Mr Weis’ Classroom Blog

March 24, 2009

Malapropisms, green folders explained, and a request for puppet help

Filed under: Announcements,Homework — mrweis @ 7:08 pm

This week’s challenge vocabulary focuses on Malapropisms.  Malapropisms involve the misuse of a word, often as a result of confusion with another similar sounding word.  The term malapropism comes from the character Mrs. Malaprop from the 1775 play The Rivals by Richard Sheridan. In the play, Mrs. Malaprop continuously makes verbal blunders by mixing up intended words with words that sound similar but have very different meanings.  The name Malaprop itself is derived from the French mal à propos, which means inappropriate.


For example, in this cartoon, the girl makes a mistake with her word choice and changes the meaning of the well known nursery rhyme.  Instead of saying the intended word fleece (meaning the fur of sheep), she says fleas (meaning the tiny blood-sucking insect).

A recent prominent political figure was known to dabble in malapropisms quite frequently, which has led to some people referring to similar gaffs as bushisms.  Not to be confused with bushisms, malapropisms are more clearly defined to an error with a similar sounding word with a different meaning.  Bushisms incorporate a wide range of errors and include misplaced modifiers and just generally poor grammar.  Here is one example that does fit the qualification of being a malapropism from many that can be found here “Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted.”  For some hearty chuckles and grammatical fun, dismantle some of the quotes with your child to identify and fix the grammatical errors.  Come to think of it, maybe if I don’t get hired back, I could make a grammar workbook entirely full of editing exercises based on presidential quotes from the years 200-2008.

I passed out the first portion of the challenge vocabulary packet yesterday and will give students the second section with the correct intended words tomorrow.  The students seemed to enjoy trying to guess the intended word with some malapropisms straight from the original play.

In math today, we focused on building our percent sense.  By percent sense, I mean automatic mental connections between percents and common easy to use fractions.  For example, when I see 25%, I automatically think 1/4, and when I see 10% I think of 1/10 and I also think about dividing by ten or moving the decimal place one over to the left.  As we worked on recalling some equalities and strategies to build our percent sense, we also worked some with unit percents.  A unit percent is 1% of a value.  Once we find a unit percent, we can use the resulting value to find many other percents rather easily.  In class today we filled out ratio tables after identifying unit percents.  Some students have a little work left to do as homework tonight.

Green Folders went home today.  In them you should find a vocabulary test, a math quiz on fractions, current events responses, and the vocabulary packet from last week.  Please look at your child’s work and then send the folder back to school by Thursday.  I have been having some difficulty getting some work back that I wanted to keep in student’s files, so please help out by sending things back as soon as you are finished with them.

A couple notes on the grading of work you will find in the green folders:  When I use a 1-4 scale, 3 is considered proficient 5th grade level work, 2 is approaching proficiency, 1 requires serious improvement, and 4 indicates effort and progress above and beyond the basic expectations.  I also sometimes check for completeness and effort like I did this week with the vocabulary packet.  If a paper is incomplete or requires some improvement, I mark it with a check and my initials.  If it is up to expectations and shows evidence of reasonable effort, I mark it with a star and my initials.

Puppet Help Request:  After mapping out my writing unit for the next few weeks, I need to reorganize some of the time I am planning to set aside for puppets.  We spent a lot of time on the puppets over the past couple weeks and need to get back on track with Writing and Social Studies.  The students have cut out cloth bodies using a pattern, but the two pieces need to be sewn together.  If you have access to a sewing machine and would be willing to bring home a few of the puppet patterns and sew them together it would be greatly appreciated.  Just send me a note, and I will send some home with your child.  Thanks for the help!


  1. Language Arts: Literature Circle Work  – Lit. Circle Projects for the groups reading The Library Card and Wringer are both due on Friday.  Groups reading The Dark is Rising and Coraline have reading and a job sheet due tomorrow.
  2. Mathematics: Finish unit percent worksheet.
  3. Other: Vocabulary – Work on vocab. packet, it is due on Friday.
  4. Reading: Read for 20 minutes and fill out pink reading log.

Mr. Weis


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