“You are the apple of my eye” is a common idiom that is often misunderstood by students. While some students understand that this sentence has to do with a person who is cherished by another. Others think that there is actually an apple in someone’s eye. Idioms are tough to teach and difficult for some children to understand. Here is a list of resources for teaching idioms.
Eye on Idioms is an activity on readwritethink.org. The activity gives a sentence with a blank in the middle. Students need to fill in the blank with an idiom. A drop down menu provides a list of idioms to choose from. A picture at the top of the page gives a literal interpretation of the correct idiom. Then, there are spaces to write the metaphorical meaning of the idiom and use the idiom in a sentence.
Try out a fun idiom game that kids can play independently. Kids get to choose a theme and a game option. During the game, children either have to choose the meaning of the idiom or see the meaning and click on the idiom. If they get the answer right, they get a picture, and each subsequent correct answer gets a portion of the picture colored. Find this game on funbrain.com.
Test kids with an online quiz. Children read a story about feet and then they take a quiz. There are a lot of idioms about feet. Read the story and take the quiz at librarythink.org.
Choose from four games at quia.com. There is a matching game, flashcards, concentration and a wordsearch.
One of the best ways to teach idioms is to provide examples and discuss what they mean. For instance, ask students if they have ever heard of the phrase, “it’s raining cats and dogs.” If students do not understand, ask them if it can rain cats and dogs. If it can’t, then what might someone mean if they said It’s raining cats and dogs. Make sure to chart your responses. For more ideas, like this try these lesson plans from readwritethink.org. One of lesson plans features the book, In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban. It requires students to research the idioms and then be able to explain its origins and the metaphorical meaning. This is a good book to revisit after the lesson to reinforce the meaning of certain idioms.
With idioms, exposure is important. There are many idioms so it is essential to reinforce the meaning of idioms.
Do some independent practice with this worksheet from education.com. Students read sentences and have to write down the meaning of the highlighted idiom.
Find a great list of idiom books at amazon.com. My favorite is Mad as a Wet Hen and other funny idioms by Marvin Terban.
Now it’s time to start planning some lessons.
Mad as a Wet Hen and other funny idioms by MarvinTerban