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A New Meaning of the Phrase Cloud 9

Oh, the joys of teaching.

You never know what you’re going to hear.

Such was the case this past week as my students delved into figurative language.

One thing that those who do not teach struggling readers may not understand is how superficial the knowledge is about language.

Take idioms, for instance.

Before I started teaching Intensive Reading, I took it for granted that my students knew the meaning of such phrases as “cat got your tongue” and “let the cat out of the bag.”

Not so, my friends!

We played a Kagan game called Fan and Pick where the kids take turns holding out pre-printed/cut/folded cards to people at their table.  The kids take turns reading the questions on the cards (“What is the meaning of the idiom ‘nose to the grindstone?'”).  Another person tries to answer and the fourth person gives a response to the answer once it has either been supplied.  The roles rotate, so everyone has time to fan the cards, ask the questions, answer, and provide feedback.

I had enough cards for each table to have an ample supply, and I was actually surprised, in a pleasant way, when the kids enjoyed this game.

I walked around and listened as they tried to coach each other with clues.

It was interesting to hear them try to justify why a saying didn’t make sense as they tried to connect the literal and figurative meanings of the words.

So, with all of that said, we had an interesting discussion in one of my classes when they asked about the meaning to the phrase “On cloud 9.”

After I explained the meaning, the kids said, “No, that ain’t the meaning, Mrs. AuburnChick.”

So I, being the great teacher facilitator that I am (insert rolled eyes here), asked, “Please explain what you mean.”

One student told me that it meant that you were high on drugs.

My jaw dropped.

I looked around, and most of the students in the class were nodding their heads.

I kid you not.

I’ve gotta tell you that in some ways, I led a sheltered life when I was growing up.

This doesn’t mean that I did not go through some things that nobody should ever go through, but those things did not involve knowing people who drank excessively or did drugs.  If anyone did, I was oblivious, which probably wouldn’t surprise those who know me best.

😉

I don’t know if I’ll be able to use this phrase without thinking of the new meaning my students imparted upon my innocent mind that day.

What about you?  Have you ever heard the phrase used in this context?

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2 Responses

  1. No, but it doesn’t surprise me that it has been reinvented.

  2. No, I was like you, I thought it meant like in a good place, a happy place, a touch of heaven on earth. I like our thoughts better!

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