Labels… often a very sticky subject!  In fact, one of my pet peeves is the placing of price stickers on the front of teaching posters.  It takes a lot of time and effort to remove the adhesive without ruining the illustration on the poster!  What kind of clerk would intentionally place the sticker in such a position?  I guess someone with a grudge or a score to settle!

                Labels are also an intricate part of my classroom each year.  I use various ones to help organize the classroom materials for my young students.  Usually, color coding makes recovery even quicker.  The use of color coding is especially helpful for teaching students about steps in a process or making it easier to see patterns in math numeration, grammar, and sentence structure.

                For years, I have taught teachers not to label their reading groups with the idea of clustering students of equal abilities or needs.  My reason was that any child would see the labels such as, jets, rockets, and tanks as ability markers.  (We live in a military community.)  Once such labels are given to the class, students often allow their abilities to meet those expectations.  What a waste of mental powers!  Far better results occurred when we merely grouped students for a skill instruction, and then moved to different skills and different groupings as needed!

                One of the strangest sights I ever saw took place at our local Walmart as I was shopping for theschool’sgroceries.  A manager was literally showing a young worker how to correct the work he had just finished in the can goods aisle.  I looked at the rows of vegetables in front of us, and there it was: all the cans were neatly placed on each shelf…with labels all facing the rear!  Instead of finding the usual label identifying the contents, we were looking at rows of serving sizes and directions for use labels!

                And now, my number one pet peeve about labels… the undecipherable picture labels printed on all moving parts of my car’s dashboard!  No wonder it is harder to teach first graders how to read these days.  We use letters and words to give meaning to students.  Yet, our manufacturers have decided that the majority of the drivers are illiterates!   My question then is, “How do they pass a driver’s exam if they can’t read?”  Yes, I realize there are many languages spoken in the world.  If that is the underlying cause for the little nondescript pictures, then why can’t we order the language labels as easily as our young drivers order the precise wheels they desire?!