Idioms are creative little gems found in every language. In English, linguists estimate there are over 25,000 idiomatic phrases! For those of you in the dark about what an idiom is, an idiom is a phrase that means something entirely different than the literal meaning of the words.
Many of us don’t even realize how often we use idioms in our everyday conversations, but they’re everywhere! Given their prominence, we ought to start teaching them early on. Here are 5 activities you can use to start teaching idioms today!
Start by folding a piece of paper in half. On one side, write the idiom; on the other side, write what the phrase means. Then, draw an illustration of the idiom’s literal meaning and compare it with an illustration of the actual meaning.
This is a great activity for the visual and kinesthetic learners as they get to create and visualize the meaning of the phrases. We think these idioms would be great choices to use for this activity:
*Let the cat out of the bag
*Get your ducks in a row
*Raining cats and dogs
*Barking up the wrong tree
*Elephant in the room
Keep a running list of idioms in your classroom. Each class can have a separate list. Motivate your students by offering a reward for the class that comes up with the most idioms by a certain date. You can challenge your students by not allowing any repeated idioms across classes.
This activity will excite students by evoking some friendly competition. It will also motivate your students to look for idioms outside of the classroom. You might even be surprised by how many idioms they come up with!
If you are somewhat tech savvy, you won’t have any difficulty creating this fun game for your students. On a word processor, design a set of idiom cards by creating pairs with one card displaying an idiom and it’s matching card displaying the actual meaning. Flip the cards over and students can take turns trying to find matches.
Multiple students can play at the same time, and in the end, the student with the most idiom card pairs wins. Both visual and logical learners will appreciate this reason-based memory game.
This activity is perfect for those times when you can tell students need to get up and move their bodies. Prepare for this activity by creating a set of flash cards with idioms written on them. Tape the idioms around the room. Next, give each student a list of two or three translations of the idiom. Each student will need to get up and find the idioms that match their translations.
This activity is great for the kinesthetic learners and gives students an opportunity to practice critical thinking and analysis.
Establish an idiom of the week in your classroom. Each week, introduce a new idiom and explain its meaning to the students. Try to model the idiom by using it as much as you can during the week. Give students a point each time they use the idiom correctly and see who wins the most points at the end of the week.
To make it more interesting, allow the winner to choose next week’s idiom. This activity requires very little preparation and gives students a chance to practice using idioms naturally.
Now that you’ve got a handle on what idioms are and how to teach them, you’re ready to introduce this creative aspect of language to your students! Still hungry for more ideas? Check out 5 more idiom activities you can use.
Which activity are you most excited to use with your students?