Food Idioms–Lesson Plans and Videos

Today’s post is about food idioms. It focuses on materials you can use in the classroom for some of the common food idioms that we use in the United States. It is structured to be used in combination with the food idioms post on the English Language blog ( has information and practice for students! Use them together and save lesson planning time! Scroll to the bottom of the page to find quizzes.

Lesson Plans This lesson plan is not specific to just food idioms, but you can follow it and use the idioms of your choice.

Video #1

Butter someone up – be extra nice to get someone to do something

Take it with a (pinch) of sale – be careful, don’t believe everything you are hearing

A piece of cake – easy

Go pear shaped — get fat

Not my cup of tea – something you don’t like

Video #2

Take the cake – be #1

A bag egg – be a bad person

A big cheese – a leader or important person

Bread and butter – basic necessities

Cool as a cucumber – to be calm and relaxed

Cup of tea – enjoy it, like something

A hard nut to crack – to be difficult to understand or figure out

Out to lunch – be crazy or mad

Apple of my eye – someone you like very much

Couch potato – lazy person

A piece of cake – easy

Spill the beans – reveal a secret

Take something with a grain of salt – believe only part of something

Have a bun in the oven – to be pregnant

To butter someone up – be extra nice to someone for personal benefit

One smart cookie – very intelligent

List of even more idioms in chart form:

Quiz about food idioms:

Practice using idioms:  Students read the sentence and select the correct word/idiom from the drop down box.

Professional Organizations for ESL Teachers

In celebration of the TESOL Convention in Baltimore, MD this year, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the professional organizations that serve ESL teachers. TThere are quite a few of them, each with a special niche in education.

What do these organizations do? They work to provide information and services related to:

  • professional development
  • advocacy
  • networking opportunities
  • employment
  • professional standards
  • research
  • policy

Organizations:     Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

Its mission is “enhancing the quality of English language teaching through professional development, research, standards, and advocacy. Every year they sponsor an international conference with key speakers, workshops, and trade shows.”  The Center for Adult English Language Acquisition was created to help states support their adult English language learners.     The Center for Applied Linguistics’ mission is to” promote language learning and cultural understanding by servicing as a trusted source for research, resources and policy analysis.”     National Council of Teachers of English is “devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.”     The National Association of Bilingual Education is “a non-profit membership organization that works to advocate for educational equity and excellence for bilingual/multilingual students in a global society.”     Carolina TESOL “is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to improve the quality of education for English language learners and to promote effective intercultural communication and understanding.”

What professional organizations are you a member of, and why?

Schools, Parents, and Children

Today’s post focuses on schools, parents, and parent/teacher conferences. The resources in this post address the following topics:

  • Types of schools in the USA
  • Places in the community (including transportation around town)
  • Wake County Public Schools Parent Academy
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences

VOA Special English on  This video gives an overview of the types of schools in the United States. It’s in a “read along” format, with each word highlighted so students get both the audio and visual of the word.

Many This site includes a drop down list of activities to use with the vocabulary list. You can practice these as a group or individually in a computer lab or with the i-pads.

Types of schools:  Also, for more practice about Community Buildings and Places: Schools, go to the Civics and Community Blog at is a great site for lower level teachers! It has complete lesson plans and worksheets. This link will take you to a lesson on places in the community and transportation. Check out the site for lots of lesson plans!

Parents and Their Children: Parent Teacher Conferences Students always seem to want information about how to have a successful parent/teacher conference! Here are a few resources to consider, which you can modify for NC.

Parent Toolkit. A comprehensive toolkit for any parent. An ESL teacher could use the information from the toolkit to help prep students for the conference, all the while working on new vocabulary and grammar, not to mention American culture. This document is rich with resources and possibilities. The material is presented by grade level, and includes checklists and questions to ask the teacher. It’s produced by Education Nation and NBC.

Color in Colorado. Relevant and informative. A complete lesson plan on parent-teacher conferences is included.

From Arlington public schools:

ESL  Listening practice: dialogue between parent and teacher. For higher level students.

Wake County Public Schools Parent Academy.  Although this isn’t a place in the community, per se, it’s full of info that our students are interested in.  There are workshops “to provide families with strategies that have a positive effect on the education of children”. Information on the site is in both English and Spanish. Super informative!

Linking Bloom’s Taxonomy and Technology!

Back in1956, Benjamin Bloom, along with other psychologists and educators, created a system of categorizing educational goals. Updated in 2001, this framework, consisting of six categories, has been applied by teachers and college instructors for decades now. It is organized from simple to complex, and concrete to abstract. It helps the teacher see where the student is, and what the expectations are for the next level. Bloom’s can help you, the teacher, write learning objectives and assess student learning.

Now, imagine connecting Bloom’s Taxonomy with modern day apps, websites, and technology! It has been done, and it’s called The Padagogy Wheel! And, it’s a beautiful thing! The Padagogy Wheel links apps/technology to these five categories:

  • Remember/Understand
  • Apply
  • Analyze
  • Evaluate
  • Create

There have been several iterations of the wheel over recent time, so make sure you are reading the most up-to-date version, which is V4.1.  Here’s the link (printable poster):

The creator of the Padagogy Wheel, Allan Carrington, educator, “techie”, and Apple fan, has an informative youtube video that explains the origins and early versions of the wheel.

And lastly, for all things Padagogy, go to The Padagogy Wheelhouse at:

After you have visited the sites, let me know your thoughts about the Padagogy Wheel! How can it help you?

Emergencies and Community Places

Welcome back to the Teachers Resources blog. This week we are looking at emergencies:  who to call, what to do, and where to go.  You can also visit for information and practice for your students.

We are posting links to multiple lessons. You can just “click” and print! These are all time savers!

Accessing Community Services and Reporting Emergencies/Beginner Lesson

Multi-skills Practice for lower levels:

Simple vocabulary with pictures: 

Calling 911, and emergency vs. non-emergency:

Listening and Reading Practice:

Discussion Questions and Vocabulary for higher level students:

Be Prepared for Emergencies!

  • The American Red Cross has pictures of different types of emergencies on one page. Click on the picture and it takes you to an information page on how to prepare for the emergency. This information is excellent and can modified for most levels. Great pictures, safety checklists, and specific recommendations for how to prepare for and deal with all types of emergencies.
  • The United States government also has a comprehensive page on preparing for any kind of emergency. It also includes what to do if a disaster occurs, and how the government may be able to help.

Everyday Conversation: Going to the Post Office

Mailing_LettersElectronic communication is the default mode of communication for many, however “snail mail” is still widely used for lots of things. There are a variety of resources available for both students and teachers. Here are a few of them you can use in the classroom, or with lesson planning.

African American female US Postal Service employee selling stamps to teen girl in post office, Oakland, California

from Wikimedia/photo by Migdale

Conversations at the post office:

  • Video
  • Conversation Questions
  • Phrasal Verbs
  • Vocabulary:  nouns, adjectives, and verbs

Additionally, Youtube has some videos that model typical post office conversations.

For a student focused lesson on mailing a letter and using the post office, please go to Beth’s Civics and Community blog and read her “How to Send Mail” post! It’s super informative and has lots of good practice on it!

What are some ways you can use this material in your class?