Idioms vs. Hyperboles: How Word Choice Affects my Reading

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SWBAT determine the meanings of hyperboles and idioms in written expression.

Big Idea

Saying this! Meaning that! Whatever! I can't take those words back!

Lesson Introduction

Students have been studying various genres of oral tradition to understand how the use of storytelling defines cultures and central ideas. Among the stories told, words and phrases such as hyperbole or idioms are used to bring literal and figurative meanings to text. A hyperbole is an exaggerated statement or claim that is not meant to be taken literally. In contrast, idioms are regional speech or dialect that gives an expression that's not to be understood from the individual meanings of the words used in the phrase. In this lesson, students will look at these various forms of wording to determine its impact on storytelling.

Warm-Up: Idioms Reworded

15 minutes

To hook students into the wonderful world of sayings, they work in pairs to complete the idioms handout. Students have 15 minutes to discover the meanings of as many idioms as they can. I am aware of the many idioms that students have not heard before. However, the use of context clues can help students discover meanings in each phrase. Once time is up, I designate a student to share the answers with the entire class. 

Guided Practice: Playing around with Idioms and Hyperboles

7 minutes

Idioms will not be the only concept discussed in today's lesson. Students will enjoy this video clip of a battle between two fictional characters where one character uses hyperboles or exaggerations to defeat his opponent. Helpful Hint:  Students need to have a high level of maturity to (1) understand the negative nature of the clip while (2) understanding that the video was intentionally made to explore the extreme realities that hyperboles create in reality.

Independent Practice: Annotate Poem for Impact of Word Choice

20 minutes

The above activities gave students practice with identifying and transcribing the meaning of hyperbole and idioms in our daily speech. For the remaining time, students will first read Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Would Not Take the Garbage Out. To annotate, students highlight all examples of hyperboles and write an explanation in the margins of what it means in regards to the central ideas found in the poem. See a front and back side student paper for answers recorded during this activity.

To extend this learning for students, have them find other poetic elements in the poem such as rhyme, alliteration, and symbolism. This extension video on Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout will allow you to see how these other elements are embedded within the text. While the intention of the lesson is to study exaggerations in literature, additional elements can be explored to review the distinct elements that makes this genre unique.