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Taking the Life out of Language Realize the Real Lies, With Your Own Eyes Ditmas IS 62 - 801 & 601 Barry Kevorkian, Principal

Taking the Life out of Language Realize the Real Lies, With Your Own Eyes

Ditmas IS 62 - 801 & 601 Barry Kevorkian, Principal

Team Work David Liotta, Social Studies Educator Dr. Rose Reissman, Literacy Consultant Joey Leone, Manuscript Preparation Ismael Batista, Photographer, Manuscript Pre-production Futurekids Production Design

Student Editorial Team K’la Rivers Rachel Rouchon

Student Arts Directors Ezra Singh James Campbell

Student Production Oversight Kenza Barbar Nabilia Hoque

Cover Design Ezra Sing –Artist Statement This is a picture of Euphemism killing the dictionary-language.

Jim Campbell-Artist Statement If people are not speaking the plain truth, it is as though they are burning books.

Student Artists 601 Julia Prokop

Contributors 801 Kenza Babar Jim Campbell K’la Rivers Rachel Rouchon Ezra Singh Sarika Narein Nabila Hoque

Contributors 601 Mohammad Alam Mensah Amu David Attilus Noah Bird Bovien Bogle Yeimy Campos Faith Clarke Adama Diallo Melinda Elezovic Grullon Espinal Christina Gangadyal Veronica Gavrilova Richard Guerin Tatiana Guzman

Aida Harrop Bushra Iylas Amal Khalid Arisdelsy Martinez Celine Matthews Kenneth Persaud Julia Prokop Christian Rivera Elizabeth Rodriguez Gabrielle Santana Keilah Stevens Sean Tsyganovsky Juan Velez Jade Whelan Ramia Zulfiqar




First Word Foreword

Kenza Babar, Student

David Keller Trevaskis , Esquire Founder of LEAP, Past President Pennsylvania Social Studies Council


David Liotta, Liotta on Language

Chapter 1

Euphemisms in Education- So sophisticated

Chapter 2

Food , Glorious Food?- The lies we sell


Euphemisms emerge in headlines-your lies, our truth


The News

Chapter 3 LIFO/ Highly Effective Chapter 4

Relationships- Student to Student

Chapter 5

Nuclear Disaster- Euphemisms to erode fear The words we use to comfort

Chapter 6

Humane care for animals- Euphemisms for stopping euthanasia

Last Word

David Attilus, Nabila Hoque, Kenza Babar

Teacher Resources Bios/Photos Student Reflections

on the

Publishing Process

Literacy Consultant’s Reflections Alignment To Common Core ELA

on this


Literacy Lens

Dr. Rose Reissman

History/Social Studies Content

First Word Kenza Babar Euphemisms- Celebrating Cole Porter-Anything Goes!! Times have changed. Minds have changed. Words are spoken just like an act On a stage Upgraded down or up, In life, anything goes Your words are an obvious lie Yet I can tell you try. Like anything goes But oh, how it shows, I know, you know any one knowsAnything goes.

Foreword As both a law related educator and a lawyer, I have always been highly sensitive to the nuance of language. In some ways, law, citizenship and participation, all rely on effective, truthful, and respectful use of language to assure equity and equality for all. Generally, detailed study and focus on nuanced language use and its emotional, legal and social ramifications is done in high school, college semantics,pre-law and of course law school. It is refreshing that Social Studies Educator David Liotta has begun this much needed awareness and study of euphemisms on the middle school level. Reviewing the contents and range of the topics-food, education, LIFO, bullying, nuclear disaster, and humane care, I am impressed by how Mr. Liotta with the support of Dr. Reissman, integrated print and digital media plus student centered issues (bullying, teachers being let go, nuclear fears) in the context of history, social studies citizenship education and document study. I would hope that other social studies educator use this motivating format and captivating theme to begin early on to engage students in being reflective and critical listeners/readers and audiences for burgeoning language messages that mix fact, fiction and persuasive euphemisms to conceal negative realities. Certainly the students involved in developing this book project have become sensitive, alert and informed citizens who will weigh the messages broadcast, printed and presented in multimedia against facts. I applaud Mr. Liotta’s innovation and sharp focus on language use in the context of Social Studies and American History middle school education. Sincerely, David Keller Trevaskis Founder of Leap-Law Related Education and Participation Pennsylvania Bar Association –Pro Bono Coordinator Past President of the Pennsylvania Social Studies Council

Introduction The idea for this innovative unit began as I listened to and read the coverage of Presidential Election 2008. I heard the words-“change, hope, moving forward, taking charge.” I noted that they had a positive ring, but what did these euphemisms really convey? Where was the “real beef,” substance within these words? I feel as an individual that the general public are divided and confused because of deliberate cloudy –what I term “loose” language. There is individual knowledge of the truth and mutual knowledge , which are often at odds. In general, politicians from all parties and media specialists often use euphemisms to cloud or cover up unpleasant but necessary truths. Unpleasant as these truths are, the public needs to confront them, rather than be dissuaded from admitting they exist. I decided with the support of Dr. Reissman to alert and sensitize some of my eight grade and my sixth graders to the nuances of language as posited in the Common Core Standards for Social Studies/History and ELA . Of course, both I and Dr. Reissman, realized that any study of euphemisms had to be grounded in the students’ lives and immediate issues that directly affected them. So I began with food- a particular arena in which I was upset by euphemism frequency. I focused students on words commonly used in labeling-“gourmet,” “hearty,” “tangy,” “healthy,” “nutritious” “all natural (but processed)” and other similar label locutions. From there both Dr. Reissman and I let the headlines dictate the student interests and used their engagement in rapidly emerging stories of budget cuts, teacher layoffs, bullying, and Japan nuclear crisis, as a platform for student responses. As a social studies educator and a citizen, I am dedicated to making certain that my students are alert to and able to distinguish truth from fiction and to separate fact from innuendo. I also feel students are engaged by project based work that hones additional skills beyond subject content, such as publishing, graphic design, and critical media viewing which this project did. Most of all, I hope that many of these students will just not be uncritical media information consumers, but sift through euphemisms to determine reality and responsibility. David Liotta Social Studies Educator Videographer

