Idiom Activity for ESL Students | English Idioms

Let's TEFL
Spread the love
  • 49

Idiom ESL activity

Idioms are one of those things that can be really fun to teach your students, both children as well as adults. Here’s an activity to help you do it in style! It lends itself well as a warm-up activity before diving into the heart of your lesson.

Keep on reading to learn more about this Idiom Activity for English learners.

Idioms for ESL Students

Age: 10+

Materials Required: Picture/PowerPoint

Student Level: Beginner to Advanced

This idiom activity for English students is an excellent warm-up activity to get your classes started off in style.

Show students a picture with a literal representation of a common idiom. Give them several minutes to discuss the possible meaning of the idiom in pairs or small groups. Finish by giving them the actual meaning and several example sentences to write in their notebooks.

It can often work quite well to have 4 pictures on the PowerPoint so that faster groups can have something to do while waiting for the slower groups.  

Procedure for this Idiom Activity for EFL Students:

1. In advance, prepare a PowerPoint image or picture large enough for the class to easily see.

2. Divide students into pairs or small groups and give them 3 minutes to discuss the meaning of the picture. Add a bit more time if you have more than 1 picture. 

3. Elicit guesses about what the idiom may mean before telling students the actual meaning.

4. Finish the activity by giving students several example sentences or scenarios using the idiom for them to write in their notebooks.

How to help ESL students learn idioms

Other Activities for Teaching English Idioms

There are a few other things you can do in your ESL classroom to help you students learn English idioms. Here are a few of my favourite ideas:

  • Keep a list idioms on a sheet of poster paper in your classroom. Once you run across a new one, add it to the list.
  • See who can use the most idioms in your class. During casual conversation or activities, reward students for using an idiom correctly. Have a prize for the highest total at the end of the month.
  • Matching worksheets. Have idioms and then the literal meetings on a worksheet. Students have to match them up.
  • If students encounter a new idiom while reading, have them guess the meaning from the context first instead of just telling them what it means.

Like this ESL Warm-Up Activity? 

Do you like this ESL warm-up Activity? Then you’re going to love this book: 39 ESL Warm-Ups for Teenagers and Adults. It’s the book you need to help you get your classes started off in style, with an interesting and engaging activity.

SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai, Thailand

It can be pretty difficult to dive right into the heart of the lesson at the beginning of class. After all, some of your student may not have spoken a word of English since your last class that may have been a week ago, or even longer.

Starting off with a quick warm-up activity can help ease your students back into using English, and will help your students to focus on the really important stuff later.

Warm-Ups are also a great way to review material from previous classes. Sounds like exactly what you need in your lesson plan?

Then check out the book for yourself over on Amazon:

Another ESL Warm-Up Activity

ESL Idiom Activity: Have your Say!

What do you think about this quick ESL idiom activity that you can use for an ESL warm-up in your classes? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful teaching resource.


Let's TEFL

One Comment

  1. Nice activity!! Bit like the Uk TV game show ‘Catch Phrase’ so this activity could be nicely extended to include students receiving a phrase/ idiom and drawing it for their team mates to work out. Pictures with the phrase could go up on the wall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *