Take a Walk with Idioms
Students will be able to determine the meaning of an idiom using contextual clues.
- 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.”)
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling(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.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling(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.
Independent Working Time(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.
- 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.
Review and Closing(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.