Chapter 1- Euphemisms



Mr. Liotta and Dr. Reissman felt that most accessible way for students to begin their study of the nuanced use of words reflected by Euphemisms was to focus on how they are now used in the field of education. Students were directed to a bank of euphemisms, they had already encountered in their dealings with and written communications from teachers and administrators. These words included: underachievers, over achievers, not realizing your academic potential, not attaining yearly progress, unengaged, unfocused, disconnected, not caught up with the material, not involved in the content, not meeting rigorous academic standards, lacking in background, not having attained or been exposed to pre-requisite skills instruction, making strides, facilitator, in danger of not progressing to the next grade level, and potentially to be invited to the summer success program. Students were asked how they as students reacted to these euphemisms. Would they prefer plain talk about failing and being left behind to “making strides”?? What use of language, plain talk or English would better help the student?

Ends Elezovic 801 A Vote for Plain Talk I think there should be no such thing as euphemisms. Why? Well if I’m failing and I get a letter saying I’m about to fail, I’m understand what that means. I’ll change that. But if I get a letter saying you are”not meeting the required criteria;” I’m going to think that I’ll stop being badly behaved. If I do so, maybe I’ll pass. So if I were told straight up, I would fix myself up to pass. But if they use complicated words, I’m going to think like it never happened. That’s why I think we should get rid of euphemisms.

Rachel Rouchon-801 Rachel played with Euphemisms in her poetry Catch Up Loser You maybe an underachiever, or a not sufficient, an underperformer, or a miss unspoken. Whatever you are, you need to catch up. You may lack background or basic prerequisite skills. All I am saying is you need to engage. Start to focus. I am not trying to be mean, I am using Euphemism. After the class reviewed a news article detailing with euphemisms about the impact of budget cuts on the number of classroom licensed educators and the cost effectiveness of having instruction delivered on line in a computer lab setting run by an adult facilitator; Rachel envisioned this scene.

Rachel Rouchon SSHHH!!!

Rachel Rouchon Facilitator!!! Take Two

We have a facilitator It’s like our babysitter. He sits and watches as Our brains get Detached… We type. Our hands and our Eyes will burn For six times a day. That’s a waste by The way.

As we lay in the room With silence and hush No teacher or staff that’s On our back… No talking or whispering But all you hear is the Click clack of my Type…

Our facilitator is Our babysitter.

There’s no rug, there’s no Talk of the sound of the Chalk…there’s no board Of the scream, of the steam But like I said, as we lie In the room With silence and hush No teacher of staff That’s on our back No talking or whispering All you hear is the Click clack of my Type…

Ezra Sing used his graphic and literacy talents to create this material. His artist’s statement In my picture I chose to inscribe “Euphemism” into Education. I colored “Education” in alternating colors with pattern: Primary>Complementary>Primary>complementary . . . Primary> Primary. I deliberately chose to leave the “. . .ION” out of education to express how students are left out . Like an atomic atom, where there are no equivalent amount of charges. There is no equivalent amount of charges. There is no equivalent of “Positive,” “Negative,” or “Neutral” for students in the educational system as such.

Chapter 2 - Food, Glorious Food Taco Bell

is using false advertising

when it calls its food 'beef,' according to lawsuit BY PHILIP CAULFIELD DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER Tuesday, January 25, 2011 Where's the beef? Not at Taco Bell, apparently. A law firm is claiming that the fast food chain is using false advertising when it says its Mexican delicacies are filled with "ground beef" or "seasoned ground beef." In fact, the lawsuit claims, the "taco meat filling" used by Taco Bell contains is only about 35% beef, with binders, extenders, preservatives, additives and other agents making up the other 65%.

Another way to make euphemisms immediately accessible for student review was to point them in the direction of food labels and packaging on their favorite foods. They examined word and phrase marketing use to consider the extent to which these words were actual factual plain English descriptions or empty euphemisms. Words used in food marketing and labels: Real food, natural, flavorful, artificial trans fat, responsibly grown, organic, processed, 100% natural, whole grain, real food, packaged food, delicious, Our students examined the labels of their favorite snack foods and considered some news controversies.

K’la Rivers Lies

Rachel Rouchon False Labeling

You say beef, that’s straight bologna. You say “100% natural” I say “only half.” “What happens”?, ask fans. What happen to quality? Don’t you want my money? Don’t I deserve the best? Give it a rest You’re not the best!

It’s not what you say it is But it tastes like it. You lied to my face, And now I’m sick. I went to the hospital With food poisoning.

Chapter 3 - LIFO/Highly Effective Governor


issues a



bill to weigh merit in teacher layoffs

By BRENDAN SCOTT and FREDRIC U. DICKER Post Correspondents Last Updated: 10:43 AM, March 2, 2011 Posted: 12:45 AM, March 2, 2011 ALBANY -- Gov. Cuomo dramatically waded into the explosive "last in, first out" tenure fight last night with a compromise plan to ax bad teachers -- minutes after Mayor Bloomberg's own reform bill barely squeaked through the Republican Senate but faced certain defeat in the Democratic Assembly. Students were highly motivated by the controversy of how teachers would have to be let go to satisfy, imaginary or actual NYC budget deficits. They noted that LIFO-Last IN First Fired- a Euphemism often used in many job sectors and Cuomo’s Highly Effective, Effective, Developing, Ineffective- criteria for layoffs- were actually great examples of Euphemisms driving powerful daily issues. The students were quite passionate in their opinions about this. Rachel Rouchon Rachel Rouchon scored a primary source interview with Beatrice Desapio UFT Chapter Leader United Federation of Teachers. Rachel posed these questions and Ms. Desapio responded.

