Lesson plan

That Old Cliché

Once in a blue moon, you will have students who completely understand clichés but they can be few and far between. In this lesson, your students will explore how clichés are popular, but overused.
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Students will understand the origins and meaning of certain clichés.

(10 minutes)
  • As an introduction to this lesson, use sticky notes to post the following prompt (cliché): Time heals all wounds.
  • Ask all students to suggest a meaning for the prompt.
  • Have students volunteer to share their thoughts.
  • They may come up with answers similar to this: “pain and misery get easier as time passes by.”
  • Tell students that the prompt is a figure of speech known as a cliché.
  • Tell students that clichés are phrases and opinions that usually express a popular thought or idea but have been overused so much that they have lost their originality and impact.
  • Have students identify the meaning of the analogy and reveal if the cliché has any real meaning for them.
  • Explain to students that in this lesson, they will understand the meaning of words and phrases that are clichés.
(10 minutes)
  • Write an example of a cliché on the board like the following: Don’t cry over spilled milk.
  • You can also use any examples from the That Old Cliché: List worksheet.
  • Have students identify the meaning of this expression (don’t be upset over things that have already happened and you cannot change).
(10 minutes)
  • Have students work in pairs or small groups to complete the That Old Cliché: Guided Practice worksheet.
(25 minutes)
  • Using the That Old Cliché: List, have students identify ten clichés that they are familiar with.
  • Tell students that in addition to those directions, they must summarize their definition and use each cliché in a sentence.
  • Enrichment: Allow advanced students to create a product of their choice that illustrates their understanding of clichés.
  • Support: Have struggling students work with you or a partner to create a paragraph that includes clichés they know.

An interactive whiteboard can be used to display examples as students identify clichés throughout the lesson.

(5 minutes)
  • Review the basic definition of clichés.
  • Have students write their explanations and examples on a notecard or exit ticket.
(5 minutes)
  • Recap today’s lesson
  • Have students explain in their own words what they learned today.
  • Allow students to ask questions that they still have.

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