I quickly flashed an index card with the word 'some' printed on it to one of the fifth graders I work with in the intellectual disabilities class. "Three somes?" the boy exclaimed. "Three somes?"
We start every guided reading group with a quick word game to review our high frequency words (words a reader can expect to see all the time like and, because, some, come, etc.) The game changes occasionally but we always use the same stack of index cards. As we go through a new book I'll add new words to our stack depending on what words they have difficulty with. We've been adding to this stack for two years now so it is getting fairly thick. I have not done much in the way of editing the cards for repeats and there are numerous words that sneak into the stack multiple times. This usually works out in my favor because if the students have trouble with the word and it is already in the stack then it certainly doesn't hurt anything to repeat it.
Yet there now happen to be three some cards. Three. Somes. Say it fast.
The friend I showed the third 'some' card to was obviously keeping track of the number of times he'd been asked to read the word some. He's also a friend who finds one phrase to repeat over and over again. Some days he asks me if I'm wearing boots the entire 45 minutes we work together. Other times it's announcing he's not coming to school on Saturday. Yesterday it was the number of somes in our deck.
Mrs. Lipstick, why we have to do three somes? Why you make us do three somes?
Over and over again.
I've never been so happy that no one happened to walk by the classroom at that exact moment. I shamelessly drew his attention away from the three some cards and to our shoes. I won't get fired over a 45 minute line repetition over shoes. The three somes would be harder to explain.
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