Seriously?: Working Together to Locate Non-Literal Language in Text

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SWBAT demonstrate an understanding of word relationships and nuance in word meanings by locating examples within a text.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will work together in partners to identify examples of non-literal language within a text and distinguish the meanings of literal from non-literal words and phrases in context by reading closely and taking notes.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

To start our lesson today, I remind the students that we’ve been learning all about non-literal language.  Before we get into our texts today, I’ve made a little PowToon to share with them that has an example of some non-literal language.  I want them to watch and see if they can find the example!

Experience Learning

5 minutes

Students watch the video, and as soon as they’re finished watching, I ask them to turn to their tablemates and discuss where they think there was an example of non-literal language.  I give the students a few moments to discuss with each other and as soon as I see some hands begin to go up, I know it’s time to discuss.  I ask the students what they found and the students share that the phrase “spill the beans” was used.  They say that “spill the beans” doesn’t actually mean you have beans in your hand that you are about to spill, but instead, it means you say something you shouldn’t or let a secret slip!

Label New Learning

5 minutes

The response from the students is perfect!  I tell them they’ve done a great job finding the example of non-literal language!  What they’ve found and decided is exactly right-whenever non-literal language is used, we know that it does not mean to actually do what the words say, but instead has a different meaning that doesn’t really match the words.

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

For our working time together today, I remind students that today, they’ll be going through an Amelia Bedelia text with a partner and reading closely, making notes of any examples of non-literal language that they’ve found!  Just as we practiced yesterday, we need three pieces of information:

1)   what the text says

2)   what that literally means

3)   what the non-literal meaning is


We review the example we did together yesterday:

1)   “change the towels”

2)   change the towels by cutting them

3)   take down the dirty towels and put out clean towels

I ask if there are any questions that I can answer, and then we get started!  Students are given their texts and begin reading together.  I also distribute Post-Its for their note taking.  Then I begin walking around and listening into student conversations.  



5 minutes

When we have about five minutes left of our lesson, I stop our readers, even if they’re not completely through the whole text yet, and ask them to join me on the rug-our classroom meeting place.  The kids come on back and grab seats with their partners and we begin discussing what they’ve found.  I ask students to share their three pieces of information they’ve found within the text from reading closely.  Students share examples such as “call the roll”.  This does not actually mean get on a telephone and call a roll that we would eat for dinner.  It means to find out who is in the classroom, or to take attendance or roll call.  I congratulate the students a great job reading closely and working together! Tomorrow, we look a little closer at non-literal language as we work with a special form of non-literal language called “idioms”!  I collect the students’ texts and notes, which I can use as a quick informal assessment!