Dear Old Grouch

As we were having a last day chat on the carpet about the remembered events of the year, Madisyn exclaimed, “We need to write to Old Grouch about our words we found!”  I confess I’d kind of forgotten, but everyone seemed to agree.  The ongoing investigation was not in itself hugely important, save for regularly reinforcing our grasp of various graphemes.  What struck me was that the children have never met Old Grouch (my dear friend and mentor), have seen no photo.  And yet, his presence in our class was, if somewhat mythological, at the same time real and enduring.  So, we sat about on the carpet with my laptop on my knees, wrote the letter together and posted it–quickest post I’ll ever do!  And so I will add my own thank you to Monsieur Grouch (wherever he may be…).

Dear Old Grouch,

A few months ago, you gave us a challenge.  You asked us to see if we could find words that were made only of digraphs or trigraphs with no single letter graphemes.  We have been keeping  a list, called “Words for Old Grouch.”  Here is what we have found so far:










But the most amazing word we found is the last name of one of our students.  (We know that names don’t always follow spelling rules, but they often do).  Her lovely last name comes from Cree, one of the native languages of Northern Ontario.  It has four digraphs!!


Today is the last day of school!  Happy holiday!  Thank you for helping us to learn with your questions.

Your friends in Grade One,

Cameron, Akira, Orestis, Marjuri, Nate, Olivia, Merrick, Nautica, Hayden, Jadis, Azylynn, Ethan, Reyad, Abdul, Ahmed, Daniel, Darcy, Deanna, Sophie, Shilo, Madisyn and Mr. Caldwell


3 thoughts on “Dear Old Grouch

  1. Great follow up and very cool sir name exploration! Mary

    >________________________________ > From: smallhumansthinkbig >To: >Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 1:52 PM >Subject: [New post] Dear Old Grouch > > > > >Skot Caldwell posted: “Dear Old Grouch, A few months ago, you gave us a challenge. You asked us to see if we could find words that were made only of digraphs or trigraphs with no single letter graphemes. We have been keeping a list, called “Words for Old Grouch.” Here is” >

  2. Dear Class One and your Preceptor,

    Congratulations on your collection of spellings that contain only digraphs.

    If you were still at at school, I would suggest a new exercise for you: write some whole sentences that have NO digraphs and ONLY single-letter graphemes. It’s not only VERY difficult, but the results are also usually very boring!

    Mr Caldwell suggest that my presence might be be “somewhat mythological”. I’m rather pleased with that; in its proper sense (rather than its usual rather watered-down conversational usage) ‘myth’ can be more significant than superficial appearance!

    • Significant, yes!! A Titan of coherence!

      (Any digraphs there?)

      A wonderful challenge I am sure will be taken up over the summer by some of our detectives.

      By the way, one of the other challenges you gave was to find another word like ‘knight’ that contained all three types of grapheme: single letter, digraph and trigraph. You were able to think of ‘thatch’, but we did not find another. Then–as these things clearly haunt my dreams–I woke up with the word ‘though’! I believe it fits the bill.


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