Idioms Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson plan to teach your students about the figurative language technique of using idioms. Then play a game with students to reinforce the concept.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define the term 'idiom'
  • identify idioms in text


  • 1 hour


  • Idioms, written on strips of paper and folded
  • Basket or bag to hold idioms

Key Vocabulary

  • Figurative
  • Literal
  • Idiom

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


  • Begin by defining idioms. Explain the difference between 'figurative' and 'literal.' Share a few examples, then ask students to share some with their table partners.
  • Ask students if they've ever wondered where idioms come from. Why do we say, 'It's raining cats and dogs,' or wonder if the cat has your tongue?
  • Read our lesson What Is an Idiom? - Definition & Examples as a class. Have students take notes.
  • As you work through the examples, create a T-chart labeled 'Figurative' and 'Literal.' Write the idiom and work with students to identify the literal meaning.
  • Allow students to work independently on some idioms. If you think those that originated with Shakespeare won't work, you can provide a list of your own. Check for understanding.
  • After finishing the text lesson, discuss:
    • Why do authors use idioms?
    • Why are idioms difficult for non-native speakers?
    • Do you prefer literal or figurative language? Explain.


  • Divide students into two teams. Explain that you will be playing charades with idioms.
  • Review the rules of charades. Have one student choose a teacher-provided idiom and act it out while the team guesses.
  • Add new idioms on the T-chart.
  • For an exit slip, have students create their own idiom.


  • Exchange student-created idioms. Allow students to write the literal meaning. Share.
  • Ask students to bring in samples of idioms from songs to class. Examine and discuss.
  • Find idioms in fairy tales and other familiar stories.

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