June 16, 2015
by Theresa Talley
Lesson Plan:

Figure of Speech Bubble Cartoons

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Students will understand what idioms are and be able to use them to write expressive cartoon captions.

(10 minutes)
  • Gather students together and ask them to think of funny sayings they’ve heard from parents or other adults that don’t make sense in the literal, or exact, meaning. For example: Don’t cry over spilled milk.
  • You can then give the figurative meaning of your example. Explain that figurative meanings are the opposite of literal meanings, and are often used for drama or comparison. For example, the figurative meaning of the sentence above is: Don't whine about something that already happened that you can’t do anything about.
  • Explain that these are wise sayings, or idioms, that are meant to remind people of previously learned lessons.
  • Encourage students to share other idioms they may have heard. Write any down on the board that fit into the figurative language category.
  • Explain that an idiom is called a “figure of speech” and that understanding it works best when creating a figure, or a picture, in our heads to describe it.
  • Explain that the class will create cartoon pictures and speech bubbles to describe some of the figures of speech learned today.
(5 minutes)
  • Direct students to return to their desks and distribute the A Figure of Speech worksheets.
  • Project a list of idioms and their definitions using an interactive whiteboard or projector.
  • Ask a volunteer to read "a piece of cake" and its definition. Direct students to point to the first item on the worksheet referring to “a piece of cake.” Choral-read with the class that item: “I knew every answer on the math test. It was a piece of cake.” Instruct them to use their own words to describe what this idiom means in this context.
(20 minutes)
  • Project a copy of the A Figure of Speech worksheet.
  • Ask a volunteer to come up and write his or her answer for the first worksheet item on the board.
  • Direct students to complete the worksheet, thinking about what each highlighted idiom means and to write at least one sentence describing what it means in the lines below the item.
  • Ask if there are any questions. If needed, complete the next item on the board as a whole group.
  • Rotate around the room as students complete the worksheet.
  • After all of your students are finished with the worksheet, have them circle the one they liked the most.
  • Display the example of a cartoon and point out the speech bubbles. Describe them as a kind of “text box” for a character’s words.
  • Draw an example on the board. For example, draw two stick figures under an umbrella with rain pelting down. Add a speech bubble above them with the words “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
  • Maximize the list of idioms and tell students that they may choose an idiom from that list or use one from the worksheet for their figure of speech bubble cartoon.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute paper and pencils and ask if there are any questions on the figure of speech bubble cartoons.
  • Assure students that the drawings can be very simple, like stick figures, but that it must relate to the idiom.
  • Rotate around the room to assist as needed.
  • Enrichment: Challenge students to make up new idioms. Alternatively, students can create an entire comic strip using only idioms for the speech bubbles.
  • Support: Pair students for guided and independent practice to assist struggling writers. Encourage student to choose an idiom from the worksheet for independent practice to help narrow down what is needed for the picture, or have them copy the teacher example from the board.
(15 minutes)
  • Have students present cartoons to the group.
  • Collect cartoons for closing session and to later assess for a performance grade.
(10 minutes)
  • Use the student cartoons to make a list of idioms used. Put a tally mark by the idiom each time it is used.
  • Ask the class which idiom is the most popular and why they think that is.
  • Have students pair and share with a partner which idiom was their favorite and why.

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