Friday, November 30, 2012

Weather Idioms and Sayings

We don't have many bad weather days in Southern California when we can use an expression like "It's raining cats and dogs." There is even disagreement about whether we should teach this outdated expression even though everyone understands it.  Nevertheless, as teachers of English to non-native speakers, our students should also be aware of common expressions that contain weather language relating to everyday life.  These expressions are what we call idioms. To figure out the meaning of an idiom, you have to go beyond a dictionary definition of each individual word.

Here are some weather idioms that you might find fun to use. Lately have you been feeling snowed under? I've been very busy too, so I haven't had as much time as before to post exercises or lesson plans for you.  Now that I've added another post, however, I feel energized.

Some people think that we only have sunny days in San Diego, but actually we do experience differences in weather. You might think I'm full of hot air, but I'm serious.  We do get big rain storms here in San Diego, usually in January and February.  Here are some questions with weather idioms (with online links to definitions), which you can use as writing or chatting prompts.

1. Do you believe that "Every cloud has a silver lining"?  Explain this saying.

2. Describe the last time that you were snowed under.

3. Have you ever had a fair weather friend?  Describe that friend.

4. Do you believe the saying, "When it rains, it pours"?  Why/why not?

5. What is something that is a breeze for you?  Why do you think it is a breeze?

6. When you have an argument, do you usually let it blow over?  Why/why not?

7. What do you sometimes blow hot and cold about?

8. Describe a time when you were on cloud nine.

9. Has anyone ever stolen your thunder?  What happened?

10. What helps you recover fast when you feel under the weather?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Test your Knowledge of Arabic in English

What I love about teaching English is that it keeps me perpetually interested in learning more about it, especially about its vocabulary.  Take the word giraffe.  The giraffe is not a native animal of the Middle East, yet the word is of Arabic origin. Alcohol, too, comes from Arabic even though it is a drink today forbidden to faithful Moslems. Before I began teaching English to Arabic speakers, I had never given much thought to words in my language that might have Arabic roots.  For those readers who wonder what words they know that come from Arabic, here is a link (another crossword puzzle!) for you. The answer to number one across is in this post. Good luck!