The SATs examinations are approaching for a number of children. Some children even have to study aspects of grammar! Would a study of grammar be valuable to eleven plus children? After all grammar is something that can be learnt and coached – not much change from some eleven plus topics!
We encourage children to read before the eleven plus – to some teachers and parents reading means, in part, broadening the mind and the vocabulary. What books and exercises could be worked through to help children to cope with some expressions?
The apple of one’s eye
The children would need to read some Shakespeare – because he wrote about this in the Midsummer Night’s Dream back in 1600!
“Help please. I have some apple in my eye. My sister threw an apple at me.”
“You, dear, are the apple of my eye! Ignore your sister. Do your work. Keep your head down. She is just being a dog in the manger.”
To burn one’s boats
One meaning is that there is a compelling need not to return to a previous situation.
“I promise I have done my eleven plus work.”
“You have just burnt your boats. I have told you once, I have told you twice. I expect more of you. You need to do more than the minimum. Enough, no treats from now on – unless you turn over a new leaf.”
A wet blanket
Could this mean to smother someone’s expectations?
“I have had enough. You are just like wet blanket. Whatever I do you throw scorn on my ideas.”
At a loose end
Think of sailors and ropes – and the wind blowing strongly – then the loose end could be bit of rope flapping in the face of a sailor high up on a yard.
“I feel I am rather at a loose end. I know I am banned from T.V. until after the eleven plus, I have done some reading. I have had an eleven plus lesson. I am bored. What can I do?”
A dog in the manger
This phrase is supposed to have come from Aesop’s Fables. How many of today’s eleven plus children will have read Aesop for pleasure? How many will know that one interpretation could be to be mean, miserable and spiteful?
“Mum, my brother is behaving like a dog in the manger. He will not let me do any extra work. He keeps annoying me.”
To turn over a new leaf
This one is easy – to offer a fresh start. “Mother, I promise I will turn over a new leaf – and will do some extra eleven plus work every day.”