Creativity in the classroom – idioms

 

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Levels: B1/B2/C1/C2

(You could easily pick and choose appropriate idioms for each level and age group but try to avoid teaching idioms to beginners. It might be confusing at this very initial stage of learning.)

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

Aims: To enhance students´ knowledge in the lexical field of idiomatic expressions/To encourage group work and autonomous learning/ To encourage creativity in the classroom

Time: +/- 1 h 20 minutes

Materials: Camera – if you choose the picture option/Card/Scissors/Coloured pencils or board markers/Handouts 1 and 2

 

  1. What am I about to draw?

Start drawing a picture on the board, but only one line of it. Ask your students the following question:

What am I about to draw?

“a bridge”, “a square”, “a line”, etc.

Add the next line and ask the above question again. Keep doing this until eventually a student guesses the picture connected with the lesson topic:

acupoftea

+/- 5 min

2. What are idioms?

Show your students the picture of Christina illustrating “not my cup of tea” idiom (or any other picture you find appropriate):

This is Chris illustrating a very popular English idiom. Can you guess which one_Happy creating! (2)

 

Tell the students that you invited Christina to go fishing with you last week but she politely refused, saying that fishing wasn´t her cup of tea.

Elicit the meaning:

Not one´s cup of tea (idiom): If something is not your cup of tea, it is not the type of thing that you like.

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/not-be-sb-s-cup-of-tea?q=not+be++sb%27s++cup+of+tea

Ask your students to give you a definition of an idiom:

Idiom (noun): A group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meaning of each word on its own.

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/idiom

Do they know any idioms in English? How about their own language?

Do they often use idioms? Do they think it´s important to learn idioms? Why/why not?

Have a brief class feedback.

+/- 10 minutes

3. Matching activity (Handout 1)

 

Have the students work in pairs and ask them to match the idioms to their meanings.

Handout 1 idioms

I have chosen 8 popular idioms that I thought were fairly easy to illustrate. Feel free to use a different set of idioms. You know best what your students need and like.

Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

Have a brief class feedback.

+/- 10 minutes

4. Idioms in context (Handout 2)

Have your students work in pairs again and complete the sentences using the idioms from Handout 1:

Handout 2 idioms

Have a brief class feedback

+/-10 minutes

5. Idioms illustrated

Option 1: DRAWINGS

Tell the students that it is sometimes easier to remember words or expressions if they have a visual image. Divide the class into groups, distribute all the materials (card, scissors, coloured pencils or board markers) and ask them to make a drawing illustrating one of the idioms from Handout 1.

For higher levels you can ask the students to make a drawing of any idiom of their choice.

When they have finished, ask the groups to swap the drawings and guess each others´ idioms!

+/- 30 min

Option 2: PHOTOGRAPHS

Show your students the following picture and ask them to guess the idiom (Bite the bullet):

This is Chris illustrating a very popular English idiom. Can you guess which one_Happy creating!

You can also use this one as an example (Couch potato):

This is Kasia illustrating a very popular English idiom. Can you guess which one_Happy creating! (1)

Tell the students that it is sometimes easier to remember words or expressions if they have a visual image. Divide the class into groups and have them decide which idiom from Handout 1 they would like to illustrate in a photograph.

Have them brainstorm ideas and think of different objects they might need. Ask the students to bring in the objects to the next lesson. Students can use their phones to take pictures or, if you prefer, bring your own camera. Have students create visual images to present their assigned idioms.

When they have finished, ask the groups to swap the photographs and guess each others´ idioms! You can have them projected on the board.

+/- 30 min

For both options, have the students create a classroom display with their wonderful work!

How do you teach idioms? I would love to hear from you!

Happy creating!

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