Thursday, 27 May 2010

Let Sleeping "Cat" Lie

Although Joey is indeed fast asleep inside my Rosemary Plantation, the actual idiom I had in mind was "Let sleeping dogs lie", which refers more to the picture below. The lesson was one I had written a while back, but was lying buried beneath my more recent posts. I published the following Picture Phrasr post at the beginning of my blogging days!

Picture Phrasr

Can you guess the idiom depicted by Kelly, Sofia and Isabella above?

I have just been looking through the archives of Nik's Learning Technology Teacher Development Blog and have come across "Phrasr" by PimPamPum, which was highlighted in the blog in February 2008. I decided to have a play and I wrote the answer to my question above. Please see this sentence. Did you guess the idiom? It looks like a fun site and great tool for exploiting the huge array of pictures available on flickr. Have a go at creating a picture sentence or paragraph yourself!
2nd December 2008

CATaloguing Idioms
Idioms have always held a fascination for me and finding pictures to go with them to make them stand out, has invariably been a quest of mine. I will focus on Cat idioms and show you a few images which can be used to create some effective and memorable lessons. Using your own images whenever possible, adds an extra element to motivate and engage your learners.

Feeding the Fat Cat
The image below of a "fat cat" was found while I was hunting for hidden gems from "The English Blog" by Jeffrey Hill. I can always count on this fantastic blog to come up with brilliant cartoons from newspapers based on topical news of the day. Other lovely examples of "Fat Cat" can also be found in the English Blog's archives here.

Has the Cat got your Tongue?

This was a question I was actually asked by a teacher when I failed to respond to a rather tricky question. I have never forgotten this as I was indeed lost for words, and could not for the life of me reply to the question. I was 18 at the time, and it was a question to do with my Latin A level. What is the meaning of this idiom? Choose one of the 3 answers below:
  1. You can't remember something
  2. You don't know the answer to a question
  3. You are not saying anything
Like the Cat that got the Cream

This expression means one of the following. Can you guess which one is true?
  1. Someone who looks very pleased with themselves, because of something good that they have done
  2. Someone who makes other people happy by always complimenting them
Original cartoon source from Google image search.

You can view a lesson plan of mine based on this idiom below. This section has been updated today.

Let the Cat out of the Bag

This is an idiom which crops up a lot. If you let the cat out of the bag, you accidentally reveal a secret or a surprise. I once let the cat out of the bag when I told a friend I would see her on Saturday night. She looked surprised. I then realised I had almost spilled the beans. A surprise party had been arranged for her on the Saturday night. I immediately backtracked as soon as I realised I had almost given the game away. Luckily, it was forgotten, my friend didn't notice, and the cat stayed firmly in the bag!

You can view a lovely painting of this idiom from Image © Ben Killen Rosenberg / Getty Images by viewing this page here. I have removed the image I had here, as I wasn't sure of copyright.

LinkLike a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Well, in fact Vicki is on top of a terracotta roof, but you get the gist.
Does she look a) pleased to have her photo taken? or b) nervous and unable to keep still?

The following sentence should give you an idea:
What's the matter with Victoria today? She's like a cat on a tin roof. Normally she's very calm and laid-back.

It's raining Cats and Dogs

Yes, I admit, this idiom is a little bit "old hat", but you can still hear it being used when it's bucketing down with rain! I love this image. I found it via a Google cartoon search.

BBC Learning English site
I love the BBC Learning English videos based on teaching idioms. Here is one of my favourite episodes below, which includes 3 cat idioms and their explanation. The lesson with Teacher's Homework from students can be found here.

Funky Cat
Reading through Shaun Wilden's lovely blog I came across this great post on Playing with "photo" type programs again.. I learned about BeFunky and how to turn your images into funky cartoons and other great fun alternatives. I had a little play and below you can see how Joey turned out!

Cool for cats or what? This nifty little tool is free, quick and easy to use and does not involve registration. Students would have great fun making their projects with images more fun and gives a funky twist to the usual.

Here is the original photo taken in the garden. Joe looks like a cat on a mission, doesn't he? I also think Joe has well and truly had his 15 minutes of fame in this post!

I would love to hear how you exploit idioms of any sort. There are many ways to make them more fun. Please do add your tips!


Jeffrey Hill said...

I can categorically say that this is a great catalogue of cat-related idioms.

Janet Bianchini said...

Dear Jeffrey

Thank you very much for your lovely compliment.

I need to thank Sir Joseph for the inspiration to write this post. As soon as I saw him in the rosemary patch, I thought of the title for the post and then everything evolved from that.

popps said...

Joey or Sir Joseph? How should he be addressed?
I too had nothing to say during five years of Latin Study so i sympathize.
The French have the expression "give your tongue to the cat" - Donner sa langue au chat.
It is best used when someone is trying to guess something and you want to say - d'ya give up?

Janet Bianchini said...

Usually he is called Joey but when he has been up to something suspicious or a bit "fishy", then I call him Joseph in a stern-sounding voice and he seems to react well to that.

I actually loved my Latin lessons as I had fantastic teachers. I'll always remember Miss Smith greeting us with "Salve, puellae" at the beginning of every lesson.

popps said...

i remember just guessing the meanings of the words.
Serve the paella?

Janet Bianchini said...

Ermm, an inspired guess, but it actually means "Hello, girls!"

Unknown said...

Dear Janet, we're just trying to add some great image-rich resource for teachers in a Flickr group "Idioms in English" started by Michael Coghlan. It would be great if you could join us in this endeavor!
Idioms in English Flickr Group

Beijos from Brazil!

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Carla

It looks like a fantastic initiative and I would be very happy to contribute some images. Thank you for mentioning it to me!

Ciao da Janet