A Narrative Structure of The Idiom Lesson
High student talking time. No prepping. Active and fun interaction. Common idiom sentence building. Limited board work. Student to student course lesson manipulation. Board game play
Level: Advanced (Green/Yellow)
Class focus: Materials/Resources – Board game
Aims: to raise further awareness of the listener’s active role in story telling
to develop question making skills
to widen the students’ range of common idioms and its possible usage in everyday conversation
to provide an opportunity for students to prepare, practice, create questions and example sentences for group or one on one discussion.
Anticipated problems and solutions:
Explain each idiom and be sure they understand their meanings. Emphasize these idioms are not commonly used on a regular basis, but are useful when necessary, especially when watching TV shows and movies. Be thorough in your explanations on how the board game is played and would be well advised to model how it works yourself with a quick demonstration. Alternately you can have a student who has played the board game previously to explain it in English to the novice group.
Number of students: 1
Kind of student: OL (Office Lady)
I went ahead and wrote each idiom sentence from unit 8 from the teacher’s manual on the board and at the same time she copied them into her notebook.
1. Keep under wraps
2. Have a big head
3. On top of the world
4. Get your head around it
5. Keep your word
6. Have a heart of stone
Next I would pronounce each sentence with her repeating, I would repeat the sentence again if I felt her pronunciation wasn’t clear, I would do this until all 6 sentences had been sufficiently pronounced.
I then asked her which idiom sentences she thought she may know. She said maybe, have a big head means to have bumped you head. I said that’s very imaginative, but keep trying. She tried to guess, but in the end she didn’t know any of them.
I went ahead and explained each sentence from the teacher’s manual in English, which she wrote in her notebook. I made sure she felt comfortable with the new idiom sentences and proceeded with putting the board game on the desk. I took out one 6 sided dice. I presented her with 4 different colored counters and asked her to choose a color, after I chose a counter for myself seeing as there weren’t any other students, I would be playing in this game. I didn’t need to explain the game’s rules as she had played it many times before.
Before starting the game I told her to close her notebook for memory practice. We put our counters on the start box #1 and began to play. I said ladies first. She began by throwing the dice, first to choose a scenario of use from the lower idiom box on the game board. She rolled a 2. In the box it says “Tell a story about yourself”. She threw again to choose an idiom. She rolled a 2. and moved her counter to the idiom “On top of the world”. She started to think what has made her extremely happy and then she said “I was on top of the world on my wedding day”. We talked about her special day for a little and then it was my turn to roll.
I rolled a 4. In the box it says “Question about somebody”, so this means ask a question about a friend, mother, sister, co-worker etc. I threw the dice again to choose an Idiom. I rolled a 4. So, I asked the student “Do your friends keep their words when you tell them a secret?” She said in most cases they do. If it is an important subject they always keep their word. If it is something trivial they have a tendency to “let the cat out of the bag”. She used an extra idiom she had previously learnt in another unit class. We continued to talk about this subject a little more and then switch turns.
She rolled a 3. In the box, it says “Mime the Idiom”. So she has to throw the dice again secretly to determine which idiom she will mime and I have to guess which idiom she is miming. She starts her body language. She put her index finger vertically across her lips and made a hissing sound, she continued to then cover her month with both hands and nod her head from side to side. I said “I’ve got it! It is idiom number 1 “Keep under wraps”. She answered “That’s right!”
I continued the game by rolling a 5. In the box it says “Tell a story about somebody”, this means tell a story about a friend, mother, sister, co-worker etc. I rolled the dice to choose an idiom, I rolled a 4 to land on the idiom “Have a big head”. I told a story about how many of my classmates at school had big heads. The OL asked me why? I replied they were very good at sports and handsome to boot. Due to their big heads they would get the best chicks. She said “did you feel disappointed?” I answered I was somewhat demoralized at first, but since going to my last high school reunion party a few years back, I noticed they are no longer athletic and handsome, more like overweight, balding sorry sights married with 4 kids. We both got a chuckle from that.
Next, she threw a 6. The box says “Define it”. She rolled the dice secretly and proceeded to explain the idiom, by saying “Something that you can finally understand” I answered “I know! It’s “Getting your head around it, idiom 4”. She replied by saying “perfect.”
We switched and it was my time to roll. I threw a 1. The box says “Question to your partner” I rolled again, 4. I moved my counter and landed on the idiom, “Have a heart of stone”. This time the question is directed to the OL. I said “Have you ever had a heart of stone?” She replied she had, and I asked why. She had a pet hamster when she was a small child and she used to tease it just so she could get entertainment from its discomfort, until one day the hamster died, but at the time she felt no remorse. She said, back in those days she had a heart of stone, but now she finds it regrettable.
We continued to play the game until 5 minutes before the end of the lesson. She had the opportunity to tell many stories, ask questions and practice and pronounce many new idioms.
For homework I asked her to make a question for each idiom for me or another student to answer at the next lesson. I told her not to worry if she doesn’t have the time then, maybe just to try a few.
I said well done and that wrapped up this section of the Loop.