Buff. Sounded much cooler to them and to me. I prefer the anonymity of Elizabeth at work now, but you know when I'm playing with the band I gotta be Buffy. What else would a funk band be without one?


Whaddaya think about that?