What Does the Figurative Language Mean?

21 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT determine the meaning of figurative language by reading poetry and discussing figurative language.

Big Idea

Using figurative language to drive a discussion about poetry.

Word Roots Warm-Up

15 minutes

Today is the fourth day of this unit, so it's time to take a formative quiz.  I have students take out a piece of scrap paper to do this.  The quiz is on the PowerPoint slide, and I just have students write the letter of the correct answer.  As this quiz is a self-evaluation, my main focus is the reflective writing on their Cornell notes.

After everyone is done with the quiz, we go over the answers as a class.  I make sure to mention the importance of learning these in small bites and not waiting until the night before the test to try to memorize them all.  I compare this type of studying to learning a foreign language.  We discuss memorization strategies such as flashcards.  (A great website for electronic flashcards is Quizlet)

Once everyone knows which ones they got right and wrong, I have students write a reflective paragraph on their Cornell notes.  I display the prompt slide while they write.  It is this writing that I use as an assessment for this formative classwork.



5 minutes

Today students are going to create a chart to record examples of figurative language they find in poems.

I ask them to fold a sheet in quarters and label the tops of each column.

I also have them get out their Figurative Language Cornell Notes from yesterday and the day before.

Getting Down to Business

30 minutes

During this part of today's lesson, I work with students on reading poetry, finding examples of figurative language, and then discussing what the figurative language means. Using the PowerPoint, I display the first poem, "Who Has Seen the Wind?" 

I read the poem aloud to the class and I ask them to raise their hand if they can find an example of figurative language.  To avoid having one or two people constantly answer all of the questions, I will alternate between calling on students and having students turn to a partner or small group and share out what they found.

In the first poem, we spend a lot of time discussing personification.  I explain to my students that we need to think about why a poet would choose to personify an animal or object.  I offer the hypothesis that it is a way to get us to connect with whatever is being personified.

We also spend some time discussing the idea of bowing.  I ask students to think about situations in which people bow.  I usually hear, "in church" or "at karate" or "for kings and queens."  Once I get a good set of responses, we will talk about what those things have in common.  It's fun to explain to students that those are all times when we are showing respect.  Watching the light bulbs go off at this moment is truly entertaining. 

We then turn our attention back to the poem.  I ask, "why do trees show respect to the wind?"  This starts a fun conversation about the relationship between the wind and the trees.

Once this discussion has exhausted itself, I explain to students that this is why writers use figurative language, so that we as readers can take in active role in making meaning out of their words.

Then, we move on to "Apartment House."  Some classes focus on the filing cabinet metaphor, while others focus on the bees simile.  Either discussion is fun, and I just go with the flow like I did with the first poem.


Did They Get It?

5 minutes

Once we have finished discussing our first example from "Apartment House," I tell students that they are going to find one more example from "Apartment House" to add to their chart (either the simile or metaphor depending on what the class discussed).

You can collect this chart as an exit ticket, or you can have students share with elbow partners or small groups.  If you find yourself finishing this lesson too fast, spending some time sharing with a small group helps students with speaking and listening skills and gets some of those seventh-grade wiggles under control.