Cinquains and Similes with a Dash of Metaphors

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SWBAT write a cinquain poem and also be able to identify similes in poetry and music.

Big Idea

This lesson teaches students what a cinquain poem is, how to write one, and also focuses on the use of similes and metaphors in poetry. Students will look for similes and metaphors used in poetry and music.


Lesson Opener

30 minutes

To start our today's lesson, I am going to introduce the students to similes and metaphors. Similes and metaphors are frequently found in music.  Even in some of the popular songs today.  ;)  By using some of the songs that the students like to listen to, I hope to better engage the students and boost their understanding of similes and metaphors.  

First I will explain to the kids what similes and metaphors are.  Both are comparisons of two or more unrelated things.  Similes are usually comparing things using the words "as" or "like." A metaphor compares things  without using "as" or "like."  Metaphors frequently use "is" or "are" when comparing things.

Next, I will play clips of music from some popular songs.  Many of these songs are FULL of similes and/or metaphors.  I will give a couple examples and have the kids help me find more.  The following songs are the songs we will be using:

Firework by Katie Perry
Simile: Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind,
Metaphor: Cause, baby, you're a firework

Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
Simile: Life's like a road that you travel on
Simile: Life is a highway

Naturally by Selena Gomez
Metaphor: You are the thunder
Metaphor: I am the lightening

My Heart's a Stereo by Gym Class Heroes (Even the title is a metaphor!! :) )
Metaphor: My heart's a stereo
Metaphor: Make me your radio

Mean by Taylor Swift
Simile: You, with your words like knives and swords
Simile: You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard,


Next we will take a look at some poetry that uses similes and metaphors.

We will be using the "Random House Book of Poetry for Children" with poems in the book selected by Jack Prelutsky.

The final poem we will take a look at is called "November Night" by Adelaide Crapsey.  This is a cinquain poem on the following website:

This will lead us into writing cinquain poems.


Prelutsky, J. (1983). Random House Book of Poetry. New York, NY : Random House, Inc.

Group Project

15 minutes

Today we will work on the cinquain section of their Pocket Poetry Guides.  We will read through the description page on cinquain poems and also the steps on creating cinquain poems. We will then work together as a class to create a cinquain poem together.  This will help them understand the steps to creating a cinquain poem so that they can create one on their own.

Independent Project

20 minutes

After we have created our class poem, I will then give students time to create their own cinquain poem. As the students are working I will walk around helping those who need help coming up with ideas or need help in general. Those who finish quickly I will challenge to write another cinquain poem.  

During writing time, I always have the kids  keep what we call a level 0 voice.  Level 0 means that there is no voice at all.  It is quiet work time. I feel strongly that when students are asked to write, the environment needs to be one where they can think and not be distracted. Most of the time I encourage collaboration in my classroom, so a level 0 voice is not expected all the time, but it is during writing.

Lesson Closer

10 minutes

To wrap up our lesson, I will allow students who would like to share their poems to do just that. We have a castle theme in my classroom this year, so when I have the students share their writing they share from our royal reader thrown.  It gets kids excited about sharing their work.