Plus, they’re fun! Idioms are a way to add color to our language (both written and verbal), extend vocabulary and deepen our understanding of the message. They come up frequently and can be a particularly difficult concept for ESL students.
For many students, idioms can be confusing especially if they aren’t adept at using contextual cues. Yet a literal interpretation can completely change the message. Would you really want to lose your head over something?!
I recently created a packet targeting figurative language that can be used with students from Gr. 2-middle grades.
First are sets of flashcards with idioms and definitions. The flashcard sets are organized by category type (ex. idioms with color words).
Since the flashcards are done in pairs, you can use them for traditional pair games like Memory or Go Figure! which is simply a renaming of Go Fish! for figurative language. Or you can use them for a sorting/matching activity. (Yes, even older students will play Go Figure! It’s a welcome diversion from typical drill.)
Categories/numbers at the top of each card, allow students to check their work during the practice phase and make for easy sorting.
The next section includes worksheets specific to the idiom category. Each category will have one or two specific worksheets to accompany it. Answer keys for worksheets appear immediately following the worksheet itself.
Older students will be particularly interested in the music lyrics activities. Drawing on Top 40 songs from the past 18 months, students will learn a variety of idioms, definitions and have a chance to put their musical expertise on display as they match songs/artists to the lyrics. Get ready to have them show you up! (Answer key provided)
Finally, there are three generic worksheet activities that can be used with any idiom set.
This packet contains over 150 idioms in the following categories: weather, luck, animals, food, feelings, speed, colors, money, body parts and song lyrics.
What’s your favorite idiom or one that seems to pertain to you most often? I like “hold your horses” and “stars in her eyes.”