Animal Idioms


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.B Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

⏰ Time Required

45 minutes

📲 Technology Required

Students must have access to laptops, desktop computers, or tablets with an internet connection if they are playing Making Camp Premium in a web browser. Teachers need a projector with a laptop to present the slideshow.

📃 Summary

This idioms lesson for Grades 3-4 begins with a presentation, popular song about idioms, a list of animal idioms, two video games, and an idioms matching activity. Also enclosed is a book list for Grades 1-4 about idioms.

Note: This lesson can include the Idioms Book Activity (which needs paper, coloring tools, and some preparation time for booklet assembly).

📚 Lesson

It’s a piece of cake
  1. The lesson slideshow, Animal Idioms, begins with a song video about idioms and then a short warm-up using three idioms. The answers to the warm-up are provided. Students will gain more understanding of how some idioms can have the same meaning.
  2. Match the Idioms: Students can work together in groups, pairs, or individually for the Match the Idioms formative assessment activity with manipulatives. The answer key for the two sets (20 in all) is provided here. Distribute a copy of the Slides file and review the answers with them later, using the answer key.
  3. Use idioms in a creative writing activity: If you are remote or in class, students can pick some animal idioms from the Match the Idioms answer key to use in sentences, a short story, or a poem using their chosen idioms.


  1. Students can choose their favorite idioms to illustrate in their Idiom Book, which they can make themselves, for assessment. This activity is great for in-class activity as the materials are easily accessible, but can be done remotely as well.
  2. For formative/summative assessment, have students play Making Camp Premium idioms mini games so their game progress will be recorded and accessed from your teacher reports dashboard.


Students will play the Words section of the Making Camp Premium from our selection of Growing Math games. The Words section features four minigames that focus only on idioms. If they are remote, students may use their phone or tablet app or play using the web browser game link on a desktop computer. You will be able to monitor the student answers from your teacher reports account. This will also inform you if the students have participated in practicing using the video games.

Enclosed in the slides is another link to a web browser game about idioms offered from a standards-aligned website. You won’t be able to monitor the students on it, but it can be used as another potential resource for idioms practice.

Introducing Idioms


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.B Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.B Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

[For state-specific standards, click here.]


45 minutes


A device with a web-browser – PC, Mac or Chromebook – or phone or tablet


This lesson plan helps students recognize and understand idioms and what they are through different examples. Students will be able to understand the meaning of common idioms through an instructive video, idiom book activity, and Making Camp Premium gameplay. 

📚Lesson Plan

1. VIDEO: Idioms

Start your lesson with this video that covers the meaning of idioms and understanding common idioms through different examples. 

2. Have your students make their own idiom book.

What you’ll need:

You can go about this in different ways. You can have students pick their favorite idioms. You can assign different idioms to different students. You can assign all students the same idiom. Or you can make it more like a game and random by having students draw out idioms. 

Once students have their idioms, have them write the idiom and what it actually means (this reinforces the memorization of the idiom’s meaning). Then have kids draw pictures as to what the idiom suggests. Students can then share their drawings with the class and see what fun ensues as they share their drawing and explain their idiom. 

3. GAME: Making Camp Premium

Have students play Making Camp Premium for 20 minutes. Students should focus on the WORDS section of Making Camp Premium and especially the idioms activity (the first box in the Words section) in order to reinforce the understanding of idioms. You can access Making Camp Premium on Mac, Windows, Chromebook, and iPad on the Games page of the Growing Math site.   

Choices screen from Making Camp Premium - Watch movies. Answer questions. Earn points.

ASSESSMENT: Making Camp Premium Teacher Reports

You can view your students’ progress on mastering this standard by viewing your Making Camp Premium Teacher Reports. You can view the Making Camp Premium reports here. 


Arizona (AZ), New Mexico (NM), North Dakota (ND), South Dakota (SD), Minnesota (MN) and Oregon (OR) have all adopted the English Language Arts standards covered in the Common Core Standards. 


List of Idioms & Meaning

Cool as a cucumber.To be calm and relaxed.
Going bananas!To go crazy; to get very excited or angry.
It costs an arm and a leg.To be very expensive.
Bite your tongue.To not say something that you want to say.
On thin ice.Being in a risky situation, usually one where you might upset someone.
Hit the books.To study. 
In hot water.To be in a difficult situation, in trouble. 
Smells fishy.Doesn’t seem quite right.
It’s a piece of cake.To be very easy.
Under the weather.To be sick; not feeling well. 
Raining cats and dogs.To be raining very hard.
More than you can shake a stick at. A great number; very many. 
Drive up the wall.To become frustrated or annoyed by something.
Break a leg!Good luck!
On cloud nine. To be very happy. 
Time is money.Work quickly. 
That ship has sailed.It’s too late. 
Like two peas in a pod.Always together. 
Fit as a fiddle.In good shape. 
On the fence.To be indecisive.