Cartoon of someone bouncing an idea off someone else

Highlight: A game for learning idioms

Taken from Chapter 8: a tried and tested idea for practising and memorising a set of idioms


Here is a fun way to learn idioms for a large class of 12 or more. You need an open space such as a playground, and a large, opaque sheet at least 2m x 3m (such as an old banner). Each student chooses one of the target list of idioms as his/her “name” and reads it aloud to the other students, who should try to memorise each person’s “name”. (Go round the class several times, getting everyone to say their “names,” to make them easier to remember.) Then divide the students into two equal teams. Get two helpers to hold up the sheet vertically. Get each team to select three members, who stand close to the sheet, facing it—one team on each side of the sheet. Count aloud “one, two, three” and then have the helpers drop the sheet. Each of the six people facing the sheet have to shout out the “name” of the opposite person on the other team —without any help from their teammates. In each pair of facing students, whichever one is slower to remember the other student’s “name” has to join the other team. So the effect is that one team gets larger and the other one smaller. Repeat by holding up the sheet, getting the teams to choose three more players each, and so on. Eventually, after several rounds, one team will contain nearly all the students and that team is the “winner.” (The advantage of this game is that nearly everyone wins.)