Thursday, October 18, 2012

Idioms, Homophones, Homonyms

     This year I have been lucky enough to teach the Developmental Language Arts (DLA) class at my school. DLA is a class for ESOL students who have moved to America from other countries and have not yet learned English. It is my job to help them do so. Now, let me preface this with: I do not know any other language other than English. People thought I was pretty crazy to teach this course, but so far it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and you'd be surprised at the different ways we figure out how to communicate.

     One of the hardest things to teach these kids are the weird quirky things about English (and man are there a lot of them!). For example, we had a whole day when we talked about adverbs and how they mostly have -ly, but then there are words like very, fast, slow, etc. that are adverbs and do not end in -ly. Then there are words like silly which end in -ly but aren't adverbs. I talked to them about how confusing it is even for English speakers and how sometimes there just isn't a reason why rules are broken.

     Next to grammar, I am primarily focusing on vocabulary and idioms, because that will help them move to the next level of English. When I began planning for this class, I sat down with my ELL Curriculum and Compliance Teacher, and friend, to find out the best way to tackle this class. After a long chat, she gave me a ton of resources focusing primarily on grammar, vocabulary and idioms/homophones/homonyms. Within these resources were a pile of picture books dealing with idioms, homophones and homonyms. I wanted to share these with you today because I know they are going to be a big hit in my classroom and are definitely assets to ELL (or any!) curriculum.

A great mixture of poetry, idioms and text features. Students will definitely connect since setting of the entire book is school. 

Two funny picture books that show the literal meaning for some homophones, homonyms and idioms.

A narrative picture book that includes homophones, homonyms and idioms. 

An informative book about different animal idioms all with fun, well-done illustrations. 

A very funny, narrative picture book about body part idioms. 

All of these books bring these confusing elements of the English language to life and are a great helping hand in assisting any student who is learning to understand the English speaking world around them. 


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