My daughter Nellie is a fifth-grader at a public school in the outer suburbs
of New York City. Last night she asked me to help her with her homework.
It was a “special” exercise, one of those propagated by New York State to
all its schools (so this is my State assigning this problem, not Nellie’s
teachers). The exercise consisted of a short prose passage on a sheet of
paper, with ten blank spaces. There is an accompanying list of words. You
have to find the word most suitable for each blank. Here is our solution–a
joint effort by father and daughter. The capitalized words are the ones
from the list that we thought best fitted the text. All the rest of the
text–and I have reproduced it PRECISELY as printed–is from New York State.
“When the day came for me to set a DESTINATION to travel, I knew that I had
to plan my COURSE carefully. I was so ecited and nervous, I felt as though
I would SEVER in two.
I know that I am very ACCURATE when it comes to finding my NAVIGATION.
I felt REVIVED when I started the engine. After this test, I would be able
to fly by myself. I took off into the wind. My plane was unsteady due to
the strong GALE.
Suddenly my plane’s left wing started to chip off. I was in great DESPAIR.
When I looked at the wing, I noticed that it had started to DETERIORATE.
Thankfully, the wind started to clamed down and I flew safely to the ground.
I felt great JUBILATION when I got my wings.”
We got the exercise done as best we could, but it took me a while to clame