I’m going to try to tie together a couple of loose ends here.  A couple of  weeks ago (see how laggy I’m getting?) I was showing how long it takes me to actually finish some of these posts (haha, ironic), and I was telling the story of teaching the vocabulary word brusque. Let us resume the story…

…One of the words on said vocabulary pretest was the word brusque.  I’m going over examples (“Think of  the stereotypical New Yorker”) and synonyms (“Kind of like a little pushy and a bit rude”), looking for them to give me the word for the blank on the homework sheet. One kid who really thought he knew that one guesses wrong, and when I give the correct answer, he looks even more puzzled than usual. With this guy, I’ve learned to wait a beat, and then the light bulb usually goes on. Sure enough, his face lights up, and he says,

“I thought that word was brewski!”

The whole class is dying.

“I was wondering why people talked about brewskis all the time. Why would you talk about that? I was very confused. In DARE they talked about brewskis…”

O. M. G.

So now it’s a thing in that class.

“Why are you being so brewski with me?”

Now it’s a week or two later, and I’m getting a little crabby at them as they struggle to write that page without using certain boring verbs. They don’t know from the forms of the word be! And as you all know, it’s been pounded into their heads many many times, and not just by yours truly. You see where I’m coming from here?

So we’re working it again, eighth graders included. One of the questions on the warm up the other day simply asked for the five other forms of the verb be.

I hear laughter from a partner pair. I hound them to get back to bidness, and one of them tells me he’s just trying to explain to his partner that become is not a form of the word be.



“It’s got ‘be’ in it.”

“So does rubber.”

“But it’s at the beginning.”

“Ok. So if I have be- at the beginning of the word, it’s a form of  the word be?”


So the rest of them start “suggesting.”


“Berate!” (Kudos for using a current vocabulary word!)




That one was a hit. It took a bit to restore order.

“As you can see, I don’t think we’re looking for words that start with be. There seems to be a lot more than five, and most of them are not verbs.”

I can see the t-shirt now:

The Forms of Be: