Heidi April 25th, 2008
“Billy is doing really well with his numbers,” the kindergarten teacher kindly told the mother sitting across from her at a parent-teacher conference, “But he’s struggling with his shapes.”
“Oh really?” I asked, leaning forward to look at the assessment sheet the teacher was showing the mother.
I was the speech-language pathologist at Billy’s school and he was seeing me for articulation therapy. So I was at his parent-teacher conference to report on his progress in therapy.
And to be honest, his progress with me had nothing to do with whether or not he knew his shapes. (We were working on sounds like /l/ and /r/ and “th”). But for some strange reason, I was really interested to see which shapes he’d missed.
I pointed at one she’d marked incorrect and asked with surprise, “He didn’t know diamond?”
The kindergarten teacher looked at me and said, “Actually, it’s not a diamond. It’s a rhombus.”
I stared at her.
“It’s not a diamond?” I asked slowly.
“No,” the teacher shook her head, “If a student says it’s a diamond, that’s wrong. They have to say it’s a rhombus.”
I stared at her again.
You’ve gotta be kidding me! I thought with disbelief, What five-year-old kid knows that’s a rhombus?!? I didn’t even know it’s a rhombus!
The teacher continued on with the meeting, but I was still stuck on “rhombus”.
I seriously can’t believe it…..
We can’t say diamond anymore?!
Who on earth decided that?!
And why didn’t anybody ever tell me?
I mean, I remember learning about a rhombus in geometry, but they never said you couldn’t call it a diamond anymore!
And once geometry was over, I never called it a rhombus again!
I seriously can’t believe this…..
Six months later, I was doing therapy with a little preschool girl.
“Okay, Kaycee, I’m going to tell you a story,” I said holding up a picture, “You’re going to listen and then tell it back to me. Okay?”
“Twinkle, twinkle, little star! How I wonder what you are!” Kaycee started singing with great enthusiasm as she gazed up at the wall.
I smiled to myself as she continued singing.
“Up above the world so high!…..”
Kaycee had a social language disorder and we were working on her staying on topic.
“That’s a nice song,” I gently interrupted her, “But it’s not time to sing right now, it’s time to listen to my story.”
“… Like a rhombus in the sky!” Kaycee continued singing.
I was about to redirect her again when I suddenly froze.
“What did you just say?!?” I asked with shock.
My abrupt question caught her off guard. Kaycee broke character and looked into my eyes.
“Say that again,” I said quickly while I had her attention.
She turned away and looked up at the ceiling as she sang again, “Up above the world so high! Like a rhombus in the sky!”
I couldn’t help the laugh that escaped my lips.
You’ve gotta be kidding me!
Since when did they change the words to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?!
And since when did a four-year-old little girl know it’s a rhombus and I didn’t!
What a sad, sad day…..
So, ever since then, I’ve been painfully aware of this shape and what people call it:
I often look at people and wonder, Do you know it’s not a diamond?
And in an effort to mend my ways and bring up a generation smarter than myself, I’ve been teaching dear Bubbers all about the rhombus and how it’s not called diamond anymore.
I even bought a book about shapes to help me in my quest to teach him what’s right.
I got it at a second-hand store for kids.
And if you turn to the middle of the book it says….. Hey, wait a minute!!
That’s not right!
So maybe this book is too old and came out before the whole “rhombus era” began…..
Aha! Here’s a new highly acclaimed “Melissa & Doug” puzzle. This one will be right!
Holy toledo, what’s going on here?!?
Don’t these toys know what’s expected of kindergarteners these days?!
Okay, this is my last resort…..
Brand new, off-the-shelf, “Lift and Look” book. This is the one. I can just feel it…..
I want my money back!
p.s. Charming and I did waaaay too much research on this whole rhombus vs. diamond debate last night and found out all sorts of interesting information…
So just for fun (and Happy Friday!), here’s a true/false test of some things we learned.
1) All diamonds are rhombuses.
2) The plural of rhombus is rhombuses.
3) All rhombuses are diamonds.
4) It’s still okay to use the term “diamond”.
5) The shape in the picture below is not a diamond or a rhombus.
6) A square is a rhombus.
7) A rectangle is a rhombus.
8) It’s okay to substitute “rhombus” for “diamond” in Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
[Stay tuned! Answers will be posted on Monday.]