Leaping lizards, teachers! Ever asked a student to be "as quiet
as a mouse"? Ever advised one not to "throw in the sponge"? Not
sure if students know what those sayings mean? Have them consult
this beautifully illustrated book on figures of speech. Organized
into six chapters, such as "In the Wild" and "Under the Waves,"
There's a Frog in My Throat! provides the phrase, meaning,
and lively illustration for sayings from "Bug off!" to "It's the
bee's knees!" Sure to make your students "laugh like hyenas!" "More
fun than a barrel of monkeys!"
Set the Stage
Get students ready to read by talking about familiar animal sayings:
What does it mean if "There's a frog in my throat?" Can you
demonstrate how I would sound? How strong is the downpour if it's
raining "cats and dogs"?
Explain that there are sayings in English that compare people
to animals. Discuss sayings students know, such as "working like
a dog" or "See you later, alligator!"
Show the front and back covers and talk about the sayings
there. Play a quick game in which a volunteer says a catchy phrase,
another explains its meaning ("Leaping lizards" means "Wow!").
After students have enjoyed the book, lead a lively discussion with
Which animal sayings are new to you?
Which animal saying have you heard before?
Which saying is your favorite? Why?
Why are the illustrations important to the book?
What do you notice about the treatment of the page numbers?
Students will have fun with this reproducible as they learn what
idioms are and how they are used as expressions in our language.
and Copy the Classroom Activity Now (PDF)
To extend students' enjoyment of the book, try these:
- Keep the
Page: Make bookmarks of favorite animal sayings. On one side
of a piece of 2 1/4 inch x 5 1/2 inch oaktag, write the saying
and its figurative meaning. On the other, illustrate its literal
meaning. Have each student use the bookmark to keep his place
in the book.
Book of Funny Animal Sayings: At the top of each page, students
write a saying, along with its figurative meaning. At the bottom,
they create a popup or spring-out illustration of its literal
It Up: This is a mixer in which each student finds their saying-mate.
To 15 students, give a blue piece of paper on which is written
an animal saying, such as "I don't give a hoot." To 15 different
students, give a red piece of paper with the meaning of a phrase,
such as "I don't care." (Each student carries one piece of paper,
either blue or red.) Have students mill around the room, trying
to find the classmate who's holding a saying or meaning that matches
their own. A great party game!
None of Your Beeswax!": Working in pairs, have students create
a park bench conversation in which they use as many animal sayings
as they can.
- Mom, Be
a Good Egg!: Ask students to interview a family member about
their favorite animal saying.
- Read On!:
Do students like books about funny phrases? Try these: Amelia
Bedelia series, Punching the Clock: Funny Action Idioms
or Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms, both by Marvin Terban.
by Dr. Susan Shafer
Dr. Susan Shafer is a former elementary school teacher with more
than twenty years of classroom experience and a doctorate in education
from Teachers College, Columbia University. While teaching she received
special recognition for her innovative, theme-based teaching methods.
The author of two books for children and numerous articles for adults,
Susan is presently a freelance writer, editor, and educational consultant.