Grade Levels: 3-4
- Students will identify and analyze
idioms in the Geronimo Stilton books.
- Students will explore the expressive
and figurative nature of idioms.
- Students will analyze the meanings
- Students will incorporate idioms in their own writing.
- Students will explore the history
and origins of idioms.
- Students will interpret idioms
visually and create drawings based on them.
- Geronimo Stilton books
- pens, pencils, crayons, colored
- writing paper
1. An idiom is a common everyday expression which is
not defined by the usual meanings of the words that compose
it. Instead, it states ideas in unusual and imaginative
ways to create vivid mental images in readers’ minds. The
idiom “It’s raining cats and dogs” is one such example.
It does not mean that cats and dogs are actually falling
from the sky; instead, this idiom is a fun way of saying
that it is raining heavily.
Have students use context clues to decipher the following
idioms, highlighted in boldface, from the Geronimo Stilton
books. (You may wish to read these excerpts aloud or write
them on the board.)
On page 77 of Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House:
"Get a grip, Geronimo, I told myself sharply. It’s
time to stop being such a scaredy mouse. Yes, I, Geronimo
Stilton, would turn over a new leaf."
On page 28:
"My sister snorted. ' Why are you getting your whiskers
in a twist, then?' she scolded…. 'You really make a mountain
out of a mousehill sometimes!' " (Point out
that this idiom is a twist on the more commonly known expression
“to make a mountain out of a molehill.”)
On page 70 of I’m Too Fond of My Fur!:
"The professor trusted me. I would never give away
personal information. Yep, I can hold my tongue when
I need to."
2. Have volunteers explain their answers and use each idiom
in an original sentence of their own. Then ask each student
to pair up with a classmate to find additional idioms in
a Geronimo Stilton book of their choice. Ask them
to be ready to explain to the class what they think each
idiom means and why.
3. Print out the Do
You Know Your Idioms? worksheet (PDF) to examine other
expressions that students may be familiar with. Have volunteers
use crayons and/or colored markers when making drawings
based on idioms (without revealing the idioms themselves).
Then invite other students to guess what expressions artwork
1. The history behind certain idioms is often as interesting
as the expressions themselves. Some of them date back hundreds
of years and come from other parts of the world. Ask students
if they can guess the origins of simple idioms such as “having
a bad hair day” (a day when everything seems to go wrong),
then challenge them with trickier expressions such as “pulling
the wool over one’s eyes.” You can research the origins
of these idioms and more at Web sites such as http://www.idiomsite.com.
(Note: This site has traces of adult language and should
not be recommended for children to visit.)
Teacher Observation: Were students able to identify
idioms and their meanings? Did they understand relationships
between literal and figurative meanings?
- Could the students decipher the
meanings of idioms using context clues?
- Could the students use idioms in
- Did creating drawings based on
idioms help them make meaningful connections between literal
and figurative meanings?
1. Write unfamiliar idioms on the front of note cards
and give to each group of three to four students. Help each
group determine and then write the idiom’s real definition
on the back of each card, along with two false definitions.
Then have students from each group read aloud the front
and back of their cards and ask the rest of the class to
guess the true definition.
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