These are activities to introduce and practise happiness and sadness idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing words, divide the idioms into ☺ and ☹ and do a Find someone who activity with their classmates.

Level: B2

Time: 60 minutes


  1. To introduce happiness and sadness idioms.
  2. To complete the idioms with the missing words.
  3. To divide the idioms into ☺ and ☹.
  4. To interview other students.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Ups and downs Worksheet,one per student.


  1. Write the following quote on the board and ask students to discuss it in pairs:

“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life.” Mandy Hale

  1. Hand the students Ups and downs Worksheet.
  2. Individually, students complete the idioms in Exercise 1 with the missing words.
  3. When the students have finished, they compare their answers with a partner.
  4. Check the answers as a class.
  5. Now, individually again, the students decide if the idioms are related to positive or negative feelings.
  6. When they have finished, ask them to compare with their partner and if they have any differences to give reasons for their choices.
  7. Elicit answers from students.
  8. Next, students complete the missing words in the idioms again. Ask them to fold the sheet and try and do it from memory first. I try to use every opportunity for students to play with the new vocabulary as much as possible and in as many ways as possible to increase their chances of remembering the idioms.
  9. Students now mingle and try to get affirmative answers from their classmates, e.g. find someone who cried their eyes out when they watched Titanic. If the other student says ‘yes’ they have to elaborate e.g. Of course I cried my eyes out when I watched Titanic. It was heartbreaking watching Jack die. Allow no more than 3 minutes for each interview. When the time is up ask students to switch partners.
  10. When the students have had a chance to ask everyone’s opinion, ask them which answers surprised them the most.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to briefly describe the happiest or the saddest day in their lives using at least 5 of the idioms studied.

Related posts:

Actions speak louder than words

Can’t stop dishing out idioms

There is no place like…school

You make my heart BEET 😉

Somewhere over the rainbow 

It’s game time


Nothing changes if nothing changes

The proof is in the pudding

P.S. Thank you Alex.


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