Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Nouns Come to Life

Zamboni with Zamboni

I am a creature of habit. One of my habits is getting up very early in the morning, partly because I have a long commute and partly because one of my joys is having a big breakfast of bacon and eggs every morning. While I was busy cooking the other day, I overheard a story on NPR about eponyms, nouns that are created from the names of people. Examples are Watts, Zamboni, Zeppelin, Newtons and Volts.

Well, it just so happened that my class that day was learning about nouns and proper nouns, so it made sense for me to keep listening while my eggs got cold, and boy, was I rewarded! What came next was a song and YouTube video all about these words that was a lot more fun for my students than their dry worksheet. This then led to looking up examples of eponyms on the net and making PowerPoint slides on each of our words with biographies of the people they are named after. All of this happened nearly spontaneously and reminded me how much I enjoy working in a district that lets me abandon the textbook for a day if I find a better way of doing things.

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Comments on: "Nouns Come to Life" (2)

  1. This is really fun to hear about. Can you share with us any of the eponyms your class came up with — and their stories?

  2. here was a link in the article that was mentioned:
    http://www.life.com/gallery/48031/image/51656298/people-who-became-nouns#index/50

    it does a pretty good job, but this takes the cake:
    http://www.alphadictionary.com/articles/eponyms/

    my favorite would have to be General Ambrose Burnside, a civil war general who as the song mentions got his soldiers killed but had great sideburns. Argyle sweaters also have a neat origin: A former county in western Scotland where the Campbell family with the argyle tartan lived.

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