Poppies and daisies, marigolds and roses, sunflowers and lavender can brighten up not only your day, but your English class as well. In today’s article we will have a look at some plant and flower idioms and expressions and the ways of including them into our lessons. These activities will work well with students of Pre-Intermediate level and above.

Task 1

To start a lesson, you can run a little discussion. Break students into pairs or mini groups and hand out question cards. Ask them to choose the most interesting ones and interview their partners. Questions can vary according to learners’ level. Some ideas for question cards can be the following:

  • How many flowers can you name in English?
  • What’s your favourite flower? Why?
  • When was the last time you gave flowers to someone?
  • Do you like to keep plants and flowers in your house? Why?
  • What flowers have special meaning in your country?
  • Why do you think women like flowers more than men?

You can discuss a few questions open class or ask students to report on their partner’s answers. 

Task 2

After that you might ask your students to match the names of plants and flowers to their images. Some, like roses, can be really easy, others, like nettle or wallflower, can require a proper teaching stage and deeper explanation. 

Screenshot from 2020 07 18 13 50 18 Skyteach

roses, poppy, chestnut, daisy, wallflower, violet, nettle, bud

Answers, from left to right: poppy, roses, daisy, violet, nettle, bud, chestnut, wallflower

Task 3

The set of words and  idioms for the lesson is presented below:

as fresh as a daisy

old chestnut

tall poppy 

grasp the nettle

come up roses

stop and smell the roses

no bed of roses

a shrinking violet

nip something in the bud


If you work with higher levels, you might want to check students’ knowledge first and ask them what idioms they already know. Another option is to elicit the meaning of some words and expressions giving the context, for example:

When people say that life is not a bed of roses, what do you think they mean?

I’m not a morning person, but my friend Natalie is always as fresh as a daisy in the morning. What about you?

Then, ask students to try to match each idiom with its meaning. They can do it in pairs or groups, this way they can discuss the problematic ones.

idioms Skyteach

Answers: 1c, 2e, 3f, 4h, 5j, 6d, 7b, 8g, 9i, 10a

Task 4

When the answers are checked and discussed, it’s time for a little quiz! Invite students to choose the best option for each of the questions, using the idioms:

Working so hard all the time is not good for you. Sometimes you just need to _______________.

grasp the nettle
nip it in the bud
stop and smell the roses

The _______________ syndrome is the fact that people do not like and often criticize other people who are successful or have a higher position.

shrinking violet
tall poppy

Oh no, not this _______________ again! We’ve heard this story a thousand times!

old chestnut
tall poppy
bed of roses

I know you don’t want to tell Tommy the truth, but _______________! You can do it!

grasp the nettle
smell the roses
nip it in the bud

A lot of diseases can be _______________ if you detect them early enough.

coming up roses
nipped in the bud
as fresh as a daisy

I got a new job and a new flat this week! Everything is _______________!

as fresh as a daisy
not a bed of roses
coming up roses

He is no  _______________ when it comes to expressing his opinions. He’s always ready to speak out.

old chestnut
shrinking violet
tall poppy

Answers: 1c, 2b, 3a, 4a, 5b, 6c, 7b

Task 5

When the quiz is done and checked, you can invite students to make their own questions using the idioms. Tell them that when they are ready, they are going to ask these questions to their speaking partners. You might ask students to do that on their own or  provide them with some prompts like the following:

  • When was the last time you…?
  • What’s an example of some…?
  • Why is it good / bad to…?

There are other activities which can follow such a lesson. For example, you can ask students to choose one idiom they liked best and illustrate it. Another idea is to google and find the origins of some expressions. Learners can also do research and find 5 more plant-related idioms that will appeal to them. Ask them to check the meaning and prepare a little quiz for their groupmates like the one described in this article.

Do you like teaching idioms? What’s your favourite way of practising them?

Комментарии (1)
  • Фото аватара

    Очень интересная и содержательная разработка . Спасибо за знания и труд.


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