The Big Cheese (and Other Idioms)
These creative lessons on expressive language will “sell like hotcakes” with your students.
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Idiom Games Idioms are common, everyday expressions with figurative meanings. When taken literally, idioms don't make much sense, but they do offer great opportunities for creative thinking, humor, and word play. Kick off your study with the Know Your Idioms Reproducible, below. Give groups of three or four students notecards with unfamiliar idioms. Then get students' knowledge of idioms soaring with these classroom games. • Idiom Bluffs: Each group writes the real definition and two false definitions on the back of each idiom card. Later, give the group a chance to read its cards and have the rest of the class guess the true definition. • Idiom Pictionary: Each student takes one idiom card. If the idiom is not well-known, the student can check the meaning. He or she draws a quick picture of the literal meaning and invites the group to guess the idiom.Eat Your Idiom Give students some food for thought as they create a plateful of idiom snacks. Brainstorm a list of idioms having to do with food and eating, such as "apple of your eye" and "go bananas." Invite students to make idiom snacks by cutting food shapes out of construction paper and writing the idiom on the shape. Then have them use glue sticks to attach the shapes to paper plates. Display these full plates with the headline Eat Your Idioms. Extra! Extra! Give your class a chance to participate in a group project by hitting the stands with an issue of The Idiom Times. Begin by brainstorming popular idioms that are related to school activities, such as "hitting the books," "buckling down," or "saved by the bell." Invite individual students or small groups of students to write hilarious and quick newspaper-style stories that play on the literal meaning of idioms. Here's an example: "Students Buckle Down! Several students were found buckled to their chairs in the library. Teachers are attempting to solve this problem...." Collect articles and combine them into a class newsletter issue of The Idiom Times or post the stories on a bulletin board. Students may wish to create illustrations to accompany their articles.