Debbie Shults is a veteran Sarasota, Florida, teacher, literacy coach and now blogger who is working to define a "new literacy" at her middle school.
The other day, my two teenage sons cajoled me into watching a movie they both find tremendously amusing. The film is not new. It's called Kangaroo Jack, and features Christopher Walken playing a small-time thug named Sal. Although Sal is the head of a bumbling crime family, he feels very insecure about his word knowledge, and throughout the film he is seen making a desperate attempt at self-improvement through the use of a tape-recorded vocabulary tutorial. In my favorite scene, a soothing female voice on Sal's tape player defines the word amorphous — having no shape or form, and then directs Sal to use the word in a sentence. Sal responds with this beauty: "After Joey Clams got whacked, his head was amorphous." Continue reading...

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