Lutes and Flowers

In 8th grade General Music class this week, Tyler asked, “Mr. Shaver, who invented the guitar?”

“Interesting story,” I replied.  “It was named after its inventor, James Q. Guitar.”

“Really?  That’s cool,” said Tyler.

“No, not really.  I don’t actually know who invented the guitar.  Does anyone else?”

“Wasn’t there another stringed instrument that was popular before the guitar?” asked Keagan, who loves history and is way smarter than most people realize.

“Actually, yes.  It was the lute,” I answered, “which was sort of a predecessor to the guitar.  It was very popular during the Renaissance, and was invented by Pierre P. Lute.”


“No, not really.  While the lute was very popular, I don’t know who invented it.  But imagine being named Pierre P. Lute…”

Several kids laughed.  Some people might say a teacher shouldn’t make up stuff like this.  On the other hand, the students were paying attention, no one went away actually thinking my fictitious characters were real, and they all learned a little about the lute.

When it comes to using humor with students, I have found that they often give as good as they get.  For instance, I was standing in the hallway between classes on Friday, which was picture day, when Orianna walked by.  She had dressed up nicely for pictures; she even had a flower blossom in her hair.  The blossom wasn’t real, but it was pretty, so I told her so.

“How did you get that to grow there?” I asked, thinking she would just laugh about it.

“I swallowed a flower seed,” she said, smiling.

“Really?  Then you just washed your hair and the flower grew?”

“Oh, yeah, it was easy.  Of course, it helps if you go outside in the sunshine to let your hair dry,” she explained.  Then she went on to class.

“Wow.  That’s cool,” I told her as she walked away.  I love how teachers can learn as much from our students as they learn from us.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rachael Shaver on September 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm



  2. Posted by Angela Shaver on September 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I wish I could grow flowers on my hair.


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