Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life's a....

One of the things I try to do with my ESL classes is get the students to use as many words as they can. You need to use a word about 8 times for it to really take hold, and these kids are already far behind their native-speaking contemporaries when it comes to the number of words they know.

The other day we were talking about synonyms: words that mean the same thing as other words. I asked the students to tell me as many words as they could that mean "bad."

Of course, ESL students can sometimes have a hard time with subtleties in language, and this group thought that when I said "words that mean bad" that what I wanted was "bad words."

So little H., who is five feet tall and the sweetest, kindest, nicest kid you'd ever want to meet, waves her hand in the air, saying "I know, teacher, I know!"

"Yes?" I say, chalk poised in my hand.

"Beach!" she yells out. "Beach is bad word!"

I think we might have to talk about long vowels and short ones, and what happens when you put a short "i" sound in that word...

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