I’ve been working with my students on idioms this week during spelling and although it was slow going at first, they really started to understand what was going on today when I shared with them a web site that a couple of my students had found earlier in the week. The Idiomsite is a great collection of common idioms in the English language, and includes the etymology of the idioms. While the meanings of the idioms aren’t always clear, the webmaster for the site is very good about posting comments, corrections, and additions that people e-mail in. This was useful for some of the students that were still unsure of the difference between an idiom and a description or an appositive. Many of their questions were answered by other people’s comments, or by reading where the idiom came from.
As a small project, I had them choose a few idioms from the site, and make a poster out of them using Publisher. After writing the idiom in a sentence and providing the meaning of the idiom, they found images for both the literal and figurative meanings of the idioms. My personal favorite; “Don’t teach your grandma to suck eggs.” I’ve never heard this idiom before, but it got me thinking. Trying to teach someone who knows a lot more than you is like teaching your grandma to suck eggs. Would that mean students who haven’t been taught enough still have eggs left to suck?
At any rate, the site is very useful. There are a few idioms (like “flipping the bird”) that might be inappropriate for school, but I didn’t have any problems with my students after explaining that we didn’t need to act out any of the more notorious sayings.