Lessons & Units :: Figurative Language 4th Grade Unit

Lesson 1: Explaining the Plot and Predicting Using Idioms

Lesson Plan

In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms

In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms
Learning Goal
Use idioms to explain a plot and predict what will happen next in a story.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: Direct Teaching Example Chart, "The Great Escape" Passage, Independent Practice
Not Provided: In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terba
  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain the meaning of idioms (phrases that have a different meaning from the actual words used). I will read page 1 from the book In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban aloud. I will explain that the book tells us what idioms mean and where they came from. I will give students the “Idioms and their Meanings” page (see Direct Teaching Example Chart, provided below in Teacher and Student Materials) and read aloud all the idioms and their meanings. I will read about where these idioms came from In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms p. 5, 7, 19, 23, 25, 27, 31, 53, 55, 63). I will then read the short story “The Great Escape” (provided in Books and Passages) aloud. I will model using idioms to describe the plot of the story. For example, I can retell the plot of the story by saying Sarah is in a pickle. Sarah hears it straight from the horse’s mouth, her Uncle Bill, to be careful and make sure she closes the guinea pig pen. It must have gone in one ear and out the other. While Sarah is feeding the guinea pigs, the fish bowl falls over and she runs to clean it up. She soon realizes that the guinea pigs have escaped because she forgot to close the pen. I guess there’s no use in crying over spilled milk. I will predict what may happen next in the story. I predict that Sarah will find all the guinea pigs before her uncle returns.

    TIP: Chart and discuss the idiom examples during Direct Teaching. This will provide students with visual support that they can to refer back to during the Guided Practice and Independent Practice.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I use idioms to explain a story? Students should respond that you first learned the meaning of various idioms. Then you read a story. Then you retold the story using idioms by thinking about their meaning and how they can describe the story.

  • Guided Practice

    will use the idioms from the “Idioms and their Meanings” page to make our prediction of what will happen next in the story. For example, Sarah may have butterflies in her stomach as she thinks of a way to tell her Uncle Bill that the guinea pigs have escaped. Maybe right before her uncle gets back to the shop, she finds all the guinea pigs and puts them back in the pen. Then she will feel like she is sitting on top of the world.

  • Independent Practice

    will read the passage “Casey Saves the Play” (Student Independent Practice is provided below). You will describe the plot and predict what will happen next using at least three idioms.

    TIP: This lesson focuses on ten specific idioms. Encourage students to think about and discuss other idioms they have read or heard. Have students use these idioms to complete the Independent Practice. Add these idioms to a class list and keep the list posted in the classroom.

Build Student Vocabulary reliable

Tier 2 Word: reliable
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story “Straight from the horse’s mouth” means “information gotten from the most reliable source.”
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) Reliable means trustworthy or dependable. If we say that information comes from a reliable source, it means that the information is coming from someone who we can trust.
Students repeat the word Say the word reliable with me: reliable.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts It’s important to have reliable friends so you know you can trust them. If I want to be a more reliable person, I have to make sure I always follow through on my promises and never give away other people’s secrets.
Students provide examples Can you think of someone who is reliable? Start by saying, “_______ is reliable because _________________________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? reliable
Additional Vocabulary Words unpleasant, impression

Build Student Background Knowledge

Pause while reading page 63. Ask your students if they think that someone can literally sit on top of the world. Why not? Explain that gravity is the force that attracts two objects toward each other. Gravity is the force that pulls humans to the ground. Humans cannot sit on top of the world, because gravity pulls a human toward its center.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

User Comments

THANK YOU!!!! I love this lesson!

This is fantastic!

how do i get the questions that go with the reading passage?

Thanks for posting your question. There isn't a specific question set worksheet for the texts, but we have provided a lesson guide that includes sections like Teaching Modeling, Guided Practice, and Independent Practice. The lesson guide has questions and prompts to the students.

How do I get the "In a Pickle" book or is it on the web site for my use?

We don't provide the book "In a Pickle: And Other Funny Idioms," but on the book page we have a link to the book's Amazon page. The link to the book page is as follows: www.readworks.org/books/pickle-and-other-funny-idioms

I am pleased with the format, it enhances my planning a great deal.

I am pleased with the format.It really reinforce my lesson plans.

WOW! I am blown away at how complete each lesson is. I am using this lesson to introduce another book that I am reading aloud to my students "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon."