Idiom celebration helps understand figurative language
The 5th graders at Peeples Elementary got creative when it came to studying a difficult literary concept. To better understand idioms, the Rockets celebrated Idiom Dress-Up Day and Figurative Food Tasting.
Idioms are phrases or expressions that give a figurative, non-literal meaning to the phrase, like “smart cookie” or “raining cats and dogs.”
“Idioms are one of the most difficult types of figurative language for children to understand,” said Peeples Elementary teacher Dr. Melissa Smith. “This is largely because 5th graders are still trying to filter literal and figurative language.”
Students were tasked with determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes. This standard requires students to evaluate the text, which is a higher level of thinking, and requires more of the students' attention.
The 5th grade teachers created Idiom Dress-Up Day to encourage students to pay attention to their classmates’ costumes. Students researched an idiom that had not been discussed in class, dressed up as the idiom, and then explained its true meaning to the class.
“The children were enthralled with each other's costumes and trying to guess the idiom and its meaning,” said Smith. “The entire Peeples 5th grade team participated in the dress-up day. The children were so creative with their costumes, and we, as teachers, learned some new idioms, as well!”
They capped off the celebration with figurative food tasting. Students used each of the seven types of language (alliteration, hyperbole, idiom, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification, and simile) to describe the varying foods they were tasting.
“We have found that lessons that involve food tend to help things ‘stick’ in their minds,” said Smith. “The kids LOVED trying all the varying foods the parents sent in, and many of the food types the kids had never experienced before!”