Do you agree with Mayor? I don’t agree with the mayor on his position about school budget. He keeps telling people that he has to lay off teachers. I believe that goes against seniority rules, and our contract. The mayor keeps on saying last one hired are best teachers. That is not supported to by available data. I believe senior teachers have more experience and expertise in helping children.

Rachel Rouchon response: I also agree with this interview because, there’s no need to lay off any teachers, I think this is a scare tactic. Rachel Rouchon Plain Words LIFO, NO WAY Rating a teacher based on words and years taught is not right. The teachers should be rated on how they are able to connect with the children. To teach well is not determined by how many years the teacher has served the system, but by how much excitement or understanding the teacher imparts to the students. Sarika Narein LIFO, YES!! You should fire the last teachers hired, first. The reason I say that is because some teachers are not ready to teach kids. Some kids are going to be badly behaved and some are going to be well behaved. Veteran teachers can deal best with them.

Aida Harrop CUOMO , OKAY

Kenneth Persaud LIFO Poetry

I think Cuomo’s plan is better in many ways. Cuomo thinks some teachers should be rated, highly effective, effective, and developing, and ineffective.

Last in First Out, teachers Going all out.

Amina Alam A Vote for Cuomo

4,600 many More to Go. Let’s call It the LIFO.

I think Cuomo’s plan is much better. I think this because Cuomo’s does not use “last in first out” He also said he would create a new station wide evaluation system, listing a few rating like highly, effective, developing or ineffective. On the other hand, he applied this plan to all school districts in the state. However, he said that it would go into effect for the 2011-12 school year. I think Bloomberg’s point of view is wrong. That is way I approve of Cuomo’s plan. Veronica Gavrilov Cuomo ‘s Plan Better Deal I think that Cuomo’s plan is better in many ways. One way his plan is better is that he doesn’t use last in first out. He would also create a new statewide evaluation system, listing four ratings. The rating are highly effective, effective, developing and also ineffective. He also applies it to all school districts in the state. Bloomberg only does it in New York City. Cuomo’s plan would go into the effect for the 2011-12 school year. Bloomberg wants to do it immediately. Elizabeth Rodriguez Gender Focus- Males Better In my opinion, I think that a male teacher is more effective because every time he comes in. he starts yelling. Then he teaches everything well. Ramia Zulfiqar A vote for saving new teacher jobs I think Cuomo’s plan is better. I think so because Cuomo said he would create a new statewide evaluation system. He highlighted: four ratings-highly affective, affective, developing or ineffective. I like this plan better that Mayor Bloomberg’s because Mayor Bloomberg uses “last in, first out.” That means that the new teachers are going to be fired first.

New teachers Going in, new Teacher going Out. Seniority in For many Years. Gets Paid all the Way So now. . . Why can’t We call it, The LIFO? Bushra Ilyas Vote for the Male of the Teacher Staff-Gender Speak In my opinion, I think that a male teacher is effective because every time they come in they start to yell loudly. They aren’t playful like most female teachers. Mayram Jhangir-801 Layoffs- The Consequences for the Classroom Are you scared? I am. Do you know why? I can tell you there is No help I get. No Attention in class now, Most of my teachers are laid off, Well, you might not care, But I DO!!.

Mayram Jhangir New Teachers, We Need You

Keilah Stevens Vote for the Veteran

What do I think of last in first out? I think that half of it is true. New teachers should keep their jobs and not the veterans, because they know new material. On the other hand, old teachers know how school is run after all those years.

We should fire the new teachers because the old teachers know what they’re doing, they have been working there for a long time. If a new teacher comes to teach the class, she’s going to need time to do her job like about a half of a month to do what they need to do. The veteran teacher knows his/her way around the building and can deal with students’ attitudes and their capacities.

Jeimy Campos How Layoffs Could Affect Us Getting Personal About My Teachers The teacher I don’t want to get fired is Ms. Purtill because she helps us out. She also is very nice and caring. Another teacher I don’t want them to fire is Mr. Parham. Gabrielle Santana Teachers Judged by life Last in first Out New teachers Need a second Chance . Old teachers Will need To retire. At the right Age. New teacher didn’t Have a real Chance To teach. Rate on quality. Rate on effectiveness. Rate on ability. Rate on reliability. Rate on the quality. Rate with good purpose. Tatiana Guzman Memo to the Mayor, Don’t Fire Mrs. Purtill, the best teacher, Mr. Parham and Liotta. I would not like that old these teachers get fired because they are the best they are funny. They teach very well. If every good teacher were to get fired, we wouldn’t the opportunity to learn anything.

Arisdelsy Martinez Go with Cuomo I think that Cuomo’s plan is better in many ways. I think so because the teachers should be rated, the new teachers can be better than the old teachers. If we fire the new, good teachers, the kids won’t learn very well. Cuomo does not use last in first out (LIFO) he leaves that untouched. He rates teachers as highly effective, effective developing, and ineffective.

Celine Matthews Get Rid of the Veterans In my opinion I think that the old workers, who work for a manager of a bank should be gone. It’s because they get paid pretty well. They have been working they’re for a long time. There are people out there who try to make money. They work really hard for it but they never receive it. Phina Amu Veterans Needed We should kick out the new teacher because he/she doesn’t really have a good chance of doing real well in teaching or helping the students in the class. Maybe they don’t really like kids. They want to just get the money, but the old teacher has more experience and knows what happens in the school’s policy. Amaya Elizabeth & Grullon Espinal Memo to the Mayor- Experience Counts Save Ms. Purtill, Please!! Ms. Purtill is in my homeroom. I feel like Mr. Purtill should not get fire from her job because Ms. Purtill has loads of teaching experience. Ms. Purtill is a great teacher. Ms. Purtill also know how to control students. I learned many things about ELA. I learned about the grammar case perfect from her.

