What Color Are You Today? Exploring Figurative Language with Dr. Seuss

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SWBAT create comparisons of their feelings to everyday objects and their actions.

Big Idea

Understanding and using figurative language is a foundational skill to comprehending descriptive texts.

Looking Deeper

10 minutes

My school does a big Dr. Suess week every year complete with theme days and a bulletin board contest.  Here's the thing- the bulletin boards aren't just some cutesy Dr. Seuss decorations. They have to display rigorous work done with the students.  Easy, right?  Easy unless you're an upper elementary teacher!!  I struggle with this every year trying to come up with something new.  This year, I've come up with two!!  

This first lesson draws upon the book, My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss.  I love this book even though it's a board book and both of my children loved it as small children.  The book is full of colorful and figurative language.  Basically, it talks about how the narrator feels on different colored days.

I introduce this book to my students acknowledging that it looks like a baby book, but if we dig deeper we will find information that is far from babyish!!  I read the book with as much emotion as possible to draw them in and then we talk about the colors in the book and the emotions they evoke.  I ask the students to describe if they agree or disagree.  The answers run the gamut.  As we wind up the discussion, I tell the students that we are going to use this book for our next activity. 

Analyzing Feelings and Making Comparisons

40 minutes

This activity involves students writing their own books describing how they feel on different colored days.  Each page must have the color and the feeling along with an action- similar to the book we read together.

Before the students can begin to process how they feel on different colored days, they must record their thoughts so I pass out the graphic organizer they will use for this activity.  On the graphic, students will be required to record their own feelings for any colors they choose.  They will then compare their feelings to an animal or object doing an action.  I model for the students. "On pink days I feel beautiful like a flamingo standing beside the water."  Once the modeling is done, I let the students get started planning.

The one thing I want them to remember is that the animal/ object they compare their feelings to must really represent that color and must do that action- realistic comparisons.  

Sharing and Wrapping Up

15 minutes

Near the end of class, we gather back together and I let some students share.  Most students are done, but a few have a bit more to finish.  Some I let finish at recess, some can take theirs home and some will quick finish during the next day's lesson.

I show students the little book we're going to make (oohs and ahhs) and then send them on their way contemplating which color they are today.