Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The dog days of summer


Two weeks ago, my husband and I drove to Cincinnati to pick up our "grand-dogs;" their parents are in the middle of moving there where our son-in-law will be continuing his surgical residency at the University of Cincinnati. Since they were in-between houses we agreed to "dog-sit" for several weeks. Cruise (the Maltese) and Brandy (a Corgy/Chow/Golden Retriever mix- or as a friend described her, "a stuffed Disney character come to life") now frolic around the house and have scampered, sniffed, and snuggled their way into our lives. We're going to have a hard time giving them back in a few weeks.

I guess you can say that we've just gone to the dogs…

Have you ever played with idioms like these in the classroom? According to www.wilstar.com, Dog days of summer refers to the hottest and most sultry days which in the northern hemisphere from July-September. Apparently, the brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) constellation is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. The star is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it.

How about "gone to the dogs?" According to this English language website, if something has gone to the dogs, it has gone badly wrong and lost all the good things it had.

Several years ago at Novello, an annual book festival in Charlotte, NC, our SCBWI group manned a booth. We invited children to pick an idiom out of a box and then draw it- not what the idiom meant, but what the words said. This is a fun activity for elementary age students and can be particularly helpful for ESL students. Can you imagine your students drawing "Down at the mouth", "take a nosedive" or, "spit it out"? Print out a list of idioms, cut them apart, hand them out, and voila! You'll have a great mini-lesson on language usage. If your hunger for idiom-play is not satiated, then check out Maupin House's books Idioms for Aliens and Exploring Idioms.

Has the Baldwin family gone to the dogs? I believe Brandy and Cruise would vote "yes."

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2 comments:

C.R. Evers said...

awwwww! Your grand dogs are adorable! They give a whole new meaning the the phrase! :0)


Great creative exercise too!

Christy

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

The idiom activity sounds like fun.

And the dogs are too cute!