Sean Tsyganovsky Life/Highly effective-a Mathematician’s Approach


Mathematically speaking, I disagree with the LIFO because the senior teachers get twice the pay check. Which in this case, firing one senior can get two of three new teacher, Instead of laying of 4,600 new teachers, you can lay off 2,300 old teachers. If you can get the new teachers to become efficient, you are saving tremendous funds.

I think the last in first out rule is a good idea because the new teachers don’t have the experience to teach. New teachers want to make a good impression, but they may fail.

David Attilus LIFO- NO WAY-

You gave us a new teacher. We’re going to eat her. She’s not going to like us. Cause we’re going to make a fuss. By the end of the day We’re going to trade her for One cent and dime candy.

Saluting Mr. Parham What I could say is that one I think that the teachers that are older, should be fired. I would say that because sooner or later ,you are going to have to fire them because they are too old to teach. They have to be fired or retired. A highly effective teacher is Mr. Parham because he encourages kids to learn.He wouldn’t move to another topic until we get it in our head. I could say is that teachers just hired, should not be fired because they need a chance to prove themselves to the students. You never know the teacher that just came might have a lot of experience from another school, but you probably might not know how much experience they could have. Last I could say that the older teachers should be fired because they need a break from being teaching. Amal Khalide Teachers need to be Effective Cuomo’s plan is better because teachers should be ranked by how effective a teacher is. A teacher should also be effective on students. A teacher should understand what he/she is doing before they actually teach it to students. A teacher’s work should make sense to students. Melinda Elezovic LIFO is NOT FAIR I think the rating a teacher is a better system. I say this because in L.I.F.O the newest person might be more highly effective that an old teacher that is ineffective. It would be fair to the teacher that is just hired. Maybe that person that was cut, but was a better teacher. This is why rating a teacher is a much better way to fire a teacher, L.I.F.O isn’t fair.

Rachel Rouchon Bye Bye, New Teacher

Faith Clarke Keep the Highly Effective Teachers In my opinion, I think that the governor should not listen to LIFO line.. I believe that the teacher who has been here the longest should be fired, but I also believe that some of the new teachers are young, rude and inexperienced. I think that you should do highly effective rather than LIFO. I have a highly effective male teacher that I think should stay. Kenza Babar She’s someone special She just got her job. Yet they’re letting her go. She’s someone special. She teaches me, my siblings, and them. They, the kids, who need her help. Yet they’re throwing her talent away. It’s not about the pay but about What she lives forHer work is what she loves. But she’s being rejected. For some reason It’s not fair It’s her life and her job.

Chapter 4


elationships at any age and particularly in tween and teen years are hard to manage. Students found issues of bullying, verbal arguments, insults, and hurting peers were covered in the news as well as in their own lives;

Words: bully, insult, misspoke, attack, tween perp, misguided, misdirected aggression, overactive, not cognizant of his/her actions, underage, isolate, childish, overly aggressive, acting out, verbally attacked, misunderstanding, miscommunication. Social Relationship euphemisms; short of stature, height challenged, robust, below average, uneven height, too dissimilar

New York



arrested for attack on


female classmate

NEW YORK | Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:11pm EDT (Reuters) - A 12-year-old schoolboy was arrested for a possible hate crime after he attacked a Muslim student and attempted to tear off her religious headscarf at school in New York, authorities said on Thursday.

We explored how difficult it is to tell it like it-in plain English- in terms of social relationships. Rachel Rouchon contemplated how to use euphemisms to defuse the pain of rejection based on a height differences (Obviously this situation has not been experienced by Tom Cruise or Mayor Bloomberg.)

Rachel Rouchon Not up to height… At the water fountain, as I waited for a drink, I felt a tap-light like a baby, a pup. Looking down, I saw a young boy. He looked me in my eyes.

I watched my words. I said: “You’re just not up to my height. You’re below average. The height difference between us is too great. However, your proposition is tempting. You’re just not really for me.”

He asked for a date. He smiled in reply and said: “Your euphemism is just too, too true.”

K’La River You’re not my height. You’re not my height, This just can’t be. The height difference is too big For you and me. You’re below average, We just don’t fit. Our heights are uneven For this to work. Rachel Rouchon Bully’s Wow!! You spit in my face, And curse my looks. You tell with your lungs, Don’t you think you’re wrong. When you turn your back I laugh out, you just Hating because you Want what I have. Rachel Rouchon Recognizing the many faces of bullying-how to use euphemisms to defuse bullying A Modest Proposal- Let’s be friends You’re not a friend, you’re being Verbally attacked. You’re not a kid, you’re childish. You’re not foolish, you’re threatened. Just stop with your way, and open your mouth. I know you’re isolated. So just be nice. We’ll all be your friends. And smile in your face. If you need help, We’ll go out our separate ways. We know you’re “ misguided.” K’La Rivers Dried on the Inside You were my friend That was long ago I did what’s right I guess I’m wrong

My moral consent was purely right But to want to lie and fight You blocked me away Never spoke again. I held it in no one cares, I handle it well. You would’ve said. But I dried on the inside Like old bread. Rachel Rouchon You kicked me You punished me You snuffed me And laughed I cried, and Whined, trying To find my Way out, I called For help, I tried To protect, my Honor and pride But you have So much fear.

Stude nt paren s examine d ts old to brought a a story wh er disrup the po tive fi e the lice s The a v t at rti e Engli cle and ed ion for disc year sh tha itorial iplinin t the said i g. and n pa n eglec tful to rents were plain the st br s ation house ing their c tupid hild to .

