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Proverbidioms (Mobile App)

Website Example:

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iPad(s), iPhones, WiFi, projector, document camera for demonstration (optional)

Activity Description

Use the free section of this mobile app in class to teach 20 common idioms or have students use the app individually, in pairs, or small groups to learn idioms. The free section of the app provides an idiom or proverb in text, such as "butterflies in one’s stomach," which the user must find in an illustration that has several idioms represented. After selecting the picture in the illustration, a definition is provided with tabs that give an example sentence using the idiom, the idiom’s origin, and sharing options (share picture on FB, Twitter, or e-mail to a friend). Other examples of idioms include the following: bookworm, cat got your tongue, raining cats and dogs, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.


  1. Install the app and preview the sections to decide if the activities are level-appropriate for your class.
  2. Install the app on all your classroom devices.
  3. Plan a mini lesson to introduce idioms and proverbs (optionally). Dave's ESL Cafe has an idiom page  with meanings and examples.
  4. Plan an assignment, such as note-taking, story writing, or dialog writing to use in conjunction with the app.


  1. Select New Game.
  2. Enter your name.
  3. Select Save and Continue.
  4. Select the image above Proverbidioms: 264 proverbs and clichés.
  5. Read the idiom or proverb in the Challenge box and select Accept Challenge.
  6. Zoom in on the image to find a picture that represents the idiom. When you find it, select it.
    Then read and take notes on the definition. Select the other tabs to view and copy the sample sentence and the idiom’s origin.
  7. Proceed through the game to find all 20 of the free idioms.

Teacher Tips

  • The app could also be used as a warm-up or filler activity, or as an assignment in which students to learn and take notes on 20 idioms to later write a story or dialogs using their favorite idiom(s).
  • The rest of the 264 idioms in the app’s first section can be unlocked by payment. There are also three other sections providing more than 500 other idioms and sayings. See the Apple app store  for current pricing on paid sections of app.

More Ways

  • Even though there are only 20 free definitions, you could project the image and point out other idioms (there are 264 total) in the picture, providing definitions, or simply having students write them down and assigning students to do Internet searches to find definitions to teach classmates other idioms. See T.E. Breitenbach Studios  for information on purchasing the idiom posters as well as a link for downloading an eBook, available for Nook, iPad, and Kindle.


  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology

Mobile Device


  • iPhone
  • iPad

Apple Store

Developer Site

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.