*Names and identifying details have been altered to protect the innocent people who could sue me.

October 31, 2012

Rules for Survival

Great Moments in Writing: Why Read Stories?

"Imagine a world where there were no stories, tales, books?  That would be terrible!  One of the greatest authors in ancient history, Homer, would just be a guy named Homer.  Heck, we wouldn't even have religions especially Christianity without the Bible.  So, why read stories? Because the world wouldn't be nearly as advanced as it is today.  Life would pretty much stink."

"Do you want a life?  Well then, you should read stories."

"Some of the reasons to read stories are to learn things, to have adventures, and because books teach lessons.  So the next time your teacher assigns a book, think of what you can get out of it instead of just pouting."

"Why do we read stories?  Don't just say because your teacher made you, because it's more than that."

"In the end the question 'Why read stories' was to inform you on things you never knew about and to also entertain you with stories you like to read, and to teach you new things like vocabulary.  I really understand the question 'why read stories' now that I wrote a whole essay on the question."

"For centuries now, people have written stories.  Just because they've been written though, doesn't mean people have to read them."

"We read stories for a few reasons.  One is to learn about things and/or learn from other people's mistakes and if we didn't do this when we read stories we would be really stupid and do very dumb things.  Another reason we read stories is to use and build our immense imagination and if this didn't occur while we read stories we wouldn't have invented many things because we wouldn't have imagined them.  Lastly, we read stories to entertain ourselves in English class because it is sometimes very boring.  You should read stories or you'll be a dumb non-educated person."

*all excerpts edited for clarity, but only as absolutely needed.  I swear.

October 28, 2012

Great Moments in Teaching History (September edition)

Questionnaire: What one thing would you change about the world?
8th grader: I'd be able to get anything I want for free! Oh, and treat cancer.

Student's Short Story: “But then it hit me. It hit me as if it were a speedy wind smacking you straight in the face. It hit me as if it were an unexpected tornado, or earthquake, or whatever metaphor you like that symbolizes my brain hatching an idea.”

(One day, on a field trip ...)
Student: Look, Ms Gettlin, I caught a fish!
me: John, put that back in the pond!
Student: But Ms Gettlin ...
Student: See, I didn't hurt it, it's swimming away!
(Student 2: That's not swimming, that's floating upside down.)
me: John, what was that rule about not going in the water?
Student: I didn't go in the water!
me: John ... you were holding a fish.
Student: I d
idn't go in the water!

me: Are your hands wet?
Student: I didn't go in the water!
me: Are your hands wet?
Student: Yeah ... oh.

TGP (teacher growth percentile)

Ways I know I have grown as a teacher since last year, example #1:

Student: How do you get your hair to do that, Ms Liles?
Last year's answer: Um, I put it into two braids, and thenI loop them on top of my head, and then secure it in place.
This year's answer: Bobby pins.

Example #2:
Student: What's the fourth stage of a plot chart?
(Exposition, Conflict Introduced, Rising Action ...)
Last year's answer: Climax.
This year's answer: Climactic Moment.

Example #3:
Student: Don't worry Ms Gettlin, I'll marry you.
Last year's response: Um ... I ... ok, well, thank you, I guess, but ... see, I um ... well, ok.
This year's response: Thank you, but that would be illegal

April 30, 2012

The most important part of a compliment is the timing.

I'm not proud of anything.

I showed no growth in this last quarter. I only showed a decrease in my grade.

I wanted to improve on the Common Assessments, but I didn't.

No, my steps did not help me because I went down in grades this term.

The steps did not work because I did not use them.

I am not proud of anything this term.  I need to do more homework and try harder in class.  No growth at all - I went backwards.

I'm not proud of anything this quarter.  I was really slacking.

I am proud of my effort but I am disappointed that I got an A-. I should work even harder on ORQs and tests because I am proud of my essays and I don't understand why I went down on Achievement because I tried really hard.  I need to focus REALLY hard and I'm going to try soooo hard because I need to get a solid A.  I improved my participation but I went down on my average percentage which makes me sad and confused.  I want you to know that I will do even better to get an A.

I would like you to know you are an awesome teacher and I am privileged to have you as my teacher.  Thank you for everything.  I'll miss you up at the High School.

April 26, 2012

Quarter 3 self-evals

1. What are you proud of?

2. What do you need to focus on? What are two real steps you can take to help you make this change?

3. Is there anything else you’d like me to know?

One thing I should improve on is getting a higher grade in homework. Two actual steps that would help me focus on this is to put more effort in it, and do it more consistently. And not being lazy.