Kenza Babar Discipline 101- Between Parent and Child It’s called discipline Not a joke! A parent can say no, But putting a burden on a child for life Is not right, All this does is start a big fight A child’s mind should expand, And not be ripped up into a strand. All I can say is don’t listen to What they have to say! Caring and stupidity Are two different things, Caring and stupidity Are two different things, Caring is when you think and take action on But stupidity is when you act without Thinking and cause a bad reaction! I believe the parents shouldn’t be charged with stupidity. Anonymous Plain English Relationship Tale Me: Hi. He: Hey. Me: I like you, I just don’t know how to show it He: I know. He: Sometimes I get mad at you because of my own problems. Me: I know you are not perfect but I like you. He: I know you not the prettiest girl, but your personality outshines them all Me: You’re not the sexiest guy, but you’re one of the nicest. You’re from Jamaica He: I can’t wait to see you smile later Arisdelsy Martinez Response to a Student’s Being Attacked I think the article was sad. I think that because an innocent girl was physically harmed. If I were attacked, I would tell a teacher or a principal to help. If I was emotionally hurt, I would see a guidance counselor. I was once bullied as a kid for being “new.” I eventually made friends with the bullies and they stopped.

Jeimy Campos Speak Plainly and Get Help I think that the people should have said it straight up in plain English. If I were being attacked, I would have defend myself and get help. I would have stand up for myself. If they pulled jewelry,I would have told the principal. Rachel Rouchon Calm down In this article I read, (New York) a 12 year old boy was arrested for a hate crime after he attacked a Muslim student and attempted to tear off her religious head scarf at school. Police said the young boy punched and kicked the 7th grade student. He pulled at her hijab ask, “Are you Muslim”? Rachel Rouchon Arresting a twelve year old A boy will always be a boy, no matter what you do. Arresting them is like taking there pride away. At least suspend him or detain him because remember he is 12. He is still going through his hormones and maturity. The police took it a little too far. A hate crime would be like the boy yelling, “I hate Muslims” which he did not do. This is not a hate crime, it is just a misunderstanding.

Bushra Ilyas Call for help If I were attacked I would tell someone older to help. I never experience need a similar situation. Amal Khalid Euphemisms Versus Action There are lots of euphemisms. The euphemisms are really unfriendly. I would go to the police and report them for assault. I would also go tell the Principal. One time in 4th grade people made fun of me because I was Muslim. They also made fun of my last name. Kenneth Persaud Stop the Actions Why do these kids hate other people? They attack them and say hurtful stuff to them. I feel really bad for the girl. I hope it won’t happen again with other kids. Sean Tsyganovsky Keep the Boy in Lock-Up I think that this situation is horrid. This situation has never happened to me. I hope it doesn’t. I hope that boy stays locked up for a long time. Grullon Espinal Call 911 as a last resort If I were in the situation that Muslim girl was in, the first thing I’ll do is say “stop.” If this person kept on doing the bullying, I’ll tell the Principal/teachers. If this person gets in trouble, but still does the same things, I would 911. Christian Rivera If I Were Attacked If I was attacked, I would run, call the cops and then jump that person. I don’t have any personal experiences that are similar to those of the girl who was attacked. Celine Matthews I Would Defend Myself If I were attacked I would probably defend myself. I have no personal experience of a similar situation.

Faith Clarke I think they should use Euphemisms because at the end of the day we know the truth. I would be sad and angry if I was attacked. Those children/people would get beat up. They told me in school that I couldn’t wear my rosary, family crest and my black Jesus chain. That made me very sad and angry. They said that because they say these objects looked like gang emblems. My opinion on this article is that I feel badly for the Muslim girl but happy that the boy went to jail. The euphemisms used are: spewed attack, tormented, and harassed. If I were attacked I would gone to the Principal and tell my parents to take me out of the school. Ramia Zulfiqor Talk about the Attack, Delete the Euphemisms I think the article shouldn’t use euphemisms because they should let people know what’s really going on. If the article keeps on using euphemisms, people will think everything is okay, when it’s not. If I were attacked, I would change my school.

Chapter 5 - Nuclear Disaster The Words None Dare Say: Nuclear War by George Lakoff


familiar means of denying a reality is to refuse to use the words that describe that reality. A common form of propaganda is to keep reality from being described.

In such circumstances, silence and euphemism are forms of complicity both in propaganda and in the denial of reality. And the media, as well as the major presidential candidates, are now complicit. The stories in the major media suggest that an attack against Iran is a real possibility and that the Natanz nuclear development site is the number one target. As the above quotes from two of our best sources note, military experts say that conventional “bunker-busters” like the GBU-28 might be able to destroy the Natanz facility, especially with repeated bombings. But on the other hand, they also say such iterated use of conventional weapons might not work, e.g., if the rock and earth above the facility becomes liquefied. On that supposition, a “low yield” “tactical” nuclear weapon, say, the B61-11, might be needed. As the Japanese earthquake struck, the students noted the euphemisms used in discussing the effects of radiation and the actual impact of the disaster on the persons and the world. Among the words noted and discussed were: meltdown, cooling capacity, devastation, long term risk, impact health, radiation poisoning, radiation exposure, after shock, upgraded, downgraded, containment, worst case scenario and other euphemisms use to defuse panic.

Kenza Babar Meltdown Aftershock Upgraded Limited Significant Close tabs Long range impact Worse case Eventually Should euphemisms be used calm down persons in face of a disaster? Are euphemisms scientifically valid expressions?

Amal Khalid Nuclear Euphemism Worst case scenario They should not use euphemisms, so we can prepare ourselves better. The students considered the extent to which euphemism use was necessary to calm both the Japanese and the world citizens or whether plain English was called for in this instance.

