One area that is difficult for speech and language students is understanding idioms. It can be difficult to try and teach this abstract concept. Most SLPs try drilling, showing and explaining the various idioms in a variety of ways, and point out when it is used in conversation. Ventura Educational Systems created an app that makes learning idioms fun and exciting. They created it for children, ESL students, or anyone wishing to improve their understanding of English.
On the opening page, you can see the options for “settings” “about” and “start.” By selecting “settings,” it brings you to this page:
As you can see, you can select whether or not there are sound effects or speech effects. If you have students easily distracted or overstimulated by noise, you are probably better off by turning them off.
If you select “about”, you can read more about the product and its functions.
Now it is time to start using the app!
Once you hit “start,” you are brought to a notebook page. There are over 65 idioms on each page. You can use these pages to introduce or review the various idioms. For each notebook page, the idiom is presented, with its meaning, an example, and a graphic to help illustrate.
Once students become more familiar and confident in the various idioms, now it is time to play and practice!
Students must look at the bottom and see an idiom. They must recall the idiom and select the word to best complete it. They drag and drop it in the blank space. If correct, the word will be placed in the blank. If incorrect, it will not “stay” and the student will be able to try again.
Students can keep playing until they receive all their stars. Students are rewarded with a star for correct response. For incorrect, stars are taken away. This allows for extra trials for those that require more practice. Unfortunately, scores are not produced and not stored for writing down later. One must keep data independently.
Students are provided with an idiom and all the letters of the alphabet. They must recall the idiom and spell it out. This task is clearly more difficult as they are not provided any prompts other than letter spaces. They can guess letters like hangman or just spell it out if they can recall. You can choose to provide struggling students with choices if necessary. Scores are shown in the box in the corner. However, there is no “end” time or score. You can determine when the game is over. Again, unfortunately, scores aren't saved or stored.
I personally love this section best! It provides students with examples and they must fill in the appropriate idiom that would best fit that example. For this section, scores are kept! But they are not stored. Students are not able to correct their answers. They can see they got it wrong by their score or that the idiom does not get placed in the example. Just don't forget to write down scores to help remember if there is improvement. You can also note which idioms they are having continued difficulty and keep reviewing the notebook page or show them other pictures and examples.