Learning Center


Include Idiom Costumes in Fall Party

August 15, 2019

While teaching the differences between literal and figurative language, South Creek Elementary Nadine Gilkison (Indianapolis, IN) had her fourth graders dress up in idiom costumes for their Fall Party at the end of October.

Nadine sent home a parent letter explaining the project. The letter included an excerpt from Fabulously Funny Idiom Plays, which features a glossary of idiom phrases and their meanings.

  • Idiom: get the ball rolling
    Idiomatic meaning: start something
    Sentence: At first the party was a dud, but then we put on some music, and that got the ball rolling.

To spice things up a little more, Nadine had students keep their idiom costumes a secret. Classmates had the whole day to figure out what their peers were dressed as. The student who guessed the most idioms right, won! Love it!

Everything you need to try out this great celebration of idioms is available for FREE at the Smekens Education Teachers Pay Teachers store. Download either the elementary or middle school materials. Each includes:

  • a suggested sequence of lessons to introduce and teach idiomatic phrases.
  • idiom examples with idiomatic meaning & sample sentences.
  • a photo collage of example costumes.
  • a parent letter to explain culminating costume party.

Besides dressing up as idioms, Nadine had her fourth graders create A-Z Idiom books. Check out these two examples. What a great way to help students use their new understanding of idioms in their own writing!

Great Teacher Comments:

After attending the 2012 Literacy Retreat, Angela Foster, 5th grade teacher at Farrington Grove Elementary (Terre Haute, IN), and Melanie Beaver, 7th grade teacher at West Vigo Middle School (Terre Haute, IN) decided to try idiom costumes with their students. Both students (and teachers) really got into their idioms.

As you can see, both Angela and Melanie are “wrapped up in their thoughts.” When Melanie wore her “wrapped up” costume, the cloths began to unravel later in the day. So her students renamed her idiom “losing your train of thought.”

Can you guess the students’ idioms pictured below?


Two left feet


Put on big girl pants


On the same page


Let the cat out of the bag


Eat your words

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