 I should focus on homework. I could start doing homework at home instead of on my bus.

 I can do homework. Stop being a lazy bum and pay attention to understand it.

My overall grade needs to go up and I’m not really proud of anything. I need to work on everything. I need to bring my grade up. I grew three inches, though.

 I did not show much growth as a student, but my shoe size went up.

I would also like you to know that since I’ve been in your class I have started reading on my own time instead of being forced to, and I didn’t do that before.

Going to a rock concert with a unicorn is dangerous. When the unicorn head-bangs and fist-pumps, get out of the way.

April 18, 2012

Apparently our lesson in formal vs. informal writing wasn't such a success.

"The third literary device in the poem is setting. In the poem “prince” this is what they said. “Start with the underwear. sit him down” … uhh ok so other than that being really awkward and out of context the setting I HOPE is in a bedroom."

(For the record, this is the poem referenced in the student's essay - so he didn't exactly have a correct read on it.)

April 16, 2012

What is poetry?

“Blah Blah I’m in love” this is what love poems would sound like if there were no literary devices. The Mood, tone, and theme, are three of the literary devices that poets will use to draw a picture in the reader’s mind. Without these, all Love poems would all be very dull.

In poetry, there are a good amount of literary terms that compare and contrast in poems. Do you think that next time you read poems you would take the time to notice some comparisons? Or maybe some things that are different? It’s not as hard as you think, just take a moment and really look at what each word means.

All poems are different. Some easy to understand some not so much. Having literary devices like metaphors, similes and personifications can make us understand poems a bit better. Sometimes it takes two or more times rereading a poem to finally understand what the poem means but with literary devices not only do they help us understand they can make a poem really creative too. You never know, Poems are really interesting things.

So next time somebody decides to read a poem, read it with them and try to point out these types of writing to educate them about the amazing world of literature.

April 5, 2012

Wait, you did WHAT? (Oh, ok.)

Earlier this year, a few students asked if we would be willing to advise a 7th/8th grade GSA during lunch.

Students at first GSA meeting: 4
2nd mtg: 5
3rd mtg: 9
4th mtg: 11
today's mtg: 13

We sent a couple of students to an anti-bullying conference this week, and today one of our students told us, "You know, kids who are gay are in the minority here, and most people look down on them. But I'm straight, and I was in the minority there, and everyone was nice about it. It's just, you know? It shouldn't be that way."

me: So, what else did you do there?
student 1: A lot of socializing, and we made some buttons.
student 2: And there was a seminar part, where we talked about bullying issues and solutions and things like that.
student 1: Yeah, and then we did pelvic thrusts.

So apparently, this conference was also their first introduction to the "Time Warp" song from Rocky Horror, but it took a minute before I figured out what they were talking about. But that's what a good GSA should be, I guess - one part activism, one part support, and one part social. And sometimes that social aspect is best served by lip syncing and synchronized line dance, you know?

March 30, 2012

Geez, indeed.

Student: Ms Gettlin, did you tell period 1 that you had a boyfriend?
Me: Yes, but it was an accident. I didn't mean to tell them.
Student: But why didn't you tell us, too? What, you didn't want me to know?
Me: Maybe I thought your class would start teasing me.
Student: Why, cause I'd be jealous? Geez, I'm not jealous. Why would I be jealous? Geez. What have I got to be jealous about?

March 27, 2012

Yet another reason English teachers are not meant to be walking dictionaries.

"Ms Gettlin, will you edit the rough draft of my essay?"
Sure. Um, Drew, can you read this sentence for me?
"He learns that exorcists are impotent."
Is that what you meant to say?
"Yeah." (pause) "No."
How about exercise, instead of exorcists?
"Yeah, yeah, that's it."
Do you know what exorcists are?
"Yeah." (pause) "So, what does impotent mean?"
If you don't know, I'm not telling you.
It's the kind of thing you learn about in health class.
"Oh." (pause) "Ohhhhh." (pause) "Hehehe."

March 25, 2012

Wolf fish sightings: what have my students learned from this unit?

I finally - finally! - finished grading the 85 literary Night essays this week. (Just in time for the students to turn in their poetry essays on Friday.)

