Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Pet Peeve Turns into a Decent Lesson Plan

Nah, I guess it's not really a pet peeve anymore.

Sometimes people pair the word literally with idioms to emphasize their point, and though I suppose it used to bother me, now it's just fun to picture that they're serious about the literal part. I've accepted that it's okay for words to evolve, and I'm certainly guilty of butchering the English language at times. I often accidentally combine idioms and when it comes to those "she gave him her number" type sentences, there's little to no chance I'll get all of the pronouns right on my first shot.

So, I've given up my annoying grammar Nazi ways. Besides there are much more important things to be angry about these days than grammar, like how come Apple Jacks don't taste like apples? And what's the deal with airline food?

BUT! Before I accepted this I came up with a pretty fun lesson to teach my students about idioms and the meaning of literally. I don't want to toot my own hat, but this lesson is the cream of the cake!

I begin the lesson by explaining what idioms are, then give an example idiom. They make a guess of what it means, and I show the picture illustrating its figurative meaning. Then I show them a picture of what it would mean if we meant it literally. 

For example: I laughed my head off.

I literally laughed my head off.

It's raining cats and dogs!

It's literally raining cats and dogs.

After we've gone through several, the students choose an idiom and illustrate the figurative and literal meaning on this idiom worksheet. It's literally a blast.

Here's the PowerPoint slideshow I use for the idiom lesson, though it's sped up a bit. It's great fun. And yes there is a goofy sound clip at the beginning, which I normally think is weird for PowerPoint presentations. But kids, they like those goofy sound clips.


I even have a version with cutesy sounds for every slide, but I've spared you. You're welcome.

Here's the link for the Idiom PowerPoint download. It's good for 2nd grade - 5th grade, I'd say.

Also, if you can think of any other idioms that could be represented by a drawing fairly easily (both figuratively and literally), let me know! I'd like to add more.


  1. You should post the version with the cutesy sounds for every slide, for those of us who would like that.

    This is great material! I love your illustrations.

  2. Ditto on the illustrations. And what a great lesson idea. Every English speaker needs to see this.