Material Type:
Interactive, Lesson Plan, Nearpod
Upper Elementary
  • Figurative Language
  • Idioms
  • Lesson Plan
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
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    Education Standards




    Students will develop a deeper understanding of idioms. This lesson aligns with the core standard:

    Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

    This lesson includes video, Nearpod, class discussion, and independent work.

    Preview image taken from:


    Students will be able to distinguish between literal and figurative language. Students will be able to explain literal and figurative/metaphorical meanings of idioms.

    • Subject: ELA
    • Grade level: 5


    Background for Teachers

    This lesson focuses on Reading Literature Standard 4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

    For an overview of idioms, visit: Idioms

    This video reviews literal and figurative meanings:

    Idioms-Grammar Songs by Melissa


    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Students will be able to 

    • explore the use of idioms
    • explore the figurative/metaphorical and literal meanings of idioms through words and images
    • correctly use idioms in context



    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Helpful materials:

    • Chart paper
    • Student drawing paper

    Chromebooks, or other devices, for students


    Step 3 - Instruction

    First lesson:

    Choose one of the following videos.

    If Idioms Were Literal
    More Parts by Tedd Arnold

    Discuss what idioms the students heard and their meanings.

    Think, pair, share: students discuss what idioms they have heard or read.

    Class discussion: chart, or list, the idioms shared. Create a class definition of idioms.

    Students choose a favorite idiom from the list and create an illustration of the literal meaning. Don't allow students to share their drawings yet.

    Second lesson:

    Begin by having students partner up and share their drawings from the previous lesson. Partners try to guess the idiom.

    Teach students that idioms are handed down through generations.

    Guide, or allow students to work independently, through the Nearpod lesson.

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree Nearpod

    Possible accomodations:

    For students with learning differences, play the following game using emojis to illustrate idioms. (This could also be used as an extension activity.)

    Emoji Idioms

    Possible extension:

    Create an idiom wall in the classroom.

    Step 4 - Assessments


    Students show the correct use of idioms in sentences with the 

    Eye on Idioms Interactive

    (Students can print pages.)

    Scoring Rubric is attached.

    Alternate Assessment:

    Students create a Book of Idioms.

    Students write one idiom on each side of the page with the figurative meaning below. Students then create an illustration of the literal meaning. Use a solid color paper for the cover. Pages can be folded and stapled in the center with a book making stapler.

    Students could also make a literal meaning video.