Anyway, I found some pretty good wolf fish in my grading. Some beautiful musings on humanity's struggle to survive in the face of tragedy, some thoughtful reflections on the nature of good and evil, some absolutely ridiculous attempts to end an essay with an A+ "make-it-matter." In no particular order, here are some of the wolf fish recently gathered:

"Being betrayed or ignored in life threatening situations is not only unsafe, but it also lowers the trust level in the relationship severely."

"Good people don’t do bad things, because if good people do bad things they became not good people."

"You are a good person, but I bet you’ve done something bad."

"Have you been scared, but made the best of it? This isn’t the same as the Holocaust, but humanity still survived during the Holocaust."

"In a sense there really are no good or bad people, because all people do good and bad things."

"Having your face torn off but not caring about the pain can prove that death is not the only way to die."

"You might feel sorry for the dead. Instead, feel sorry for those who live every day in death. Death is not the only way to die – sometimes living is worse."

"Can good people do bad things? Well I should think so."

"The road to freedom was bumpy, but nothing was bumpier than the end."

"Elie’s story proves that there is always a way out of the worst situations and always a reason to keep moving forward."

"Humanity can, and has, made it through the darkest of times and the book Night gives us hope it could do it again if necessary."

"And I would like to thank Elie for writing such a moving book. Up till now I did not even know how bad the Holocaust was."

March 24, 2012

Fair point, I guess.

Student: Hey, Ms. Gettlin, you kinda look like Tupac today.
Me: Do I, now?
Student: Yeah, cause you got the same blue bandana tied up in your hair.
Me: Oh, okay...
Student: Well, but I mean, you tucked the ends in and he didn't, so I guess you don't really look like him.

March 19, 2012

Wolf fish sightings: early March

So, it occurs to me that twelve and thirteen year-olds are, basically, wolffish. They aren't always pretty, are occasionally slimy, and often have a comparative amount of energy as any other cold-blooded bottom-dweller.

But they can also be wonderful, as when one student spontaneously moves her seat so that a shy wallflower classmate no longer has to sit alone. Or when a student stays late after class to explain to me how his philosophy is grounded on the kind of nihilism that is self-negating, thus allowing true romanticism to take hold and grow. Or when a roomful erupts into applause as the winners of our 2012 Junior Jr Iditarod are announced.

Yes, that's right - I said Iditarod. What, you thought I'd forgotten? No, no, my friends. We've left behind the bitter winter in Auschwitz for the frozen plains of Interior Alaska. Full report coming soon!

March 11, 2012

Heeeeere wolfy, wolfy, wolfy ...

Last week I found myself sitting in a Rhode Island Honey Dew donut shop at 8pm on Tuesday night. The reason for this (I was waiting for a family friend to finish fencing lessons) is less important than the lesson I learned while I was there. However, before I explain what I learned, first let me explain what lessons I did not:

1. How to get grading done at 8pm on a Tuesday night
2. How to resist eating a donut when one is in a donut shop
3. How to avoid watching an Extreme Fishing show on the Animal Planet
4. Why the Animal Planet also has a show about searching for Bigfoot
5. Why the narrator of this Extreme Fishing show was insisting upon the deadly predator-ness of that highly dangerous Amazonian river monster, the wolf fish.

Which brings me to the lesson I did learn last Tuesday night. Namely, I have forgotten about my wolf fish! I can't believe this.

Back when I was in high school I was visiting the aquarium where my father works and, wandering around the tanks, happened upon one of the vets who was working on a tank full of wolf fish. Wolf fish, in case you've never seen either one on your own or via the sensationalism of an extreme fishing show, are not pretty animals. They are, basically, eels with teeth. (This is the part where my biologist friends yell at me that a) some eels have teeth and b) there is more to the wolf fish than that overly simplistic and ignorant description.)

And that's the whole point! The vet I was talking to spent many excited minutes extolling the virtues of the wolf fish. All the things I would never have thought to notice as I was busy thinking about how gross it was. And I walked away thinking to myself that, one day when I was grown up, I wanted to find a job that I loved so much that even the wolf fish of my field could get me excited.

And here we are, entering March - the deadliest of months, a month with all 5-day weeks and no vacations, a month of mud and rain and standardized testing, a month where even the hardiest of veterans succumb to the mountains of grading, the drear of the day-to-day, and the sharp volley of emails from angry parents. (I did also learn something from the Animal Planet channel about the beauty of sensationalist hyperbole, though it all sounds much more dramatic if you read it to yourself in a narrator's pseudo-British accent.) Here we are in March, two thirds of the way through the school year. Here we are in March, the longest uninterrupted stretch of teaching I have ever completed.

