Meadow: a pasture, a grassy place, a field
Dizzy: a spinning feeling
When have you tried something new? Was it easy or hard? Did you stop or keep going?
What made you keep trying? After reading this story, do you want to try again?
What do you think you can do now to succeed or to reach your goal?
Idiom: A phrase or expression with a meaning different from the meanings
of the individual words. Idioms are sometimes referred to as "figures
of speech" or "colloquialisms". Idioms are particularly
confusing to non-native language speakers, or to those from different
dialects or regional areas.
- What do you think these mean?
- as easy as pie
- raining cats and dogs
- your birthday suit
- Sometimes different idioms have similar meanings
- compare "down in the dumps" and "under the weather"
- Sometimes phrases that seem similar have different meanings
- compare "hit the books" and "hit the hay"
- Sometimes it's just fun to imagine what they might look like! Try these:
- blow your top
- a bee in your bonnet
- a dirty look
- butterflies in your stomach
- wild goose chase
- jump down someone's throat
- keep your hair on
- working for peanuts
Suggested unit study — Idioms:
Have your students collect idioms by asking parents, looking online, etc. and write
them all on a large sheet of paper posted in the class.
(Or click here to visit English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions .)
Discuss what they mean vs. what they would mean if taken literally.
Have each student choose an idiom and draw a picture or poster that depicts his
or her idiom taken literally. For example:
- How would you make a pig fly?
- What would it look like if it was raining cats and dogs?
- How would you "hold your horses"?
Collect the pictures in a classroom "dictionary" of idioms, or display
their posters on the class wall or hallway.
- Word lists –
Choose an idiom and brainstorm with your students about words that might describe that idiom.
For example, "Butterflies in your stomach":
Do three or four word lists and then have students choose one and write a poem or story about that idiom's meaning
that uses the words on the list. For example, "my first ballet recital" might cause butterflies in my stomach,
a tickly, wiggly feeling as I wait to go on stage.
- Idioms in the News –
Have each student write a "news" story based on an idiom's literal meaning.
For example, "Visiting Goose Keeps Park Attendants Busy" (wild goose chase).
Create a class newspaper with the student stories.
Alternate activity: Set up a "newsdesk" in the classroom and have each student read their story for
speaking/oral component requrements.
Other reading that demonstrates idioms:
- Monkey Business
written & illustrated by Wallace Edwards. ISBN 1-55337-462-2
- Once In a Blue Moon
by Nicola Morgan. ISBN 0-19-540881-0
- The Rainmaker
by Barbara Todd, illustrated by Rogé. ISBN 1-55037-775-2
- Bats about Baseball
by Jean Little & Claire Mackay, illustrated by Kim LaFave. ISBN 0-670-85270-8
- There's a Frog in My Throat: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me
by Loreen Leedy & Pat Street. ISBN 978-0823418190