It’s National Volunteer Week!

Our Indianapolis School District Facilitators have special messages to Oasis Tutors serving in their districts.

Oasis Tutors Thank You

“Having the chance to read regularly with both my first grade and third grade grandchildren because we are staying with them, I am once again reminded of all the good you do and the fun you can have, as you share books and stories and words with them.  Thank you for being there with them.   Hope to see you next fall!” – Mary McDonald, Pike Township

Love Letter“Hello Lawrence Oasis Tutors!

Thank you so much for your dedication to our students!  It blesses my heart how hard you work to make a special relationship with the children!  I appreciate your hard work when planning your lessons and also making them engaging and fun!  I especially want to thank several of you who took 2, 3, or 4 students this year to accommodate all the student referrals that we received!  You are an awesome group of tutors!  I miss you and can’t wait until we can meet again!  Take care of yourselves and stay safe!” – Angie Merchant, Lawrence Township

“Hamilton Southeastern Schools sends our best wishes and gratitude to our generous and kind Oasis tutors.  Your time and dedication to our students is truly appreciated. The value of the relationships you form with our youngest learners can’t be overstated.  Many thanks!” -Erin Mohr, Hamilton Southeastern Schools

Coffee Mug with a Heart“To the tutors in Brownsburg – You are a small but mighty group and I am so grateful for your service to our students! Thank you for the time you invest with your student – I know they miss you and we all look forward to seeing you in the fall!” – Julie Van Liew, Brownsburg

“Roses are Red and Violets are Blue without our OASIS Tutors I do not know what we would do.  They are simply amazing from so many different lenses.  Each of them works diligently with a special twist of their own personality while upholding the commitment to developing a love of reading, the importance of academics, and by going above and beyond to make certain that the social and emotional needs of our students are met.  They are more than a tutor.  They are a true blessing.  We love each of them.” – Suzanne Zybert, Washington Township

Postcard“We would like to thank our amazing Oasis tutors for Greenwood Community School Corporation.  They are dedicated people who give selflessly of their time, talent and treasures.  We know they definitely make a difference in the lives of our students.”  – Kathy Rice and Julie Scudder, Greenwood Community Schools

“On behalf of the Warren Township Schools I want to thank our tutors who make such a difference in the lives of their students. Their commitment and dedication to helping their students become successful in school is amazing, and their generosity of time is deeply appreciated!!” – Barb King, Coordinator of Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Programs

Literacy Lesson: 

Figurative Language Lesson to Increase Vocabulary

Penny for your thoughts! Are you down in the dumps, or feeling under the weather? Perhaps you feel like a million dollars!

I am not being as silly as you think. I am just sharing some popular idioms! Students love these strange phrases, and there are some great ways to teach kids about these.

What are idioms? Idioms can have one intended meaning, but they are often different than their literal meaning. This can confuse some students who don’t know the true meaning of the phrase. So, there are several fun ways to introduce these to our students.


We can illustrate some of the idioms in drawings to show the literal meaning and then write the intended meaning. Use markers, crayons, paints or even sidewalk chalk. Here are a couple of examples.

Fish out of Water
Kick the bucket
raining cats and dogs

Acting them out

Choose one and put movement to it. See if your student can guess what it is and then discuss the intended meaning.

Print off the list and cut them apart. Place the strips in a bag or box. Select one and act it out. Play the game similar to charades.

Read some fun books

Amelia Bedila a series of chapter books by Peggy Parrish

In a Pickle by Marvin Terlan

Mad As a Wet Hen by Marvin Terlan

There’s A Frog in My Throat by Pat Strent

The Cat’s Pajamas by Edward Wallace

Parts by Tedd Arnold

Writing prompts

Choose one of your favorite as a prompt to create a story around it.

“A fool and his money are soon parted”

“When Pigs Fly”

“Every cloud has a silver lining”

These prompts can start a great discussion or story!

Write an idiom story
Try to write a story using as many idioms as possible. The tutor and student can co-write the story in the journal as they tell the story through dialogue taking turns writing/dictating each sentence to compose a funny story!

This composition challenges the writers to use dialogue to tell the story. Tutors can model how to use quotation marks and punctuation.

Create an idiom challenge
Pick a topic and write as many idioms as you can over a period of time. This is a great idea to use after reading a few books which are listed above, so that the child can recall idioms from these books.


  • animal idioms
  • food idioms
  • weather idioms
  • location idioms
  • idioms that mention parts of the body

Here is a list of popular idioms

  • Bed of Roses
  • As easy as pie
  • Piece of cake
  • Back to square one
  • Cabin fever
  • Can you lend me a hand?
  • Kick the bucket
  • Raining cats and dogs
  • Cold Feet
  • Crocodile Tears
  • Go Fly a Kite
  • He’s like a fish out of water
  • He lost his marbles
  • Hot potato
  • Last straw
  • On pins and needles
  • No strings attached

Source: Feber, Jane,  Active Word Play p 25 &26

Can YOU think of one?

Shout Out to One of Indy’s Coordinator

Maggie the Dog

We are thrilled to highlight Brownsburg’s Oasis Coordinator for Tutoring, Julie Van Liew. She is the Coordinator of Curriculum & Special Programs for her school corporation. She began teaching in 1987 in IPS and taught there for ten years. She then continued her career in Brownsburg as teacher, assistant principal and principal before becoming a district administrator. She is a graduate of Marian College and has a Masters in School Administration from Butler University.

Julie and her husband, Jeff and have two children, Kyle and Jessica. In her spare time, she enjoys volleyball, reading and doing puzzles. Plus, she likes traveling to Florida to visit her dad and to Cozumel with her friends each year.

Here is a photo of her rescue dog, Maggie. It looks like she is helping Julie as she works from home.

Julie’s favorite books include the following:

  • Harry Potter series – for adults and children
  • Dr. Seuss – enjoyable to read aloud to students
  • The World According to Mr. Rogers-Important Things to Remember – provides inspiration when working with students and staff

During this time of social distancing, Julie recalls one of Mr. Roger’s quotes, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

Julie believes this is true and important during this pandemic – helpers are everywhere and while they have always been there, it is only now, during crisis that we are truly coming to see them and their good works.  During this stay-home time, Julie is still working from home. There are lots of Zoom meetings and conversations with staff to make sure that students have what they need for At-Home Learning. And Julie confesses that she is exercising more because she needs to take Maggie on walks twice a day rather than just the one, she was used to! Maggie is one lucky dog! And so are we that we have Julie overseeing our Oasis Tutoring program in Brownsburg!

click to read

Tutor Tuesday – For an additional literacy lesson and video read aloud, you are invited to view the blog for all Oasis Tutors.

Your feedback on this blog and suggestions for future blog topics are appreciated.  Please reply below or by email.

Until next week!