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Culture Lesson Plan


TEACHER: Gwen Priddis
LEVEL: Intermediate
AGE: High school students


Materials needed:

TIME: 25-35 min.

BUSINESS ITEMS: Call roll, give the announcements


Review any of the words used in the idioms that the students may not understand.


Instruction: (5-10 min.)

Depending on the number of students in the class, you will want to divide the class into small groups and have a word strip with an idiom written on it for each group. Divide the class into small groups and show each group their idiom phrase. As soon as each group has been shown their idiom, tape the idioms on the board where they can be seen by all the groups.

Hand out a blank sheet of paper to each student and ask them to draw a picture which describes what their group's idiom. For example, if their idiom was to be two-faced, they could draw something like:

Give the students about 3-5 min. to draw their pictures. Tell them to draw them big enough so that they can be seen by the whole class.

When the students are finished drawing their pictures, have each group get up one by one and tell the class what their idiom was as they show the class their pictures. After each group is finished, ask them something like: *Do you think that when people say, *That person is two-faced,* it means that the person really has two faces like the students in this group drew?* Proceed by asking them what they think the idiom might really mean. At this point don't tell them what the real meaning is.

Practice: (5-10 min.)

Activity 1:
Hand out a paper to each group with their idiom used in a sentence. As a group, have them read the sentence and figure out what they think the meaning of the idiom is and write it down on the paper. After each group has finished, have them get up in front of the class, read the sentence to the class and tell the class what they decided the meaning of the idiom is.

After each group has gotten up and explained the meaning of their idiom, have them sit back down and put the word strip Idiom on the board. Tell the class that the phrases that they draw and figured out the meanings to are called *Idioms.* Ask them what they think the definition of an idiom is.

Definition of an idiom: a group of words that say one thing but mean another.

Evaluation: (5 min.)

Have the students choose one of the idioms on the boardthat and write a sentence using the idiom. Make sure the sentence is more complex than, *She is two-faced.* Have them write something so that the meaning of the idiom can be understood from the sentence. Have a few of the students share what they wrote with the class.


Ask the students why it is important to learn idioms. Have each of them go home and use an idiom while they are talking to someone.

NEXT TIME (preview):

Have some of the students share what they said to someone the day before using the idiom.


If the activity doesn't take as long as it should, have the class members switch papers with the idioms used in a sentence and repeat Activity 1.

Variations to the activity: After having each group figure out the meaning of the idiom, have each student write down a few sentences underneath the picture that they drew using the idiom in a way that the meaning of the idiom is understood. A few of these could then be shared with the class.


I taught part of this lesson to a group of students in class. I think that the introduction went well, but I didn't have a lot of time to conclude it like I had wanted to. I didn't quite have 10 minutes for my lesson, so I cut out part of the conclusion. I had the class draw pictures of the idioms and figure out the meanings of the idioms through the sentences. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to talk about what idioms are.

I decided to take an inductive approach for teaching the idioms. I wanted the students to figure out the meanings of the idioms by themselves. I received a suggestion from one of class members to consider asking the students at the beginning of class if they know what an idiom is, but this approach wouldn't work. If I talked to them about idioms before I had them draw a picture of the idioms that I had chosen, then the results would be different, because they would already know that the phrase meant something different than what it says.

I received a few suggestions that I thought that I should take into consideration. One student suggested that I tell the students to draw their pictures big so that the whole class can see. I thought that was a good suggestion. Another student suggested teaching the idioms around a given theme. This will work for some idioms such as color idioms. I was trying to find commonly used idioms that would be fun to draw, but a theme is another good suggestion. Finally, it was suggested that if there was more time, the groups could exchange sentences for more practice. This is a good suggestion since the students could then become more familiar with more than one idiom.

I feel that learning idioms is important for the students. Idioms are used so often in our speech, that it is necessary for students to understand them in order to communicate effectively.

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1997 © Dr. Lynn E. Henrichsen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Saturday, June 7, 1997