In California, one of the 2nd grade language arts standards is prefixes and suffixes. Students are required to know how a word can be changed by adding a prefix or suffix. There are quite a few that they need to know so we start on that instruction at the very beginning of the year.
This past week I introduced “-less”. As with most affixes, once you teach it to 7 year olds, they add it to everything. After showing them “homeless”, “painless”, and “careless” hands started popping up on the carpet showing me that they were ready to give it a try.
After “dogless”, “catless”, and “goldfishless” I stopped them before they went through all the pets. I showed them a few more, “harmless” and “penniless”. More hands popped up to offer “runless” and “boneless”. Oh, good, we got one. After a few more explanations, they got better - “boneless”, “shirtless”, and “friendless”.
As I added the new ones to our chart, one lone hand remained. As I called on the student, “hairless” was added. Of course, that is a great example using the suffix '”-less” so I added it to the chart. While I did so, we talked about the meaning, “without hair”. This caused my entire class to roll around on the floor laughing.
What is it about that word “hairless”? It is a funny word. For an adult, there are many images that it conjures up and most of them are funny. What I wonder is what little kids are visualizing when they hear that word.
Are there any words that make you laugh?