Weather Idioms lesson

Weather Idioms Lesson

Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is for students to be exposed to, understand, and begin using common American-English idioms. Students will practice using the idioms through speaking, listening, reading, and writing activities.

Audience: This lesson is intended for a high Intermediate group of adult English language learners, but can easily be adapted for other ages and levels.

Time: This lesson contains a warm-up, three activities, and an assessment. They should take about 20-30 minutes each to complete.


Prep work: The teacher should download the 3 attached documents that correspond to the activities.

Activity 1: Weather Idioms Introduction (Word) – one complete set for the classroom is needed. The three papers are each cut in half, to create 6 half sheets with idiom sentences.

Download: Weather Idioms Introduction_1.docx

Activity 2: No downloads, but students need blank paper and iPads/recording devices (if available).

Activity 3: Weather idioms (PowerPoint) – this activity can be shown on iPads or on a projector screen.

Download: Weather Idioms Pictures_1.pptx

Assessment: Weather Idioms Gap Fill Assessment (Word) – every student should receive a half sheet to complete the activity.

Download: Weather Idioms Gap Fill Assessment.docx

The teacher should also think of some real life examples of the following weather idioms: take a raincheck, got wind of, brighten my day, on cloud nine, under the weather, raining cats and dogs.

Technology should be available for students (computers, iPads).


I. Warm-up: The teacher writes “idiom” on the board. The students quickly discuss what an idiom is, and give a few examples. If this is the first time students are exposed to American-English idioms, explore the concept further by writing time flies when you’re having fun on the board. Ask the students what this expression means. Does it really mean a clock can fly? (A flying alarm clock can be drawn on the board to amuse the students). Sometimes, it is very helpful for students to share idioms in their native languages so they can connect to previous knowledge.

*NOTE* this step can take 5 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on students’ previous knowledge of what the word “idiom” means and how much the class has explored idioms before this lesson.

II. Activity 1 (Use the document “Weather Idioms Introduction” for this activity): Students are placed into mixed level groupings of 2-3 people. Each group receives one of the half sheets with an idiom sentence on it. The groups are directed to read the sentence together, and then decide what the underlined idiom means in the sentence. Students should try to discuss and decide together, and not look up each idiom online right away.

Each group has 2-3 minutes to come up with a meaning for the idiom, which they write on their half sheet. After the time limit is up (the teacher should decide the pace), students pass their papers to the group on the right, and complete the activity again with a new idiom. If students agree with a definition written down by a previous group, they should draw a star by that definition.

After each group has seen each idiom, the teacher hangs each idiom on the board for the class to discuss as a whole. Groups can defend their meanings or change their minds.

Then, the teacher reveals the meaning of each idiom and provides an example of each (For instance: “I’m under the weather means I feel sick. Last week, Jose was not in school because he was feeling under the weather.”) Students are then encouraged to discuss the true meanings of the idioms and provide examples from their own lives with teacher direction (“When have you been on cloud nine?” “I was on cloud nine when I got married.”)

III. Activity 2: (Review and writing): First, the class will review the idioms from the previous activity. The teacher should ask if students remember any of the idioms, and have students write idioms and their definitions on the board for the class. Then, students are placed in small groups to give each other an example of each idiom. The teacher should walk around and informally assess students to make sure they understand the concepts.

Students will be put in groups of 2 and each group will be assigned one of the idioms. Students are directed to write a short dialogue between two people that uses their assigned idiom. At this stage, students are also encouraged to use iPads, computers, other technology, dictionaries, or other students to help them write their dialogues.

These dialogues can be presented to the class in a few ways. If technology is readily available, students can use one of many apps or programs on iPads or computers to record themselves. Some recommended recording apps on iPads are Sock Puppets, Voice Record Pro, or Super Notes (all are free). If students have not been exposed to these apps yet, they may need direction to complete the activity.

However, if technology is not available, students can perform their dialogues “live”.

IV. Activity 3 (Use the PowerPoint “Weather Idioms Pictures” for this activity): If needed, the teacher can review the idioms by discussing or playing the recordings from the previous activity.

Then, the teacher should project the PowerPoint on the board (if this technology is not available, the teacher can print out the slides for students to look at – but make sure the answers are deleted before doing so). Each picture in the PowerPoint corresponds to one of the studied idioms. Students are directed to look at the pictures and discuss what they think the people are saying (using a weather idiom). Some of the pictures could use multiple idioms, so students are encouraged to discuss and defend their answers. Then, the class will discuss each correct answer.

*NOTE* There is animation in the PowerPoint. One click shows the picture with a blank speech bubble, and another click shows the correct answer in the bubble.

V. Assessment (Use the document “Weather idioms gap fill” for this activity): The students will complete a gap fill as an assessment. Each student will receive a gap fill with six sentences and they are instructed to fill the gaps with the studied idioms. The assessment will be completed independently.
The teacher should have the sentences written on the board, and the class will correct their assessments together. Afterwards, the teacher will collect the gap fill and assess whether more activities are needed for students to demonstrate proficiency. The teacher should also continually be informally assessing the students based on class and group work and discussion. 

Thanks for reading! Any comments and questions are welcome!

By: Joanna Stratman


Have a great day :)

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