January 31, 2017
by Sarah Sumnicht
Lesson Plan:

Take a Walk with Idioms

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EL Adjustments
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Students will be able to determine the meaning of an idiom using contextual clues.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL Adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Give an example of an idiom in the form of a statement or question (e.g. “Wow! It’s raining cats and dogs out there!” or “I forgot my umbrella today. Is anyone else in the same boat?”)
  • On scratch paper, have students interpret what you said by drawing a quick sketch. Invite a few students to share with the class. (Note: Some students might draw the figurative meaning while others will draw a literal interpretation. This exercise will serve as a quick pre-assessment.)
  • Tell students that an idiom is not meant to be taken literally and provide the meaning of the idiom you used as a hook (e.g. “When I said it was raining cats and dogs I didn’t really mean that cats and dogs are falling from the sky. That is an idiom, which is a figure of speech that means it is raining really hard.”)
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that every language has its own unique collection of sayings that have cultural meaning. These sayings, or idioms, are not meant to be taken literally; they are metaphorical.
  • Remind students that sometimes it can be hard to understand an idiom the first time you hear it because it doesn’t mean exactly what it sounds like.
  • Read a short book that contains idioms, like Amelia Bedelia’s First Field Trip.
  • Have students talk with a partner and come up with two or more examples of idioms they heard in the story. Call on students to share and record their examples on a chart or on the board.
(15 minutes)
  • Hand out pre-prepared index cards to students so that half of the students in class have a card with an idiom and the other half have a card with the meaning of an idiom.
  • Have students walk around the classroom looking for their partner so that by the end, all partners end up with a corresponding idiom and meaning. Guide or support students as needed.
  • Have pairs of students share their idiom and meaning with the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the Idioms: Picture This! worksheet.
  • Circulate the room as students work and provide support as needed.
  • When students are finished, review the worksheet as a class and allow a few students to share their drawings with the class.


  • Provide students with a list of common idioms.
  • Color-code the index cards used during the walkabout activity so that the cards with an idiom are written in one color and the cards with a meaning are written in a different color.


  • Have students keep a running log of the idioms they find in their reading or create a chart in your classroom for students to record the idioms they find.
  • Have students research idioms from other cultures.
  • Write several idioms on the board and ask students to choose one to use in a sentence.
(10 minutes)
  • Use the Idioms in Context worksheet as a formative assessment.
  • Collect finished independent practice worksheet and check for understanding.
  • Use observations from guided and independent practice to identify students who will need additional support.
(5 minutes)
  • Read sentences from the Idioms: A Figure of Speech worksheet aloud.
  • Ask students to turn and discuss with a partner before calling on a volunteer to explain what they think the idiom means.
  • Call on students to rephrase the definition of idiom and explain their purpose in the English language.

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