ESL resource site share

Flashcard
Flashcard (Photo credit: pirate johnny)

Working on the story for my little girls reminded me how much I rely on the Internet for some of my resources. I use a recognised, graded ESL book whenever possible, but sometimes you need extra resources or, as in the case of the girls, a book is not suitable. So here are some of my favourites for other teachers desperately looking for resources. Today I’ll concentrate on resources for children. We’ll look at adult resources another day.

Sparklebox has got to be one of my all-time favourites. Find it here. It was there that I found the gorgeous flashcards for the caterpillar story. The site is aimed at primary school teachers, but the literacy resources are wonderful for teaching English. And best of all – they are all free! A quick browse of the site reveals new winter resources (words and pictures) and new editable resources ranging from flashcards and activities, bingo boards and labels to display banners and target board posters. I tend to haunt the stories and resources directory, a treasure trove of resources for both popular books and traditional tales. A big thank you to the developers of this site and to the teachers who have contributed their resources.

Did you know that http://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org has resources for all the Cambridge English Tests? My favourite resource from here is a series of four posters and worksheets: The beach, The classroom, the sports field and the house. The posters have a lot of “strange” things eg. a computer and a snowman on the beach or a bath in the garage. The kids love them! It’s a much more fun way to learn “there is..” and “there are…”. They learn the vocabulary in a fun way as well. This resource is called” YLE school posters and worksheets” if you want to look for it.

Want to encourage your child or students to read? If you are in a place where obtaining good, graded English readers is difficult, why not try the Oxford Owl reading site? This marvellous site has over 250 e-books available which children can read on-line. The directory is arranged according to age, making it easier to choose suitable books for each particular child. The audio facility means that children of non-English speaking parents can hear the correct pronunciation when they read the books at home. What an excellent idea this site is, and I’m sure that many parents will buy some of the other books which are not available as e-books. I told some parents about this site and the children excitedly told me which books they had read last week.

So that’s my three for the week. There are so many more, but I wouldn’t want to overload my reader. Let the others be revealed another day. What sites do other teachers use? Where do you find your resources?

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It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

A chance comment to a student this morning got me thinking about those difficult colloquialisms that English speakers love using and that are a source of great confusion for anyone who is not a mother tongue speaker.

Looking out of the window at the pouring rain, I said, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” She looked at me in surprise, brow furrowing, and repeated, “Cats and dogs?” A quick explanation brought a smile to her face. “Ah…” she said, and in Italian, “raining buckets”. (Surprisingly similar to the phrase “bucketing down”, don’t you think?)

I wondered where the saying came from and did a quick Google search. It’s not really clear, but one of the most likely explanations relates to conditions in the cities and sewers. Heavy rain would have flushed out the bodies of cats and dogs from the sewers, allowing them to flow through the city with the water. I found that out here: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/raining%20cats%20and%20dogs.html.

I remember a particular English lesson from my youth where we were asked to draw literal illustrations of a number of colloquialisms. Obviously, we vied each other to find the most hilarious ones. Here are some of my favourites:

She laughed her head off. Oh, there goes her head, rolling down the street.

I’m all fingers and thumbs. Imagine how hard life would be if this were really true!

My new car cost an arm and a leg. Uh-oh! You’re going to find it really hard to drive then!

I just said hello and he bit my head off. Creates a graphically violent picture!

She cut off her nose to spite her face. More violence here!

I got the news straight from the horse’s mouth. Picture my surprise when the horse told me the news!

What’s your favourite colloquialism, and why? Artists are welcome to draw their response and link to it in my comments.

Apology: Please excuse the attempt to link to another site. I can’t get the “add link” button to work, so you’ll just have to copy and paste into your browser if you want to go to the site I used. Enjoy!