Rachel Rouchon Using Euphemisms as Needed Devastated Land The explosions and fires spewed out of four separate nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan. It’s not only in

that area but the nuclear are sill reactive in other parts in Japan. The children and adult have risk of certain health damage from the radiation as they desperately tried to feed in cool and fresh water. We should have raise at least $6 Billion dollars and ship it to Japan. The world is not ending, so hold your head up high. Everything is going to be okay.

Melinda Elezovi No Euphemisms – we need the truth I believe that the government should not use euphemisms about radiation. I say this because you need to know if you are about to die. You need to know what to do. If you use euphemisms to prevent pain you might just die. Grullon Espinal The End of the World As the rain falls down People hit the ground I was hoping to be found. But light and water didn’t abound. I look as the water rise, Just standing there as all fall like flies Goodbye world. Sarika Narein Disruption. Disaster. Mother Nature. Rain. Plate Tectonic movements. Human (Japanese) kind. It is the Tsunami. Rachel Rouchon Panic in Japan As our eyes are filled with tears watching and hearing the screams of the dying. We observed the children as they run for their lives. A big tsunami hit Japan, but we Americans cry in tears. We pray for the lord to allay their fears and rescue these persons.

Rachel Rouchon Be comforted-Using Euphemisms for a Good Purpose To our fellow Japan friends Close your eyes make a wish, hold my hand It’s going to be okay. Your fear will fade. My heart is near. We will make a new world K’La Rivers Japanese Survivors Lament I can’t touch them! I can’t feel their embrace I want to touch my family But, no. It ruined my life My house’s gone My memories are washed away. Why did we live so close? Who knew radiation could hurt us? Sadly I am alone Buried deep in the ruble No one to hear me.

Chapter 6 - Humane Education Euphemisms: Grumpy, needs an experienced pet owner, forever home, adults only home, would thrive in a household where he/she is only pet, anxious if left alone, territorial, needs to learn manners, needs exercise, highly energetic, self motivated, may take time to warm up to strangers. In the arena of humane education, the issue of whether using euphemisms is justified since it can save animals’ lives is a complex one. Below the description the ASPCA posts as it attempts to save a dog’s life and motivate adopters to take a chance on her. American Pit Bulls face many challenges in being adopted due to stereotypes about their behavior.

Name: Hennessy


Terrier, American Pit Bull

Color: Tan

Gender: Female

Age: 1 year

About Hennessy: Hennessy has been through a lot in her short life: she was rescued by an ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agent after being starved and tethered by her Staten Island owner. The story of her amazing recovery at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital was featured on our blog! Hennessy loves to be affectionate and play with people she knows, though she may take time to warm up to strangers, and she likes other dogs but is still learning how to play with them. Hennessy can get a little grumpy when people are around during mealtimes, so she needs an adopter with some experience to help her overcome that behavior. Hennessy will flourish in an adults-only home.

Rachel Rouchon It’s a Pet!! I Speak for him It’s a pet not a piece of garbage! You say you’re careful, caring, But what I see is that you left him There to die. Him, my pet, my friend, Not just any piece of garbage. You’d pet him, Then later you’d kick him, He was hurting but he couldn’t speak. Now I’ll speak up for him, my friend My pet. Not just any piece of garbage His life was destroyed, Because of you. You said you were careful But what came out of your mouth Was only lies. He was my pet, no just A piece of garbage. Rachel Francis ASPCA- From the perspective of the pet. As I open my eyes I see a bar, its cold, bitter and lonely. One bowl and a cold floor. Everyday I repeat the same, a human comes by I jump as wild. They pass me by, I close my eyes. I have one wish that just to be adopted a family, a friend, and love, just right now I see a bar, one bowl and am on a cold floor. (ASPCA How do I feel)!!!! ADOPT A PET NOW!

Last Word David Attilus- Student Euphemisms /Plain English-Straight Talk What I could say is I don’t think people should use euphemisms because they should communicate truthfully. So if there is bad news,the person should get ready for it. That’s one reason why I think that people shouldn’t use euphemisms. When euphemisms are used, some people might not understand what is actually meant. Another thing is because that if you use euphemisms, people are going to think you’re beating around the bush, but not telling the truth. If you do use euphemisms, people are going to think the news is really bad. They may break down by the reality of it. However in the case of Japan, they were not prepared because euphemisms were used.

Nabila Hoque Straight Talk “You and life” Sometimes life can be lie a dungeon. A dark or damp place of emptiness around you. Nothing to do but just sit there and think. Think about life, what you did right and what you did wrong. Go through all the emotions inside you. Do whatever it takes to make the REAL you come out in life. Don’t be the one keeping everything to you. Taking chances is what you do best. You’re created only one way .It will always be that one way. Don’t bother to be someone else, but be you. Stand up for yourself and be proud of being confident. Never let someone say no, or think the wrong of you. Don’t let them take control. Speak clearly and truthfully. Straight Talk. Plain English

Kenza Babar-801 “Love and Hate” Always love your haters And hate your lovers, You know why? Because at the end of the day It’s your haters that tell you the truth, It’s your lovers that lie to your face They say I’m a bright kid yet I’m failing. Little by little they tell me I’m Improving yet my grade is still 65!!!... The work I give in gets a check, But never is it put up on the board With others. They tell me I have a good future, Yet, I have nowhere to turn to No one. All they do is lie to my face. All that’s doing is fading My hope away.

Teacher Resources Euphemism Book David Liotta Students 801/601 Editorial Committee: Art Committee: Title: Cover Design: Chapters: 1. Euphemism



Words used: Underachievers, not sufficient, underperforming, not meeting proficiency levels, misspeaking, not on benchmark, not making sufficient yearly progress, unengaged, unfocused, uninvolved, not caught up with material, has not addressed the academic goals, lacks background and basic prerequisite skills. Possibilities: Drawings of this situation, response from perspective of students described by these words -how do they feel about themselves-poem or rap using the terms. Issue to write about or to draw as a cartoon or a graphic novel-Are using these educational euphemisms doing the students a favor by being nice and being kind to their parents as well or should they be told the blunt English-you are failing-there is no hope for you. Improve or be held back and stigmatized.