Here we are, and I have lost track of my wolf fish. I haven't been looking for them, marking them, listing them. In fact, I had even forgotten that my wolf fish could exist at all.

Thank you, Animal Planet, for reminding me that it was nigh time for me to pull on my waders, jump back in, and go hunting for wolf fish again.

March 5, 2012


As my cousin rightly points out, there are obviously worse things in the world than teaching the Holocaust, even if one is teaching it multiple times a day. Say, for example, actually experiencing it. I was thinking only in the context of the classroom when I made my comparisons. Unintentionally insensitive, but inconsiderate nonetheless. My apologies.

February 19, 2012

There is no why, children. (I'm sorry.)

Night, Elie Wiesel's autobiography of his experience at the Auschwitz concentration camp during WWII, is difficult to read. In fact, the only thing more difficult than reading it might be teaching it. And the only thing more difficult than teaching it once is teaching it 4 times a day. And perhaps the only thing more difficult than teaching Night four times each day is teaching the Holocaust to kids who have never studied it before. There's been a lot of, 'But whyyyyyyyy teacher, whyyyyyyyyyy? in my life these days.

All this is to say, I haven't wanted to think much about teaching in my off hours.

In lieu of a high-low-high, I've got a KWL for you. KWL is a standard teaching technique that activates background knowledge (K), encourages students to engage with the material by asking about what they want to know (W), and then provides a post-lesson wrap of what they've learned (L). We're not quite finished with the unit yet, but here are some sampled answers from the past few weeks that will give you a sense of what this month has been like.

K: What do I know about World War II? It involved fighting. The whole world took part. It was a sequel to World War I.

W: Why did Hitler hate the Jews so much? Why did Hitler prefer blonde hair and blue eyes? Why didn't anybody stop him from doing what he wanted to do? How was he able to do all of this? How can one person cause so many deaths?

L: Ms Gettlin, I figured out why Hitler hated the Jews. On the internet it said he was a vegetarian. So I think that's probably why he hated the Jews, right?

February 9, 2012

Connect the dots - the soap box edition

As a side note, a while ago I was reading an article that talked about the long-lasting effect of “excellent teachers.” The overall argument was something like:
Excellent teachers increase test scores.
1. Those students then go on to higher education.
2. Those students also earn more, in the long run.
3. Those students don’t get pregnant as teens.

Now, I realize that the underlying assumption of the article is that higher test scores indicate students who are more successful in life. But even were that made more explicit, I would still grade this process of analysis very low – were this one of my students – because the “connect the dots” still asks a lot of the reader. And I would suggest that a stronger, more nuanced analysis of this research might look more like this:

Excellent teachers prepare students to be informed, engaged participants in their education and life by increasing student agency, self-awareness, and confidence.
1. Those students are then able to seek out, and be successful in, higher education.
2. Those students are then able to get, and maintain, high paying jobs.
3. Those students are then able to make smart choices that demand self-respect, emotional maturity, and long-term thinking.

Soap box away now. Soon I’ll type up my student’s responses on their allusions quiz. Here’s a sample:
Q: What was Lazarus known for?
A: Shooting someone with a laser.

February 8, 2012

"Connect the dots"

8th graders are not particularly good at analysis. (Neither are the rest of us, for that matter, but more on that later.) The English classroom bears a lot of the burden for increasing reading and writing scores on standardized tests – regardless of the content of that reading or the purpose of that writing – and so we focus a lot on analytical writing, and how to improve the process of stating a claim and then proving it.

To help my students visualize this, I tell them they need to “connect the dots.” First, we make a main idea statement in the center of the page, then place brainstormed proof for this around it in a circle, each with its own dot. The analysis – the hardest part of writing – has to do the job of “connecting the dots” between the proof and the main idea. Don’t make the reader work for it, I tell them – make it obvious. Give the reader no choice but to agree with your point.

Here, then, are some of the brainstorms my students have handed in recently (retyped into a more linear format, for easier reading).

Finding Nemo is the best movie of all time.
1. Lots of action: the action where Merlin escapes the shark makes it great.
2. Talking fish: Not many movies have talking fish, which makes it a lot better.
3. And sharks: Having sharks makes it GREAT.

Jersey Shore is the best TV show of all time.
1. Fun: Partying in the show and its funny to watch with friends.
2. Violence: People are constantly getting in fights.
3. Good life lessons: What not to do when you're in public!

