Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)
TITLE: Word Play
By Marie Fink
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Our Lord has supernaturally allowed His Word to be preserved for centuries. Through sacrifice and innovation great men and women moved by the Holy Spirit have dedicated their time and talents to this endeavor. Words can heal, such as in the scriptures that build up our faith and encourage us. Our speech can cut and discourage also, but we are admonished in the scriptures to take care in what we say and be quick to listen, slow to speak. In this is great wisdom. Words and the ability to communicate are gifts from God.
These gifts are our lifeline to the universe and everything in it; therefore it’s imperative that we teach our young children to communicate effectively. I enjoy teaching elementary aged students the love of word play. In this stage of learning everything is new, challenging, and fun. The more I can introduce at the third and fourth grade levels the better. I find that this aged child can organize expository and persuasive paragraphs, learn to recognize and write metaphors and similes, and certainly, learn how to use and identify homonyms.
We spend a lot of time on homonyms, homophones and homographs in the classroom. Homographs are words that not only sound the same with different meanings; they are spelled the same too. Orange is such a word, acting as a noun and an adjective. Occasionally, a student will ask if they can use a word like this as a verb, and I tell them they can if they prove it. Recently a student exclaimed in a creative ‘proof’ sentence: “He ‘oranged’ his water color painting so the whole horse scene looked like a sunset.” I instantly thought, “Hmmm, good job.” “This is orange as a verb; just when I thought it couldn’t be done by an eight year old.” Another student chimed in, “And he added a simile: …'looked like a sunset'.” “Awesome! I cried,” incredibly proud of what these students are able to do at such young ages.
These eight and nine year olds are impressive with what they are able to create in written and verbal expression. I know older children who do much less, but that’s what is expected of them: much less. Most students will rise to any challenge and perform higher than we ever think possible if we give them the tools, the training, and the opportunities. Teaching effective communication is essential for the next generation to be able to disciple, lead, innovate, and work all to the glory of God.
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