Lesson Plan

Using Idioms to Create an Acrostic Poem

Students use figurative language to create poetry depicting the characteristics of a subject.
Shari M.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies

Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. CCSS.ELA-Literacy: L.6.5, L.6.5.b, and .L.6.6

English Language Arts
English Language Learning
Grades 5 – 6
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Teacher Notes
Student Notes


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Teacher opens with the following embedded on Prezi:

Have you ever had someone ask you, "A penny for your thoughts?" Or, after a long day at school, you walk in the door, and you are greeted with, “Ok, hit the books!”?   These types of expressions are idioms - some are easier to figure out than others and after today’s lesson, you will be able to provide others with idioms which describe you!


According to Merriam Webster an idiom “is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own.  It is a form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations, it is a style or form of expression that is characteristic of a particular person, type of art, and so on.”

To add, SmartWords.org states, “Every language has its own collection of wise sayings. They offer advice about how to live and also transfer some underlying ideas, principles and values of a given culture / society. These sayings are called "idioms" - or proverbs if they are longer. These combinations of words have (rarely complete sentences) a "figurative meaning" meaning.”

Using Idioms to Create an Acrostic Poem

An acrostic poem is very easy to write, and it can be about any subject. This kind of poem can be written in different ways, but the simplest form is to put the letters that spell your subject down the left margin/side of your page. Once you have done this, then you will go back to each letter and think of a word, phrase, or sentence that starts with that letter and describes your subject.

In this lesson, you will be the subject of the poem and you will use an idiom for each letter of your name which characterizes YOU and provide the evidence for your thinking!

Example is as follows and uses the name SHARI as the subject (or use your first name).

Sitting Shotgun (Riding in the front passenger seat of a car – if anyone knows me, they know I call “dibs”  on the front seat!

High Five (Slapping palms above each other’s heads as celebration gesture – I love giving high-fives and do so during personal meetings!)

A blessing in disguise (Something good that isn't recognized at first – I can be rather brief at times which might lead one to believe I am not friendly, on the other hand, .)

Rise and shine (Time to get out of bed and get ready for work/school – I get up at four o’clock in the morning to get ready for work and wake the rest of the household too!)

Icing on the cake (When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have – I love teaching and seeing students' success.  The icing on the cake, I support new teachers entering the field of teaching.)


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Ask students to provide a few names of sports figures, characters in a novel the class is reading, elected officials, historical figure, or actors/actresses.  Randomly select one of the choices name. Using overhead projection, navigate to http://bit.ly/1cTPeA4 (ReadWriteThink). 

Once the page is displayed, type the name of the selected person into “Your Name” as well as “Topic Word”.  Next, students working with partners or teacher created groups, students navigate to http://www.idiomsite.com/ or http://bit.ly/1nGfDq9 .   Teacher randomly assigns each letter of the selected name to partners/groups and each partner/group finds an idiom which they feel best depicts a characteristic of the subject letter.  Students provide evidence for their thinking/selection of idiom.  Teacher walks throughout room and checks for understanding and progress. Students share idioms with class while teacher models use of web tool (types idioms) and selects, “save final” to Google docs. 

Once in Google Docs, teacher will open pdf file, then copy and paste acrostic poem into shared Prezi which will eventually contain all students' poems. 


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  1. Navigate to http://bit.ly/1cTPeA4  (ReadWriteThink)
  2. The subject of the poem is YOU (using your name).
  3. Using the idiom website http://www.idiomsite.com/ or http://bit.ly/1nGfDq9 select idioms which start with the letter of your name and describe you.
  4. Write the title vertically on the page, one letter per line.
  5. Make sure each line starts with the corresponding letter.
  6. Every line (idiom) must relate back to the subject.
  7. Provide evidence for your idiom selection!
  8. Once complete upload to Google Docs (for portfolio project) and then post to shared Prezi link.


Using the rubric, students will self grade poem along with the teacher score.  Students have an opportunity to improve grade after revision. 


Next, students answer the following questions in a post to Lino.

1.  How many ways can you think of using an acrostic poem in social studies? 

2.  Now that you have studied idioms, what can be concluded about this type of figurative language?

3.  What changes would you make to this lesson?