Idioms and jargons are used everyday in our lives. We know that for our EL Learners and a lot of students in our classes, idioms and jargon can be difficult. As a literary device, idioms are extremely effective and add to “style” of writing. Idioms are colourful, personal and vivid. I could describe our WWP project as an effective or as a well oiled machine. In order to have students use and understand we need to explore idioms for all our learners.
Exploring the literal meaning of an idioms is fun and allows students to be creative with pen and pencil, or specifically with an app (Pic Collage, Explain Everything, Drawing Box etc) .
Years ago, students and I watched a funny podcasts from Animal Planet called Animal Crackers. In this podcast actors portrayed two fictional and one historical story of where specific idioms originated.
Comics are very powerful pieces of writing. Students enjoy reading and creating comics. Two apps on the iPad,, Comic Life and BookCreator, allow students to create their own comics.
One of the best ways to engage your students in a story writing dialogue activity, is to use Comics. What better way is there to show how writing dialogue needs to appropriate, clear and effective? If their characters’ dialogue does not drive the plot, then the audience cannot follow their story.
Students can use Comic Life or BookCreator to display their understanding of any topic in their non-fiction writing:
Autobiographies or Biographies
Comic Life and BookCreator have many unique comic features and the purpose for using these features needs to be explained to students.
Panels and Pages
a panel is like a paragraph, with one main idea
size of panel shows time and importance
we read panels left to right, top to bottom
shows us setting
Characters and important objects
carries the narrative of the story
tells us about setting
explains what happens between panels
Speech and Thought Bubble
displays characteristic of characters
Is often the core text feature, giving the most information
You can also have students explore App Smashingby:
Adding themselves as characters on a background in PicCollage
In Drawing Box, create their own drawings and add to their comic
What is the educational value for completing word puzzles?
This is a great question, that has been debated by many educators.
Working with spelling words and new vocabulary, seems like a justifiable use for using word puzzles. However; when created by the teacher, the students require no creative thinking and often lack the comprehension and connection to the new vocabulary. Sort of a worksheet in a different form. So how do we “up” the value? This value increases when you have them create their own word puzzles.
On the Discovery Education Site students can create
Word Search with Hidden Message
All which link vocabulary to meaning.
After students have created their word puzzle, on the iPad hold finger on the image and download into photos. In Photos share or upload the image into Notability and have students compete.
On macbook, right click on image and save. Share via email or google drive then download image and add image to a notebook file and use pens to complete.
Before you have students create a non-fiction book in Book Creator, you must explore the features in a non-fiction piece.
Text features in a non-fiction piece of writing, is like story elements in a fiction piece of writing. Just like you need to teach students about characters, setting, problem, plot and resolution before writing stories, you must also teach students about specific features of non-fiction writing.
These feature are there to help the reader make sense of what is written.
Features include and are not limited to:
Helps to know what the text topic is about and help make predictions.
Helps determine the time an event happens.
Helps identify a picture or photograph, and/or its parts.
Helps understand exactly what something looks like.
Helps better understand a picture or photograph.
Helps understand the size of something by comparing it to the size of something familiar.
Cut Aways/Cross Sections
Helps understand something by looking at it from the inside.
Helps understand where things are in the world.
Types of Print
Helps by signalling, “Look at me! I’m important!”
Helps seeing details in something small.
Helps in a visual way so that it is more easily understood by readers.
Charts or Tables
Helps by giving information in a visual way so that it is quicker and easier to read.
Helps with a drawingof the parts of something.
Helps with an alphabetical list of most everything covered in the text, with page numbers.
Table of Contents
Helps identify key topics in the order they are presented.