The Goonies is the best movie of all time.
1: The Truffle Shuffle – the truffle shuffle is a weird and funny move, which makes it good.
2: The Ship – I like the big ship with all the gold and stuff.
3: Booby Traps – The little asian boy [sic] uses dynamite to stop the villains. And it's funny when he says “booby.”

January 29, 2012

High-low-high, week of Jan 27th

High: "Yes, you can draw if you're done with your work, but it has to be English-y."

Low: slipped into my hand while I circled to help students with their essays.

High: Unnervingly accurate ...

January 27, 2012

Well, usually it's just a happy accident.

Special ed liason: Just checking in, how is (student) doing lately?
me: There've been improvements. He's participating more in class. And handing in more assignments. He still refuses to do anything he doesn't already feel like doing, though.
Liason: Well, that's part of his diagnosis.
me: Yep.
Liason: Is he interacting with the other students?
me: Yes, much more so. Some in positive ways, and then there are some students who react to his comments more negatively.
Liason: Is he able to join in group work, then?
me: Yes, I just make sure he's in a group with people who respond to him positively, and keep the others in separate groups.
Liason: Oh that's good, it seems like you want to set him up to be successful.

File under: what is it about teaching that makes everyone assume you don't know how to do your job?

January 25, 2012

What do you mean, you don't sleep here?

Still at work last night at 8pm (quarter grades were due this am), two of my students wandered in, one week early for the night they are signed up to give tours of the school to incoming seventh graders.

student 1: Wow, I never realized the clocks kept going after we left.
me: Yep. They run all night.
student 2: Whoa ... and do, like, does the noon bell ring at midnight, too?
me: John, how on earth would I know that?
student 2: oh yeah ... right.

January 21, 2012

High-low-high, week of Jan 20th

The "things my colleagues said to me this week" edition.

High: "I just thought you should know that I've never heard a student complain about your class."

Low: "So I guess we're all supposed to be teaching literacy now, or whatever."

High: "You know, your teaching style is starting to rub off on me. I moved the desks from rows into groups, and you know what? The kids still did their work! They were able to share information and correct their own worksheets and I didn't even have to put all the answers on the board myself. It saved me so much time ... I'm going to keep thinking about this groups thing!"

Stay tuned for more "Spell Checker FAILS," as the quarter ended on Friday and I have 80+ essays to read this weekend (term grades being due on Wednesday). What, are weekends supposed to be days off or something?

January 20, 2012

Self-evals, at their best:

1. I am proud of my getting better at persuading people about my
opinion, because I have improved a lot and it will help me if I become
a lawyer or salesman.

2. One area I think I need to focus on my conclusion more because I
don't think my "make it matter" is as in tip-top shape as it could be.

Is there anything else you'd like me to know?

3. I would like you to know that I liked this unit.

3. It was ok, but fun at times.

3. It was funish.

3. I have decided that if everyone had a unicorn, everyone would be
happy, so there would never be this problem [in the story of 12 Angry Men] with the kid killing someone.

January 19, 2012

Coconuts? Walk same a horse.

Or, how to provide real-time subtitling of Monty Python and the Holy Grail for your ELL student.

January 14, 2012

High-Low-High (week of Jan 13th)

There were times during student teaching when my fellow grad students and I got through to the end of the week by using a game we called "High, Low, High." I would like to say that the purpose of this game was to remind us to focus on the rewarding aspects of teaching while nevertheless holding in tandem the disappointments. In reality, it is more accurate to say that this game forced us to dig through our week to find some positive moments, and then gave us a chance to succintly complain about everything else.

(This is also called the "compliment sandwich," and it is fairly standard practice when emailing parents about why their child who just turned in a really wonderful essay has unfortunately managed to get a detention for using inappropriate language in the classroom, which is a shame because it's clear how hard this student has been working on her/his reading and writing and we're all so impressed with just how far he/she has come since the beginning of the year.)

So for this, the second week back from vacation:

High: To combat the second quarter slump, I allowed my students to negotiate a bargain (now colloquially known as "the deal") in which I would do away with Friday night homeworks if, and only if, every student in their class improved his or her term grade by at least 1% by the end of quarter 2. Inputting grades this week, I was honestly quite impressed to see that 58 of my 83 students are currently in good standing. (There's still one week left to the quarter - and that includes one more literary essay - so don't hold your breath just yet.)

