Friday, February 18, 2011

Picture Book Lesson Plan: The Cat's Pajamas by Wallace Edwards

Cat's Pajamas, TheI have had a copy of The Cat's Pajamas sitting around for weeks.   I finally picked it up today to find it was the perfect day to read it!  It just so happened that in my children's daily grammar review, they had to identify the meanings of idioms.  Wallace Edwards' book, The Cat's Pajamas, is a collection of idioms.   The book begins with a definition of these fun figures of speech.  Each page has a single sentence with an idiom included.  An elaborate and vivid illustration depicts the literal meaning of the idiom.  The context clues help to identify the figurative meaning of it (if the child is not already familiar with it).  There is a list at the back of the book of all the idioms and their meanings which I found helpful since there were a few I was not familiar with already.  I used this book in a simple way to teach about idioms.  It is an easy lesson for parents or teachers to impliment.  No advance preparation is needed aside from having a copy of the book.

First, I read and briefly discussed the definition provided in the book.
Second, I read the sentence out loud on the first page.  I pointed out how the picture shows the literal meaning of the figure of speech.  In this case, a mouse is "hanging" on to the cloth he is sewing. 
Third, I identified the idiom "getting the hang of." 
Fourth, we discussed the meaning.
Finally, we went through the remaining pages.  Each time, I asked my children to identify the idiom.  Then, they guessed what they thought it meant based on previous knowledge and/or context clues. 

Extension activities or assessment opportunities are plentiful.  For instance, provide each student or group of students with an idiom.  Instruct them to illustrate it and/or write a sentence using the idiom.   In addition, you can provide a list of other idioms within sentences to practice context clues and to identify the meanings.  Finally, give the students a list of idioms to use to write a funny story.  They can have the idiom use the literal or figurative meaning.   Ameilia Bedelia books are great examples of this technique. 

Lesson Plans and Activities for Idioms on the Internet
Idiom Lesson Plan (Grades 4-6)
What are Idioms?  Uses More Parts book by Tedd Arnold.
Idioms for Dummies
Idiom Activities
Idiom Lesson Plan (Grade 7)
Eat Up Idioms

Also Check Out:
You Are What You Eat and Other Mealtime Hazards by Serge Bloch
Using sketch drawings and color pictures (primarily of food items), idioms are humorously illustrated and properly used in sentences.  Use as a follow up to The Cat's Pajamas.

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