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.
After watching one podcast an activity would be to challenge the students to create a similar type of media presentation.
- They could research meaning and origin of an idiom.
- Create a literal and actual visual representation of idiom (as above)
- Create a script for two fictional origins and true origin. (Pages or Doc)
- Use another App to illustrate
- Explain Everything
- Scratch Junior
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
- Speech Plan
- Instructional/Procedural Write
- Travel Guide
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
- develops mood
- Characters and important objects
- Text Features
- 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 Smashing by:
- Adding themselves as characters on a background in PicCollage
- In Drawing Box, create their own drawings and add to their comic
- Create their own characters in Avatar Creator
Here is student instructions for using Comic Life
and Comics in BookCreator
Students use the following template to create a script on a fictional news cast about “The Groundhog’s Appearance”.
Create a Fictional Newscast