Idioms are no piece of cake (pun totally intended 😆) for most students, especially those whose first language is not English. Exposing students to a variety of idiom activities can help them learn their meanings and help them understand how to use them correctly. This idiom t-shirt project is a fun way to have upper elementary students work with idioms and allows for some really great follow up activities.
(This post includes some affiliate links throughout. They are there to provide you with a quick way to find the resources I used to create the shirts in this post.)
- Idiom T-Shirt Planning Page
- Poster Board
- White T-Shirt
- Permanent Marker
- Colored Markers (non-washable)
- Assign an idiom to each of the students. Then, have them create a draft of their shirt design on a draft sheet such as the one pictured below.
- Place a t-shirt on a poster board and trace around the shirt, so you are left with an image of a shirt on the poster board.
- Uses scissors to cut out the form.
- Cut a collar shape at the top of the poster board. This will give students a good guiding point as to how low they should start their writing/drawing. (You may want to choose to use the first poster board as a template to create more. Then, have students use these templates to create their own instead of having them trace their own shirts.)
- Next, have students transfer their design idea sketches onto the poster board template. I suggest they use a pencil first, then trace it with a permanent marker. They should only make outlines and not color in any portions of the pictures.
- Once students have finished sketching their idiom, they will place the poster board template inside the shirt. They will be able to see the idiom sketches they created through the shirt. They will now trace their sketch with a permanent marker.
- Then, students will use non-washable markers to color in the pictures. They should leave the poster board template inside the shirt as they work. This will keep the ink from running from one side of the shirt to the other, or worse, all over their desks.
- When they have completed their idiom illustrations, they can then write their idiom and their sentence on the sleeves of the shirts.
- Finally, they can remove the poster board from their shirt.
- Now their idiom activity is complete. They can remove the poster board, and their shirt is ready to be worn.
To check out some fun extension idiom activities you can do with these shirts, click here.
If you'd like a copy of this free resource which includes the template, a list of idioms, and a rubric, you can sign up below.