- Fourth Grade
- 55 minutes
- Standards: L.4.5.B
Idioms will be a piece of cake when students finish this fun lesson! Students practice illustrating and explaining common idioms.
Students will be able to explain literal and figurative meaning of idioms.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Gather your students together and explain that today they will be working with figurative language.
- Explain that figurative language is a word or phrase that does not have its normal everyday, literal meaning.
- Tell students that writers use figurative language to make comparisons, and to help the reader create a more vivid picture of the text.
- Ask students to describe a time when someone used a word or saying to describe something that was different from the word's literal, or normal, everyday, meaning. Give them a few examples of metaphors, similes, or idioms if they're confused.
- Tell students that today’s lesson will be a piece of cake!
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- Write the phrase a piece of cake on the whiteboard. Ask students what "a piece of cake" means.
- Display a picture of a piece of cake on the whiteboard. Ask students to describe the experience of eating a piece of cake. Guide your students toward answers such as enjoyable, easy, fun, delicious, etc. Record answers on the board.
- Explain that when someone describes something as being "a piece of cake," they mean that it is easy.
- Tell your students that "a piece of cake" is an example of an idiom. Define an idiom as as a saying that has a meaning that's different than the literal meaning of the phrase.
- Give your class several other examples of idioms and their meanings. Great suggestions include: sick as a dog, jump the gun, get cold feet, be in the same boat, etc.
- Pass out a copy of the Idioms set to each student.
- Review the literal and figurative pictures for the "under the weather" idiom.
- Discuss the meaning of "under the weather" with your students. Great discussion questions include: What does under the weather mean? Why do you think someone would say that about feeling sick?
- Write a sentence using "under the weather" correctly on the board.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- Assign partners for your class, or have each student find someone to work with.
- Instruct each pair of students to choose two idioms from the lists at the bottom of the Common Idioms worksheet.
- Tell your students to illustrate the literal meaning and figurative meaning of each of their chosen idioms. They must also write a sentence at the bottom of each picture to explain the idiom.
- If time permits, gather students together so they can share their pictures and idioms.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- Instruct your students to complete the Idioms: A Figure of Speech worksheet.
- Enrichment: Students in need of a greater challenge should find and illustrate idioms from their independent reading books.
- Support: Gather students who need extra support into a small group, and share a few samples of similes and/or metaphors with them. This will help students begin to grasp the concept of figurative language. Discuss how using metaphors can make writing and reading more interesting, and that context clues can be used to figure out what unknown idioms can mean. Supply pictures showing literal interpretations of idioms and figurative meanings side-by-side. Concentrate on having the student describe the relationship between the two meanings.
Related Books and/or Media
- Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms by Marvin Terban
Assessment (10 minutes)
- Collect the Idioms: A Figure of Speech worksheet to check to see if your class understands the concept of idioms.
- Circulate as students work and question their conclusions about various idioms.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Have students gather together. Review the definition of idioms.
- Have students share a favorite idiom they would like to use in a future piece of writing. Ask how idioms help writers improve their writing.