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Teaching idioms book project: for when you need a break!

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Sometimes you just need a break and to assign something that students can complete independently so you can have a minute. This can be challenging in a class of ELLs because often times things that you THINK are going to be able to be completed independently, really end up with the students needing tons of help and asking you a million questions. Well, teaching idioms with this book and dialogue project is all laid out for you and relatively straightforward. I can’t guarantee that students won’t be asking you a ton of questions, but it should be limited.

I like this project because you can throw it in any time and it is always useful to ELLs. Kids will often come into my room and ask me specifically about idiomatic expressions they’ve heard. I have often done an “idiom” of the week instead of a quote of the week. I also like to do an idiom project at least once throughout the year.

I just finished this idiom book project with my high school classes. We had some awkward time between finishing up the state ACCESS testing and the start of winter vacation, so I thought an independent project was in order. I did this project a few years ago, but I wasn’t happy with it. This is this project’s second upgrade. Find it in my freebie library. 

You can get a copy of the project by joining my Freebie Library

I’m pleased with the results and also pleased with the projects the kids created. I took care to try and make the project accessible. I wanted everyone– even my low-level ELLs to be able to do it independently. You will notice that it has some built-in differentiation. There is more differentiation you can include if needed:

  • assign fewer idioms
  • have lower level students skip writing the paragraphs
  • provide information that you already sourced for the students on the origins of some of the idioms
  • model writing a paragraph on the origin of an idiom

There is a small research and writing component to the project as well to make it more rigorous. You could add more writing or omit the paragraphs altogether depending on that class you have. The project includes a criteria for success for the idiom book and a rubric to grade it on. The second part of the project asks students to create a dialogue using their idioms, in pairs and present to the class.

Happy teaching!


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