You're talking gibberish

I think I've mentioned before and before that we're trying to transition a little boy from one of our other (somewhat more restrictive*) special ed classrooms into mine. We're up to 45 minutes a day; keeping his attention is a real struggle, getting him to do any written work is a huge accompishment, and his behavior in general is a challenge, to say the least. He has a difficult time expressing himself verbally (though he certainly can make his feelings of displeasure evident!), but he gave us an interesting window into his head today.

Note: This story was related to me by his teacher, and I know I have it half wrong--especially the dialogue, but the gist of it is what she told me.

Note 2: If you click on the link, you can hear a clip of the song. You should. It's a fun song, plus it adds a little to the story, but if you don't, here are the lyrics that are pertinent to this story:

Driving in my car/driving in my car/driving all the way to Minneapolis in my

We were having our music time this morning and listening to the song we always listen to. We listened to it last year (when he was also in her classroom), too: Driving in My Car (by former Bad Examples leader Ralph Covert...Ralph's World...great CD for kids).

Student interrupts: "My mom doesn't have any of those apaliz."

Teacher: "Any what?"

Student: "She doesn't have any apaliz in her car."

Teacher: "Apples? Any what?"

Student: "NO...apaliz. My mom doesn't have any."

Teacher (lost): "Ummm...OK."

Student (shrugs): "Well, she doesn't have many apaliz, anyway."

Light Bulb

Light bulb moment: Many apaliz = Minneapolis

It's funny, but it also strikes me--this kid has been listening to this song for a year now, and he doesn't know anything about "apaliz" other than he doesn't have any. How many times are we talking in class and losing the kids because they have no idea what we're talking about? How many times are their "attention problems", in reality, due to the fact that what we're saying is lost in translation? We might as well be talking gibberish.
*FYI, "more restrictive" in this sense refers to amount of time out of the regular education environment, not any kind of bodily restriction. A classroom where the students receive all of their instruction from a special ed teacher in a special ed classroom is "more restrictive" than a classroom like mine, where the students receive their core academics (Language Arts and Math) from me but have their Science and Social Studies instruction provided by their regular education teachers.


  1. Interesting, and how very insightful of you.

    That reminds me a bit of figuring out what your child is saying when he or she is learning to talk. It has always fascinated me which sounds kids hear and repeat.

  2. Kate, I just checked out that link you sent me about the CUTE owl s'mores.....LOVE IT!! Thanks for sharing!! ;-)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts