So yesterday I was teaching math and one of my students was really struggling. The concept was adding zero's to find larger numbers (7x6, 70x6, 700x6, etc). Student L simply could not figure out what 7x6 was to begin with, much less the adding zero's part - so I made a suggestion I make daily during math. I said, "why don't you try to draw a picture". What I meant was, make an illustration that will help you to find the answer...draw 6 groups of 7 people, or draw 6 rows of 7 dots, or something to that effect. I made the suggestion, and continued pacing my classroom to observe other students.
I circled back to Student L only to find a rabbit, big as life, right there on his paper. I said, "um, what might that be?" He looked at me with such a blank expression and replied to me like I was the biggest moron on the planet, "it's a rabbit Miss D". I took a deep breath and explained to him that I meant to draw a picture to help him solve the problem and started such a picture for him to finish.
Lesson learned: say what you mean and mean what you say. Especially when it comes to math and rabbits.