Starbucks Euphemistic Vocabulary

Words: simply-real food-flavorful, really happy, not only tastes better is better, artificial Trans fat, complex coffee, soft spice, coffee team, high quality coffee, ethically sourced coffee, responsibly grown, CAFÉ (coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices, grow coffee in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible way, Each coffee requires a unique roast profile, flavor lock packaging guarantees the freshness of coffees-every coffee is unique-VIA READYBREW-innovation in coffee same taste as brewed coffee-force for positive action, soft new standardPossibilities: comment on these books write to Starbucks-get grant from them-invent a new coffeeIssues-how many o f these terms and words are just “empty” euphemisms-like “unique” “quality” “complex coffee” “real food” Is it unethical to pretend to be ethical and not just be upfront about selling? Design ideas-Use Starbucks Logo to make comments on its labels and packaging use of words.

3. Food


or just play with empty

Bottle Labels-euphemisms-false language.


Copy the words that are empty-devoid of real meaning words-euphemisms on package and reword and redraw label so that is uses accurate descriptive wordsShould food ads, particularly for diet foods or so-called HEALTHY foods be truthful minus euphemisms or empty words? Why or why not? In what way might using euphemisms in packaging help raise the price of items? Create a visual packaging for your favorite snack using euphemisms or dysphemisms (negative wordsopposite of euphemisms). Dysphemisms (“apple polisher” for someone who plays up to boss-snitch-“someone who tells on others”-mole-inside traitor, phony-someone who is not genuine, an out and out liar,)

4. You

are fired!-You are evicted!!

Vocabulary-laid off, downsized, put on hold, placed on hiatus, your services are no longer required, no longer on payroll, thanks for doing an excellent job, no longer needed, the company is going in a new direction, this is being outsourced, you need to clear the premises for a new tenant, this space is being revamped, there is a new use for this space, this community is taking a different turn, the rental for this space is now substantially higher, there is no leasing agreement being offered. Should this be stated up front or no?-Why?



rejection-You’re too short-

I don’t like you because___________________ I can’t be your friend because___________________ Tell it like it is or fill it with euphemisms. Do dialogues either way Create a story where you enter Ditmas or your home on any given day and discover plain ENGLISH or whatever native language used in your home is not being spoken but your family and school staff and friends all use euphemisms and never say what they mean. Run through a day like that-Do it as a rap-Mr.Liotta will show how to do it or a play or drawings-end of day-would you want to dwell in a school or home or social world with ONLY EUPHEMISMS or NO!!!! If no, have your story end in REAL WORLD with PLAIN ENGLISH.

Student Bios Elizabeth Rodriguez Hi my name is Elizabeth and I’m 11 years old. I’m in the 6th grade her at Ditmas, I.s. 62. My two favorite colors are blue and purple.

Mensah Amu I’m born in 1999 and I’m 12 years old. I also love fashion and dancing. When I was little I went to a fashion model show and went to a dance competition.

I’m from Mexico, my goals here at Ditmas are to pass every class and get passing grades. I will rather go to after school instead of going to stores. I’m really shy person and I wish I could grow bigger because I am small.

Faith Clarke I was born on January 21st 1999. When I grown up I won’t to be a lawyer/judge since I could talk I have said my favorite color is purple.

Keilah Stevens My talent is dance, art and napping like to do those types of talent to all the time. I’m shy and quite but when it comes to having fun I get crazy. When I am writing euphemisms I would rather use it in a nicer away than any mean way. Melinda Elezovic My name is Melinda Elezovic. I was in the honor roll 2 times in a row. I hope to be in honor roll once again. Veronica Gavrilov My name is Veronica Gavrilov. I was born August 4, 1999. When I was younger, I used to have an imaginary friend. Carmela Winter My talent is to dance and to sing. I love to sing more than dance because when I sing more of my feelings are expressed in words. One time I was dancing to a song suddenly fell down on my elbow and cry a lot. That is why I don’t dance as much than sing. Aida Harrop-601 I was born 1999. I love to sing and do art. Both of these activities both can show how you are feeling. When I was little, I used to sing when I finished my picture.

Ramia Zulfiqar Hi, my name is Ramira Zulfiqar, I was born in 1999 November 15. My hobby is art because you can be creative. When I was small I used have puppies, and I would chase them. Amina Alam My name is Amina. I’m a 12 year old girl and loves art. Art in great way to express yourself and let others know who you are. When I was younger I always had a dream of being an artist, but I thought art was something you could eat. Kenneth Persaud I am 11 years old, born in 1999 on November 28. I am a good student and humorous. Julia Prokop Julia was born in 1998 in Poland. She had enjoyed music. Julia used to have a hideout in her closet. Grullon Espinal Hey, my name is Grullon Amaya Espinal and I was born in November 9, 1999. I’m a dance. At 2005, I was on a stage dancing with my classmates (the theme was ballerina), and I was great at it. Arisdelsy Martinez I was born October 20, 1999. I like to play soccer and I’m athletic. I like a lot of rock and pop music. Noah Bird I always do my homework every single day to get my grades. I always do what I am suppose to do. I sometimes sneak out food, when no one is around.

Cabana Diallo Hi My name is Cabana Diallo, I was born in 1999 January 6, now I live in Brooklyn, NY. I love to sing, read, and write. I had a feeling this book is going to be good. My talent is singing well, I wouldn’t call it a talent but I’m working at it, I love playing keyboard, singing and even writing songs. My favorite childhood memory is when I, my mom and brothers went fishing and when I caught a fish I was so scared, I started screaming I told my brother to put the fish back in the pond.

