While most people think of me as a mathematics person, my day job, without which I will have to eat sand, involves dealing with teaching and learning in all subject areas and arm twisting colleagues to maximise student learning.
In an ordinary day, which seems like a second long, roaming the campus of a school which is the size of China, I might get to observe anything between four and a million lessons.
Yesterday, I benefited from a bunch of mathematics, science and language lessons.
And some lessons involved concepts I knew nothing about.
I saw our kindergarten children learning the lower case letters that are taller than they are. I saw a boy doing intensive English Language because apparently he has zero English. I saw Primary 2s doing a lesson on vocabulary and Primary 5s doing a lesson on hyperbole, as part of their learning about figurative language.
I knew nothing about hyperboles but now I find them so interesting I can talk about them all day.
As I watch each lesson, I often brainstorm for ways I might teach the lesson if I were the teacher.
Not that the lessons were inadequate.
But thinking how I can tweak the lesson so that it does more than the existing one in terms of realising the school's vision.
Say, a lesson on hyperbole. Now, a person like me would never use hyperboles. So the lesson was interesting to me.
What if it was up to me?
I would give students a list of hyperboles in everyday conversation. Print them in slips of paper. Put them in baskets. Ask students to each pick one they think they know the meaning of. Have them explain to each other the meaning of their hyperbole.
Then I would gather them at the meeting area. I would ask them to say how the different sentences are alike. The conclusion I am driving at is the fact that each sentence contains at least one exaggeration. I am sure Spiky is not really as skinny as a toothpick. Also, hopefully, someone would say these are sentences that you would not use, say, in a formal report although it adds colour to frivolous Facebook post. Or in Harper Lee's narrative writing when she described Maycomb Country ("...there was nothing to buy and no money to buy it with..").
I will then get them to do a worksheet that's part of the resources available where kids circle the hyperbole(s) in given sentences.
If I have more time I would substitute this worksheet sentences or paragraphs from well-known literature like Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.
I would then let the kids who are done earlier form little groups to have fun inventing their own hyperboles and laughing at them.
Don't forget laughter and smiles are important too.
I will round the lesson with an independent piece of writing - Write a paragraph on a topic of your choice to allow you to use hyperboles.