Say What You Mean, Please
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
based on Even More Parts
by Tedd Arnold
About the Book
Dont you ever wonder how idioms came to be? Who would think a phrase like keep your chin up would mean to be cheerful, even when things arent so great. This is a hilarious book chock-full of idioms, all about body parts. And when the main character takes these literally, he goes to pieces-literally!
Set the Stage
Discuss the cover of the book. Talk about the picture on the cover, read the title and the authors name. Have the children make predictions about the book. Record their predictions. Have a picture walk of the books pictures. Without reading the words, talk about each picture and make predictions before turning the page. Then read the book and check the predictions.
Introduce the word "idiom" with the class. Talk about the figurative and literal meanings of idioms. With younger students, you can talk about each picture and what the authors picture says the idiom is. Many students will pick up on the fact that the literal meaning is what it says but it is not what it really means. That would be the figurative meaning. Give some other examples that they may have heard before such as, raining cats and dogs or Ive got a frog in my throat. Explain that there is a reason for each idiom and why we use it, and then find a resource that explains the origins. Many sources are available online by searching for "idiom meanings." Talk about the authors purpose for writing this book. Why did the author write Even More Parts? What do you think he had in mind for the reader?
Students will be Eager Beavers to find the correct meaning of some common idioms on this reproducible activity sheet.
To extend students enjoyment of the book, try these:
- Get to Know Idioms Inside Out: Allow the students to pick an idiom from the book, a list of common idioms from a Web site or another source and write the idiom, write its figurative meaning, and then illustrate its literal meaning. Allow the students to share their creations with the class and then hang them up around the classroom.
- What Does It Mean?: Talk about the trouble an English language learner would have with idioms. Let the students come up with some situations where it would be difficult at school, at home, shopping, or at work.
- Who is Tedd Arnold?: Check out more books by Tedd Arnold. Read them to the class or have them for the students to read themselves. After reading some, choose two and lead the students through a comparison/contrast lesson using the two you chose.
- Rhyme Time: This book has some rhyming words in parts of the story. Find the words that rhyme and list them on the board or a piece of chart paper. Notice that the words that rhyme with each other are not necessarily spelled the same way (heard and word). With older students, this is a good opportunity to study sounds for better spelling and vocabulary skills.
- Find that Idiom: Allow the children to write to a prompt. Tell them to try to include an idiom or two in their narrative or expository. Let them exchange their finished products with a partner and see if the other child can find the idiom and circle it.