Language is important on so many levels. It is, literally, the key that unlocks the door to education in this country. Without solid language skills and the ability to navigate school and learn there, many future doors to opportunity are never opened.
I have spent much of my life working with kids and adults who are in the process of learning the English language. I gravitate towards them because I vividly remember sitting with my Granny when I was a little girl, having her tell me all about her experiences as a 5 year-old immigrant from Denmark. She came to live in this new country and did not speak English. She was teased by kids because of her clothes and her speech, and she felt like a total outsider. She adapted, as kids are so great at doing. I have so much respect and admiration for people who do what she did.
So, in college I started tutoring immigrant and refugee kids in the public schools. Then I started training other tutors. Eventually, I became a classroom public school teacher myself. I have come and gone from the classroom at different times in my life, but I always think about words and their importance. It's always been my goals to have kids become comfortable with English (and all its quirks), and eventually learn to love it like I do.
Here are some free, printable resources for teachers, parents, tutors...anyone who is trying to make our odd English language more fun and understandable. These six posters illustrate some of the higher-level thinking that we want kids to strive for. Once learners understand what the concepts mean, they can participate more fully in discussions and tap into their own prior knowledge. Following the posters, are two versions of a printable die that can be used like a game piece. Use them to spur discussions about vocabulary and concepts as simple as "pizza", or as complex as "voting".
I'd love to hear how these get used!!