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Paxton Keeley students tip their hats to good vocabulary

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 5:42 p.m. CDT; updated 6:01 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 29, 2010
These were some of the words 92 fourth-graders at Paxton Keeley Elementary School chose to represent with paper, duct tape, cotton balls and pipe cleaners. The words with the children beneath them formed a parade in the school's hallways Wednesday as the students wished each other “Happy Vocabulary Day.”

COLUMBIA — Flabbergasted: It's a hard word to resist.

That may explain how it ended up on a hat on the head of a fourth-grader Wednesday on Vocabulary Day at Paxton Keeley Elementary School.

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Ukulele was also there. And symbiosis. Not to mention conundrum.

These were some of the words 92 fourth-graders chose to represent with paper, duct tape, cotton balls and pipe cleaners. The words with the children beneath them formed a parade in the school's hallways Wednesday as the students wished each other “Happy Vocabulary Day.”

Kristin Nies, a fourth-grade teacher, led the parade through the classrooms of the younger students who pointed and giggled and whispered to each other, delighting especially in recognizing one of the crazy hat wearers.

The celebration was the highlight of a day aimed to encourage students to learn new words. Fourth-graders spent the day in word-related activities, which included eating alphabet cereal for snacks.

“Hopefully, as we write in the future, we’re going to be thinking about using new words,” Nies said.

The students had been working on the assignments with the words they chose for two weeks. Many of the new words came from in-class readings.

Fourth-grader Holden Larson, 10, wore a hat with moving propellers and pictures of helicopters. The hat represented the word “propel.”

“My mom read the word to me, and I liked it,” Holden said. He's also interested in helicopters.

Holden enjoyed the parade the most of all the events.

“I kinda liked how they all thought my hat looked cool,” Holden said.

Riley Eagle’s hat stood for “accolade” with words such as “praise” dangling from it. Riley, 9, said she planned to use her new word next time she wanted to compliment someone.

Claire Watkins’s word was “supernatural.” She got the idea for the word from reading "Harry Potter" with her father.

“Supernatural means fairies, dragons and ghosts,” Claire, 9, said.

She used an old Chevy’s hat and duct tape to make her hat.

At the end of the day, students in Nies’ class received a certificate with a personalized pun referring to their words.

To help students remember their new words, pictures of them in their hats will be posted on the classroom’s walls.

As if anyone could forget jamboree.


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