My district’s reading program, Houghton Mifflin, builds in a spelling program, complete with “challenge” words. However, I find that my students aren’t really challenged by these words. As a result, I started putting together useful, authentic vocabulary and spelling lists.
I began with homophones, a true spelling challenge for people of all ages.
Then I developed lists based on Greek and Latin word parts to emphasize etymology.
Idioms were my next target. Houghton Mifflin spends just one week on this concept, yet the only way to learn idioms is to be exposed to a wide variety over time. I scoured the internet and put together a list of over 200 idioms with definitions and an example.
How To use
I pick five idioms per week, often going with a theme such as “horses” or “scary idioms.” Each night, students have a quick task to complete. These include:
- Write headlines using the idioms (combining more than one per headline is encouraged!)
- Describe your week using the idioms (made-up events are preferred!)
- Research the origin of each idiom. This takes longer but makes for a great discussion the next day.
- Draw literal and figurative meanings.
- Create a comic using each idiom.
I give special recognition to students who use idioms during the school day (which means dinging a bicycle bell I carry around 😝).
Download the big ol’ list of idioms here.