Examples of Idiom with Sentences
What does ‘A Little Bird Told Me’ mean?
When discussing idiom, act them out for students. Don’t be afraid to HAM IT UP!
- Say to the students… ‘If we build a picture of what the words of this idiom are actually saying, there would be a little bird sitting right here in my hand talking to me.’ (Cup your hand and pretend there is a tiny bird there. Put your ear to your hand as if the bird is talking to you).
- Dramatize, ‘What’s that little bird?’ (Make a surprised face like you heard something amazing. Pull away from your hand, look at the students, then back at your hand).
- (Pretend to listening to your hand. While looking at the students raise your eyebrows in shock). Say, ‘No way! They’ll never believe that secret. I can’t tell them!’ By now they will be begging you to tell them the secret or will be laughing at you for having a conversation with an imaginary bird.
- Say to students, ‘We all know birds can only talk in chirps, tweets and songs. A little bird wouldn’t be able to talk to me! When someone uses the idiom ‘a little bird told me’, what do you think they mean?’ Have students think about or write down their ideas.
- Reveal the figurative meaning of this idiom to students. ‘When someone uses this idiom, they are saying someone told them a secret but they don’t want to say who told them the secret’.
Etymology (The Origin of the Phrase)
We are not quite sure where this idiom started. The general opinion is it originated in a time well before cell phones and computers when people would send letters and short messages by carrier pigeon.
Idioms in Sentences:
- Display these conversations and have students act them out:
Brody: Hey Asha, A little bird told me you were planning a surprise party for me.
Asha: (looking around) Really. I didn’t know birds could talk.
Brody: Oh you big joker. It is a phrase. It means someone told me the secret about the party but I don’t want to tell you who it was!
Asha: Oh I see.
Nina: Hi Abby. What’s new?
Asha: Well, a little bird told me you made the football team.
Nina: I didn’t know birds talked!
Abby: A bird didn’t really talk to me. It’s a figure of speech. It means someone told me something in confidence and I don’t want to let you know where it came from. Good job making the team though!
Making it Their Own:
Have students build short plays to experiment with this idiom. Have them ‘Think, Pair, Share’, ‘Think, Pair, Square’ their interpretations and when they’re feeling brave ask them to perform their skit for the class.