Posts tagged ‘idioms’

70. Agatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story by Carmen Agra

agatha's feather bedRetell: Agatha is famous for saying, “Everything comes from something.”  One night, as she dreams on her new feather bed she is visited by naked geese who want their feathers back.  Agatha comes up with an interesting compromise.

Topics: origins, fabric, responsibility

Units of Study: Social Issues

Tribes: mutual respect

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe, thinking flexibly

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense (understanding idioms and puns), inference

Writing Skills: using first-person narration, including puns

My Thoughts: In her author’s note Deedy writes, “What we choose to discuss with our children concerning ivory, whalebone, or the Brazilian rain forest is a matter of both individual conscience and collective responsibility.  But the first step is to ask.”  This book is all about inspiring people to ask, “Where does it come from?”  Reading these words I’m reminded of a 4th grader who seemed so shocked when she discovered that leather is made from the hides of cows.  The text contains a lot of interesting features.  When describing her old mattress as ‘lumpy’ and ‘bumpy’ the letters actually look lumpy and bumpy.  There are lots of cute idioms, puns and play-on-words.  I know I’ll have to explain to my students why the name of the catalog (B.B. Lean) is so funny.

September 4, 2009 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

46. Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards by Serge Bloch

butterflies in my stomach and other school hazardsRetell: It’s the first day of school and the narrator is nervous.  Each person he encounters speaks in confusing idioms.

Topics: first day of school, idioms, school

Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Realistic Fiction

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, envisionment

My Thoughts: It’s well into August and that means that my mind is beginning to think more and more about the first weeks of school.  I’m on the hunt for engaging books to start the year out well.  I found this cute book a few days ago during a visit to Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon.  Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards not only makes for a good read aloud on the first day of school, but it is also great for introducing idioms.  On each page the main character encounters a person who says an idiom.  Each idiom is illustrated literally.  For example, when his teacher said “he was all ears,” the illustration shows the teacher with giant ears.  If you didn’t want to read this book aloud in one sitting, you could read a page or two each day as a warm-up activity.  You could keep a chart of idioms that the class learns each day.

August 12, 2009 at 12:45 am 1 comment


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