Activities Using Idioms
A Flash in the pan
Language Arts/Art Make a bulletin board of idioms. First have students collect as many as possible and then select which ones they will illustrate. Start with the easy ones, such as a flash in the pan, footing the bill, in the nick of time, raining cats and dogs.
Brainstorm expressions that use the word time, like "time of your life," "time is money" and "time flies." How would you explain what these idioms mean to someone who doesn't speak English?
Language After reading the following poem aloud to your class, have your students look up other English idioms about the heart. Have them write a sentence that shows the correct usage for the idiom. Then have students write a humorous question for every idiom and exchange papers. Discuss or write out answers for one another.
Heart-to Heart Questions
by Jacqueline Schiff
Gee, when you lose heart,
Where could it be?
On the seat of your school bus?
Up in a tree?
When your heart rules your head
And you give it a rub,
Do you hear your brain beating
With a lub and a dub?
When your heart's in your mouth,
How does it taste?
Like liver with onions?
Like pig's feet? Like paste?
When your heart's in your boots,
Are your boots feeling tight?
Are you half-hearted in left foot
And half-hearted in right?
When you pour out your heart,
What will it fill?
A gas station pump?
The Mississippi River?
When you finish this rhyme,
Will you learn it by heart
Or learn it by nose
As you sniff every part?
Understanding Idioms Is a Piece of Cake
Students can work cooperatively to discuss the meaning of some common English idioms and illustrate the "fun" interpretations of those idioms.
Language Give each student a strip of paper on which is written an idiom, such as "walking on eggshells." Ask students to illustrate what the idiom says on the left-hand side of a drawing paper and write what it actually means on the right-hand side. How can these idioms cause difficulty for people just learning our language? What is the purpose of idioms?
Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms
In this lesson, students explore figurative language with a focus on the literal versus the metaphorical translations of idioms. Through read-alouds, teacher modeling, and student-centered activities that are presented in the classroom, students will further develop their understanding of figurative language.