Beacon Lesson Plan Library

It's Raining Idioms!

Kerry McMillen


Through illustrations and paraphrasing, students will analyze idioms in order to comprehend their literal meanings.


Florida Sunshine State Standards
The student distinguishes denotative and connotative meanings of words.

Florida Process Standards
Information Managers
01 Florida students locate, comprehend, interpret, evaluate, maintain, and apply information, concepts, and ideas found in literature, the arts, symbols, recordings, video and other graphic displays, and computer files in order to perform tasks and/or for enjoyment.

Effective Communicators
02 Florida students communicate in English and other languages using information, concepts, prose, symbols, reports, audio and video recordings, speeches, graphic displays, and computer-based programs.


-Chalkboard, chalk
-Old magazines
-Drawing paper
-Colored pencils or crayons
-List of idioms


1. Compile a list of idioms in case your students have difficulty naming examples or you do not have a literature selection to use.

2. Gather materials in supply list.

3. If appropriate, find a literature selection that has several examples of idioms.


1. Begin the lesson by saying in a dramatic voice to the students, You're in hot water now! or I've got a bone to pick with you! After getting the students' attention, ask them if they know what the expression means. Write responses on the board.

2. Explain to the students that they aren't really standing in hot water. It means that they are in trouble. Discuss the meaning of I've got a bone to pick with you!

3. Explain that expressions like these that mean something different from what the exact words seem to mean are called idioms. At this time, discuss the terms connotation and denotation as they relate to idioms.

4. Ask the students if they can think of other examples of idioms. Record responses on the board. You may have to suggest a few examples to get the ball rolling! You may also choose a literature selection that you know has examples of idioms and have the students scan the selection looking for them. Some suggestions are: That doesn't ring a bell with me. He's lost his marbles. You're skating on thin ice! The judge will throw the book at him. It's raining cats and dogs. Keep an eye on the baby for me. Money burns a hole in my pocket.

5. As the students give examples or find examples from the literature selection, discuss the literal meaning of the idiom.

Day 2

1. Review yesterday's discussion of idioms and the terms connotation and denotation. Distribute drawing paper. Tell the students to divide the paper in half. Choose one idiom and find pictures from magazines or draw your own illustrations to show what the expression would mean if you took it literally (if it meant exactly what the words say). Put the pictures or illustration on one half of the paper and write the idiom beneath the picture.

2. On the other half of the paper, find pictures or draw an illustration that shows what the idiom is generally thought to mean. Beneath the drawing, paraphrase the idiom explaining what it is generally thought to mean.

3. Have students share completed projects with the class. You may display them on a bulletin board.


Assessment of assignment will be based on the following rubric:

-Full Accomplishment (3) Student's illustration and paraphrasing clearly show the knowledge of an idiom if taken literally as well as what the idiom is generally thought to mean.

-Substantial Accomplishment (2) Student's illustration and paraphrasing make some distinction between the literal meaning of the idiom and what the idiom is thought to mean, but their interpretation is somewhat unclear.

-Partial Accomplishment (1) Student's illustration and paraphrasing make little or no distinction between the literal meaning of the idiom and what the idiom is thought to mean.


This lesson appeals to auditory as well as visual learners.
ESE and ESOL students could complete the activity in groups.
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