Low: Upon working for the past five months to establish a connection with one of the most troubled students on our team, and having a modicum of success wherein he was actually passing Eng class, albeit no others, I checked my email Thurs morning during homeroom to find out that he had been permanently transferred out of our team. It is possible that he may also, in response to this unannounced schedule change, have stopped coming to school.

High: This week for the first, and hopefully last, time of my life I was able to utter the phrase, "John, I'm going to have to give you a detention if you can't stop Tebowing during your test."

January 13, 2012

For those of you who were wondering why we had a conversation about pickles.

Taylor Mali has been known to say that the 8th grade mind is a beautiful thing. Four and a half months into the job, I have to say I agree. Particularly during those times - in this case, a simple conversation about pickles - when I watch the mysteries of the world unfold in a moment of slow, beautiful awakening. I swear, if you listen closely enough, you can just about hear the petals unfurl.

Student: You make your own vegetable?
Me: Well, I can some vegetables. It's a process where you take fresh vegetables and you put them in glass jars, in very hot water, and you get all the extra air out of the jar so that the vegetables will stay good without being kept in the fridge.
Student: What kind of vegetables do you can?
Me: This year I only did beets, but I've done onions and all kinds of other things before.
Student: What do they taste like?
Me: Well, the easiest way to do it is to pickle them, which is where you put vegetables in vinegar and let them soak up the brine. So they become pickled onions, and pickled beets.
Student: But then ... don't they all taste alike?
Me: No, they keep their original vegetable flavor, but more vinegar-y.
Student: Why don't they all just taste like pickles?
Me: Well, the vinegar changes the taste, but a pickled onion doesn't taste like a pickled beet.
Student: But ... I don't get it.
Me: Ah. Ok. You've eaten a cucumber before, right?
Student: Yeah...
Me: And you've eaten a pickle, right?
Student: Yeah ...
Me: Did they taste the same?
Student: No ... oh. OH. Ohhhhh.

The trick is that you have to be listening, really listening. When I'm thinking about my own train of thought in the conversation, or what I have to teach next period, or all that I have to do after school that day, I miss these conversations. I miss the chance to hear what is not being said. I miss the opportunity to help the mystery unfurl. And then I end up with a conversation that is just about the conversation itself, instead of a conversation about pickles that is really a discovery of wonder in the world.

January 11, 2012

She also wanted to know how pickles are made.

quiet student: What's the high school like?
me: Well, it's a lot like 8th grade, but there's a little less support.
quiet student: How so?
me: Like, if you don't do your homework, no one's going to track you down about it - you just get a 0.
quiet student: Oh. So what's college like?
me: Way better. You have more freedom to choose classes that interest you, and you can go more in depth into questions.
quiet student: Did you go to college?
me: Yes, I went to the kind of college where most of my classes were seminars, not lectures. I think you'd like that kind of college too.
quiet student: What's the difference?
me: A seminar is a discussion, like our "Socratic Seminar" reading groups. You sit around the table and have discussions about what you've read or what you've studied. In a lecture, which I try not to use very often, you sit in the auditorium and take notes while a professor talks about the books you've read or the material you're studying.
quiet student: So they're two different kinds of teaching styles?
me: Yes.
quiet student: So ... in a lecture, you're taking notes on the professor's opinion about the book?
me: Well, yes.
quiet student: But ... ok, but what's the point in that?

And then we talked about pickles.

January 10, 2012

"lionize" is not the same thing as "limousine"

Or what my students now call the "Top Ten Persuasive Essay Spell-Checker FAILS."

10. idea ≠ ID

As in, “Using a fake idea, he bought key ingredients to make bombs.”

9. hat ≠ hate

“Lizzie Borden was aggressive to her step-mother, showing how she must hat her.”

8. trail ≠ trial

“The outcome of the trail was not guilty …”

7. clammed ≠ claimed

“Lizzie Borden clammed she was in the barn.”

6. defiantly ≠ definitely

“Lizzie Borden is defiantly guilty.”

5. lionize ≠ limousine

“OJ Simpson was late for his lionize pick-up.”

4. tying ≠ trying

“Now, as for what the police were all probably tying to say …”

3. persecuted ≠ prosecuted

“Timothy McVeigh was charged and persecuted.”

2. observed ≠ absurd

“The ‘not guilty’ verdict is observed!”

1. hallucinogenic ≠ hallucinating

“The children who accused the women were hallucinogenic.”