Lesson: Figurative Language Overview

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Lesson Objective

Students will review metaphors and similes for assessment in poetry.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Readers you have done a great job focusing on different skills over the past four weeks.  We only have one week left before we begin taking our end-of-year assessments.  This week we will focus on two skills to review.  The first is poetry.  I really loved our poetry unit and many of you were wonderful poets.  You all know a lot about poetry already but today we will review two types of figurative language; metaphors and similes.


Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Before we begin reading examples of poems we need to remember the definitions of metaphors and similes.  Remember both similes and metaphors are comparisons between two things.  However, a simile uses the word like or as.  For example, Ms. Smith is as hungry as a hippo.  A metaphor does not use like or as which makes the comparison stronger.  For example, Ms. Smith is a hippo. 


Let’s practice quickly before looking at a poem.  Turn and tell your partner one example of a simile.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher calls on students to share out their examples.  Great job! Now turn and tell your partner an example of a metaphor you have heard before.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher calls on students to share. 


Now that we have refreshed our memories.  Let’s look at a poem that contains metaphors and similes.  Teacher places the poem, The Light House, on the overhead.  This poem contains a metaphor and a simile in each stanza.  As we read today we will take the time to discuss these comparison and visualize the images in our minds.


Teacher reads aloud the first stanza.  I noticed a metaphor in this stanza.  The author compared a light house to a guardian angel.  I have to use my background knowledge about guardian angels to understand this comparison.  I’m thinking this must mean that the light house protects sailors and keeps them safe.  I have an image in my mind of the light house shining a bright light over the ocean to make sure every is safe.  I think the author included this comparison to help me understand how helpful and protective light houses can be for sailors. 


Did you notice how I thought about each part of the metaphor and tried to think about what the comparison meant and why the author included this comparison.  Let’s try again with the simile in this stanza.  The simile in the second stanza compares the light house beam to the sun because it is so bright.  Close your eyes and visualize this comparison.  I see a huge bright light coming out of the light house, I imagined a bright orange light similar to the sun.  The author might have included this comparison to help me understand the brightness of the light house. 


Now let’s try together with the second stanza.  Teacher reads aloud the second stanza of the poem.  What metaphor did you notice in this stanza?  Teacher calls on a student to share.  I agree, the lighthouse is being compared to a soldier.  Turn and tell your partner what this metaphor means or makes you think about a light house.  Students turn and talk as teacher listens in to conversations.  Teacher calls on students to share their thinking.  I think you all did a great job.  The author is explaining that light houses stand tall against storms and are brave like soldiers.


There is also a simile in this stanza.  Did you hear it while I was reading aloud?  Teacher calls on a student to share the simile.  Right! The author compares the light form the house to a sharp knife.  Turn and tell your partner the meaning of this simile.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher calls on a student to share.  Great job readers! The beam cuts through the darkness and shines through like a knife cuts through things. 


I think you are ready to try on your own.  When you return to your seats today you will practice with the third stanza.  I provided questions to help you think about the comparisons in the poem.  Off you go readers.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats to complete work independently.  Teacher should circulate during this time or conference with groups of students.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher collect the metaphor and simile worksheet from students to use an exit slip.  This can be used to determine which students need additional support with the skill.  You may also have students share out any additional metaphors or similes they found while reading independently. 


Reflection: Figurative language is always a fun skill to teach.  My students need this refresher lesson because they often forget the difference between the two devices.  However, they love finding examples and explaining the meaning behind these comparisons as they read.  As an extension activity students may write their own poems with examples of metaphors or similes on the back of the worksheet.

Lesson Resources

Light House poem and questions.doc  


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