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re: What's in a name?

Michelle might wonder why you didn't say anything.  At 5 she may or may not
notice the inconsistency, but by 6 or 7 most kids would (and some will catch
it by 3 or 4).  It's tough to think of a response in the chaos of the moment.  

How about congratulating her on recognizing a carnivorous bi-ped and then
tell her the dinosaur's name.  Something like "this dinosaur is a carnivore
just like T. and we think he ran the same way.  His name is ... and he's one
of my favorites as well!"  Not a direct contradiction of here statement, but
still the truth.  Then the further explanation later would match her
conversation with you.

I know the problems with this 'solution':
* I'm sitting at a computer, not surrounded (at the moment) by ankle-biters.
* Michelle may not stick around for a sentence of that length.

Sound to me as if you're doing the best you can.  Shine the light whenever
possible and do a little 'role playing' in between.  I really appreciate
that the question has come up.  Respect for their spongy little brains AND
for their little egos - it's a tough balancing act, but just thinking about
it proves you're halfway there!

>On Fri, 15 Aug 1997, Brian Franczak wrote:
>> How can it damage a child's enthusiasm to correct them of a mistaken
>> notion? I speak before elementary school classes often, and have had to
>> correct mistaken ideas several times.
>If you have been invited to an elementary school specifically to
>talk about dinosaurs, it would be incumbent upon you to make the talk as
>informative as possible. I was thinking of a less formal setting. I'm
>in the school library, for instance. Johnny comes up to me with _Curious
>George Rides a Bike_ and I say, "I like Curious George because he's so
>funny." Then Mary comes up with a Dr. Seuss book and I say, "I like that
>story because it rhymes." Then Michelle comes up with Patricia Lauber's
>book _The News about Dinosaurs_, shows me the cover, and she tells me,
>"This is my favorite dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus." The cover is the Greg Paul
>painting of Daspletosaurus running past a bunch of cattails. Michelle has
>heard me say nice things to Johnny and Mary about their books. Do I really
>want to tell her (however gently) that the dinosaur she proudly proclaims
>is her favorite is not her favorite at all? Keep in mind that there are no
>other animals in this painting to use as a reference, and nothing in the
>background really to use as a size reference. No matter how gently a
>correction is made, the child might feel that I'm criticising her because
>she made a mistake. Sure, it's a constructive criticism. But a moment that
>started out as the child proudly showing me her choice of a book becomes a
>moment of criticism.
>If it had been another dinosaur, I might be more receptive to a
>constructive criticism. If, for instance, Michelle had brought me a book
>with Styracosaurus on the cover and said, "This is my favorite dinosaur,
>Triceratops," then I might say, "Do you remember how many horns a
>Triceratops has?" She says, "Three." I say, "How many horns does this
>dinosaur have?" She smiles shyly and maybe says, "Whoops." The difference
>here is that I did not say, even gently, "Michelle, you're wrong." I
>guided Michelle into realizing that she was smarter than she remembered
>she was.
>> I cannot see how anyone
>> (child or adult) can learn anything if they are allowed to harbor a
>> mistaken idea and no one ever challenges them on it or corrects them.
>They can learn something because *later* you take the time to correct
>them. Later, for instance, I might be in Michelle's class talking about
>dinosaurs. I show them the Greg Wenzel painting of Tyrannosaurus from the
>Dinosaur Society calendar a few years back and I say, "This is
>Tyrannosaurus." Then I show them the painting of the Greg Paul
>Daspletosaurus. I say,  "This looks like Tyrannosaurus, but it's really a
>dinosaur called 'Daspletosaurus.' Looks a lot like Tyrannosaurus, doesn't
>it? Kind of like alligators look like crocodiles, or the way butterflies
>look like moths. It's hard to tell the difference, but paleontologists 
>know what to look for, and they can tell." There are probably some on this
>list who think I should go into a long explanation about the differences
>in when they lived, the differences in overall size... But the children
>can relate better to the alligator/crocodile comparison. In a third grade
>class, I would probably talk about ways paleontologists distinguish the
>two. But in a kindergarten class (which is what Michelle is in), I
>Notice, too, that I did not say, "Michelle thinks this is a
>Tyrannosaurus." I made a very general remark to the whole class.
>Now suppose that before I can talk about the picture, Michelle speaks up
>and says "That's a Tyrannosaurus." (It isn't likely that she would,
>because I showed the other picture first. But suppose she did.) Then I
>might say, "You know, Michelle, I thought it was a Tyrannosaurus, too. It
>looks a lot like Tyrannosaurus..." This way, I've made the correction
>ultra sensitive, because I am correcting myself as well.
>----- Amado Narvaez
>(And if it's NOT Daspletosaurus in the Greg Paul painting I'm talking
>about, feel free to correct me.)

        In  Peace  -  SarahAnne