We play a spelling game in my room where we go around in a circle spelling each letter of a word. So to spell “desk”, the first kid says “D”, the next “E”… You get the idea. If you get a letter wrong, you sit down.
We were playing this game last week, using a list of words all third graders should know. It was mostly a review, and almost all the words were pretty easy.
We got to the word “ship”. It went perfectly. “S”… “H”… “I”… the next kid in a line, a sweet, slightly shy little girl, smiled at me and confidently said “T”.
There was a moment of dead silence, and I said “I think you meant to say P.” A collective gasp when through the circle, followed immediately by giggling. The poor kid who made the mistake went completely white, then dark red. I had to avoid looking anyone in the eye, especially the other teachers in the room. My ribs hurt from trying not to laugh. I knew if I did, she would feel awful, and all the kids would lose it.
We had pretty effectively moved on, and even started a new word, when one kid, who had had a confused look on his face up until now, suddenly said “Ohhhh…” It looked like a lightbulb went off above his head. “She spelled… she spelled… Ohhhhh.”
In an effort not to laugh, I promptly inhaled the cough drop I had in my mouth halfway up my sinuses, and distracted everyone by wheezing, hacking, and blasting everyone with mentholated breath for the next five minutes. Crisis averted. I think there’s still a cough drop in my nasal cavity, though.