Many of us are asked to use curriculum maps to help us plan our instruction. While these maps are useful and at times essential, we must also remember to watch for those teachable moments which bring learning alive to our students.
During the first weeks of school, we were reading aloud the novel Fish In A Tree, by Linda Mulhally Hunt. Ally, the main character, is told she is “crossing the line,” and realizes her teacher is not discussing the finish line of a race. As we talked about this idiom, one student commented that his mom tells him he is “on thin ice” when he is in trouble. Another girl piped up that her parents tell her she is “in hot water.” A lively debate started over the use of water in both idioms – one water freezing and the other heated!
As a result, our idiom collection board was born. Students have been eagerly collecting idioms they find in their reading and posting them on our board. Although this particular type of figurative language was planned for January, this teachable moment has brought this standard alive in our classroom in September. I can’t wait to see when this figurative language appears in their writing!