Kenza Babar Hey, I’m Kenza Babar, I’m 13 years old. I believe writing is my hobby within writing I can express my feelings the way I want to without being told what to say or do. I’m writing to impress my family, friends, along with you. K’La Rivers Hey, I’m K’La Rivers, I’m 14 years old. Writing expresses your identity no matter how crazy or how weird. If you write everything, greatness is sure to come. Enjoy writing is power.

Celine Matthews Hi, my name is Celine, I am 12 years old. I am in a school called Ditmas. Here at Ditmas, my goal is to pass every class and to get awesome grades.

Rachel Rouchon My name is Rachel Rouchon. I am from Delray beach, Florida, I express my thoughts and feelings in my writing, and my physical and mental feelings in dance. I am very loud and felicitous, gleeful person but I have my downs as well.

Christian Rivera One of my talents that I have are keyboard. I ‘m an expert at keyboard, my name is Christian Rivera. I’m a Christian (Religion). I was born in New York. I like to eat pie, it taste yummy.

Sean Tsyganovsky My name is Sean Tsyganovsky, and I was born on 1999. I am eleven years old and my birthday is June 14th. I love to play outside. I am just a naturally good person.

Amal Khalid I like to sing and dance. I’m more of a person who sticks up for anyone even I don’t know them. Anyone could make laugh or giggle. I was also made fun of because I’m Muslim. I wore a scarf and they laughed at me. Jeimy Campos Hi my name is Jeimy Campos. I was born on March 4, 1999. I love to play basketball and have fun with my friends. Bushra Ilyas I was born on 1999 and my favorite subject is art. Every time I draw I hang them up on my bedroom wall. Nabila Hoque Hi, my name is Nabila Hoque. I am 13 years old and interested in publishing books. Why? It’s because the stuff we write should be read by adults to understand what we think about all these things in life.

Student Reflections

on the

Publishing Process

K’La Rivers Publishing the book was a true loving experience. It showed me what I really wanted to do, something that could make me happy. This helped me let my talent shine through.

Rachel Rouchon Dear Readers: Publishing this book, was like catching a mouse, you had to think ahead, plan, edit, and you had to be flexible of circumstances. As me K’La, Jim, Ezra, and Kenza came together not as friends, but brother and sisters. We got close. We learned a lot from each other but at the end of the day we came through as a team!!

Literacy Consultant’s Reflections

on this

Literacy Lens

As someone who is very focused on nuanced uses of language and interested in semiotics, I was excited when David Liotta initiated the idea of a book project targeted to alert students to the pervasive use of euphemisms in media. As an English teacher and literacy specialist, I have always wanted to enhance students’ vocabulary pool of meaningful locutions. However, I have been very much concerned with their capacity to distinguish shades of word meaning and pejorative/conative/denotative affect. Common Core ELA and Social Studies/History Standards also target vocabulary acquisition and domain specific word use, plus capacity for argumentation. As Mr. Liotta and I introduced student centered issuesteacher lay-offs, food, bullying, relationships, education talk about grading, and nuclear destruction, we both saw the students engaged and passionate about language use in an authentic (concerns about their lives) fashion. I believe that project based publishing focused on language can serve to not only broaden vocabulary acquisition and nuanced word use, but also contribute to making students lifelong critical readers, writer and citizens!! That is a truthful desired and necessary language and literacy outcome!! Plain English, not a euphemism!! Dr. Rose Cherie Reissman Author of Making Technology Literacy Magic Happen (ISTE) Founder of the Writing Institute President of the New York City Association of Teachers of English

Alignment To Common Core ELA Social Studies Content Euphemisms




Social Studies/History

Mr. Liotta’s approach to Euphemisms is perfectly aligned to the Common Core Standards Common Core Standards for ELA 6-8 Reading Standards for Informational Text (RI)-Newspaper and online print news as well as labels/packaging was extensively used. Students addressed the following specific standards:


ideas and details

Standard 1-cite text evidence that supports text analysis Standard 2- determine central idea of the text




Standard 4- determine meaning of words and phrases as they are used in text Standard 6- determine author’s point of view






Standard 7 integrate information presented in different media Standard 8 trace and evaluate the argument in a text

Writing Standards This project was poised on developing argumentation around the topic of plain English versus Euphemism use. It addressed: Standard 1-Writing arguments to support claims with clear reasons Standard 2 –Writing informative /explanatory texts to examine a topic and to convey ideas Research to Build and to Present Knowledge Standard 8 –Gathering information from multiple digital and print sources Standard 9 Drawing evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research Standard 10 Writing routinely over extended time frames




Students discussed debated and shared views on the use of euphemisms. Standard 1 They engaged in one on one, group and teacher facilitated discussions. Standard 2 –They interpreted material from news, online and multimedia resources. Standard 3 They delineated a speaker’s argument and specific claims

Language The use of euphemisms is totally poised on Vocabulary Use and Acquisition. In particular,students acquired and used grade appropriate and beyond academic and domain specific words.





Social Studies Grades 6-8

Reading Standards Key

ideas and details

As part of the project, students addressed Standards 1-3 in that used secondary and primary sources for textual evidence, main idea identification and steps in the description of an event process.




As part of this project with its focus on euphemisms, the students addressed Standards 4 and 6 in that they determined the meaning of words and identified aspects of the text that revealed the author’s purpose.






Students realized all Standards 7-9 in that they integrated graphic photos and online videos plus text information. They distinguished fact from opinion and analyzed both primary and secondary sources. Their writing addressed all standards parallel to the literacy standards using current events and history/social studies grade and age appropriate content.


Language that takes the life out of language.