Idioms are Easier than Finding Needles in a Haystack

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SWBAT understand idioms and represent them visually.

Big Idea

Students represent idioms visually to help them understand the abstract meaning of idioms.


5 minutes

Idioms are common place in the English language. They are used so often that people don't often even think about it when they use them. Students hear them all the time on tv, from their friends and family, and in books. This lesson is meant to bring into focus the idioms that students hear and help them understand their meanings.

I introduce this lesson by sharing a few idioms out loud, asking students if they have every heard someone say or read in a book phrases like, "a needle in a haystack" or "work up on the wrong side of the bed," or "stop acting like a chicken".  Students instantly perk up and say that they have and are even excited about sharing others that they have heard. These phrases are idioms which are figures of speech or saying that convery a different meaning about the topic the phrase is about.

Main Activity

25 minutes

I ask students to share an idiom they have heard. Each idiom students share, they also share what it means. If they don't know, I help them with the meaning. I ask about 5 - 10 students to share. 

I demonstrate the task with the idiom, "A needle in a haystack". I write it down at the top of my paper and draw a picture of a haystack and a stick figure person trying to find a needle (colored silver). At the bottom of the picture I write, "Meaning: something that is very difficult to do or find."

For this activity, I give students a list of idioms as a point of reference. They can choose one they already know or one they have never heard of before. I will help them with the meanings of the ones they never heard of. They are to creat a visual representation of the idiom with the idiom quotes, the picture representing the idiom, and then the meaning of the idiom at the bottom. 


5 minutes

To close, students get a chance to share their picture under the document camera to the entire class. They present it with the idiom and the meaning of the idiom. 

I encourage students to continue to keep an eye out for idioms because they are so common. And when they hear them, they shoud also think about the meaning behind them and how it connects to the situation they are hearing them in.