Lesson: Literary Devices

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to identify different types of literary devices in a short story and explain how they enhance the story or why the author used them.

Lesson Plan

5th Grade
WA 1.5 & LRA 3.5/3.7–Figurative Language
*This lesson builds off a previous lesson the focuses on Character Analysis.  
Standard : Word Analysis 5.R.1.5 & Literary Response and Analysis 5.R.3.5, 3.7
5.R.1.5 Understand and explain the figurative and metaphorical use of words in context.
5.R.3.5 Describe the function & effect of common literary devices (e.g., imagery, metaphor, symbolism).
5.R.3.7 Evaluate the author’s use of various techniques (eg, appeal of characters in a picture bk, logic & credibility of plots & settings, use of figurative language) to influence readers’ perspective
I. Desired Outcome
By the end of the period, students will correctly identify 8/10 phrases as similes or metaphors.
II. Evidence of Learning
Simile/metaphor worksheet/quiz
Questioning during read aloud
Hand signals during read aloud
III. Opening the Lesson
A. Activity to open the lesson ideally:
 1. Motivates and engages students,
 2. Either assesses prior knowledge or explicitly builds on prior knowledge/life experiences/interests – for example, “Do Nows”
 3. States the objective of the lesson.
B. How long will the opening take?
C. Consider Blooms Taxonomy/Ask good questions (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation)
Pre-read questioning and intro:
The other day we read a short biography of Marian Anderson’s life. We saw that one thing that made this such a good book was that the main character was well developed. Well another thing that authors often do to enhance or improve their writing is use figurative language like similes and metaphors. As we read today we are going to listen for these two types of figurative language and think about how this language adds to the story.
(3-4 minutes)
IV. Instruction and Modeling – What is the teacher doing?
A.What are you going to teach and how? (Will you provide relevant information, model thought processes, establish guides or graphic organizers, etcetera?)
B.How will you differentiate instruction? (small groups, guided math, guided reading, guided writing, literature circles, etc)
C..How long will each activity take?
D. Consider Blooms Taxonomy/Ask good questions (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation)
E. Consider Newmann’s Rigor
Figurative language isn’t meant to be taken literally. That means it doesn’t mean exactly what it says. You have to think about the words represent. Two very popular forms of figurative language are simile and metaphor.
Write definitions on the board and have students record in their own notebooks.
What is a simile? (A simile compares two unlike things using the words “like” or “as.” ) We could say that last night, the sky was as dark as the inside of a deep cave. In this simile we are comparing the darkness of the night with the darkness of a cave. A cave and the sky are two very different things but what they have in common is that they were both dark.
(provide more examples if necessary)
Does anyone know what a metaphor is? (A metaphor compares two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as.”) Metaphors usually say that something is another thing. For example, I could say that I was so hungry that my stomach was a growling bear. Now my stomach definitely wasn’t really a bear but when I was hungry it growled like a bear might growl. 
 (10 minutes)
V.Guided Practice – What are the students doing?
A.What will students do to interact and practice the subject matter? 
B. How will you differentiate instruction? 
C.What sorts of groupings will you use?
D.How long will each activity take?
*If you used the previous lesson plan on character analysis, this will be the second time you read this text aloud. Now that the students are already familiar with the characters and events, they will be able to better focus on the author’s figurative language.
Now we’ve already read this through once and that’s going to help us. As I read this aloud a second time, I want you to listen carefully for any similes or metaphors. The author used these figures of speech to make her writing more poetic but it does require better reading skills to understand.  If you hear one, hold up a silent signal. Hold up one finger to show “simile” and two fingers to show “metaphor.”
Practice hand signals before read aloud with a few simple examples: The witch’s hair was as rough and tangled as a pile of twigs. Her heart was an empty glass.
Read aloud: (Similes and metaphors you will encounter)
1. “Their harmony blended like a silk braid.” Is this a simile or metaphor? How do we know? What is being compared here? What is a harmony? How is a harmony like a silk braid?
2. “Her voice sounded like a steel door clanking shut.”
Is this a simile or metaphor? How do we know? What is being compared here? How does this metaphor help show Marian’s feelings?
3. “But opera was simply the sun and the moon-a dream that seemed too far away to reach.” Is this a simile or metaphor? How do we know? What is being compared here? How did Marian feel about opera?
4. “Washington D.C. was a boiling pot about to spill over.”  Is this a simile or metaphor? How do we know? What is being compared here? How was the city about to boil over?
(25 minutes)
VI. Independent Practice
Now that we have practiced finding similes and metaphors together, you are going to practice on your own. On the worksheet I am distributing, you are going to read 10 different sentences or phrases. Then, for each phrase, decide if it is a simile or metaphor and what two things are being compared.
Distribute worksheet.
(10 minutes)
VIII. Closing the Lesson
Now that we have had practice with similes and metaphors, I want you to keep your eyes open for more figures of speech in your own reading.
You may want to post a chart paper where students can record similes and metaphors they come across in their own reading. Revisit this chart and give students a chance to explain the figures of speech they encounter in the days and weeks ahead.
(2-3 minutes)
1. What went well?
2. What would you change?
3. What needs explanation?
Reading the book once before and going over vocabulary made it easier for students to focus on figurative language the second time through.
I should have given students more of a chance to “turn and talk” to discuss each figure of speech during the read aloud.
This book is more advanced than other picture books that can also be used for teaching simile and metaphor. Try using a book such as Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.

Lesson Resources

Similes and Metaphors worksheet   Assessment
Symbolism Questions   Assessment
personification poetry   Reading Passage
Idiom activity draw and draw   Activity
Literary Devices   Notes


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