Students frantically sharing love-idioms and building correct sentences before submitting their work to the "Grammar-Doctor", ie their English teacher
These idioms have been used casually, automatically and by rote ever since we realised all those years ago, on February 14th, Valentine's Day, had some kind of emotional cross-over between ourselves and first-loves in Middle School. Although it is traditional for the idioms to roll off the tongue in February, for us as native speakers, it is not the same for second-language learners. These phrases are soaked in cultural nuances, and as they are quite rarely used by anyone other than English native speakers, since the subject is almost always catered for in the students' own language, it is not so easy to get them at all. But don't let that deter you. Once mastered, idioms play a great role in student-student communication, and almost certainly help to build self-confidence.
We have this as a suggestion for idioms, and any other vocabulary or grammar point you may wish to try it with.
Post the pictured idioms at various places around the room.
Separate the students into pairs and have one student sit at a desk as listener-recorder, while the other waits to be the reader-runner.
The reader-runner goes to one of the walled-idioms and reads it, plus the definition.
The reader-runner returns with it in his mind and shares it with the listener-recorder. They then have to come up with a sentence together, that is both logically sound and grammatically perfect. (This could further consolidate any new grammar point taught that week).
Once each idiom has a sentence written for it by the students they take their joint-effort to the teacher who checks them for correctness.
Inevitably, there are careless errors from spelling, punctuation, grammar and logic of the idomatic usage of the phrase. So, the teacher sends them back to their table to correct the error. It is more fun to go down the list and send back on each mistake. It takes longer, and it builds suspense in the students.
Note:at this point, it is a good idea to inform the students they would do better to check for errors by reading the sentences to each other, as it will save them time. But since excitement takes over, nobody listens to the advice and (reasonably organised) frantic chaos ensues, as the students attempt to fix their mistakes under pressure.
It is a great fun activity for getting students to use idioms and idiomatic language in the ESL classroom. We really recommend this as an addition to your ELT-Tool Bag.