All Smiles for Similes

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SWBAT determine and write similes to help them understand the meaning an author is trying to get across in reading text or poetry.

Big Idea

Students often forget the difference between a simile and metaphor. This lesson is a fun way to help them practice similes and find them in context.

What is a Simile?

2 minutes

I start by leading the class into a small discussion on similes by asking them what they are. Students explain that they know they have heard them and would know if I told them what they were they would understand them better. 

I write the word on the white board and then write the example..."my hands were as cold as ice." I then explain that a simile will use the word like and as to compare nouns. I have them take out their personal white board. Once they have them out I have them write at the top of it, "similes are used by authors to provide a stronger message or give words more impact."

As a class we briefly discuss what this statement means. The class does a great job of figuring out that when similes are used the author wants us to really understand something more clear so to help us they compare it with something we might be familiar with. 

Listening for Similes

5 minutes

To practice I read simile for them, "Her voice hurt my ears like the nails on a chalkboard." We then talk about why an author would write that into their book. The class is very good at predicting why this might be written and creating a scenario for what might be occurring if this was really written in a story. 

I then explain that we will play a little listening game, "I Hear." I will read them a poem that contains a simile and when they hear it they will raise their hands like they do for their hearing test with the nurse. After I am finished reading the poems, I will call on someone to share the smilie they heard with the class and we will discuss it.

Here are the two poems I read:

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

The Aramadillo by Jack Perlutsky

Website for Poems with Similes

Understanding Similes and Student Practice

10 minutes

Now that they have listened to similes and have seen examples of them, it is there turn to try to write a few and determine the meaning of some. 

I start by having them write a simile onto their white board. I have them compare themselves to an animal to start. I give them the example, " In the morning I sometimes feel slow as a turtle." I then give them a moment to think and then ask each of them to write their simile on their white board. We then do a brief sharing for those that want to. 

I then ask them to compare an object that is in the classroom or in their desk to something else, the example I use is, "my pencil is pointy like tack." I then give them time and they write and share again. 

The last part is understanding what a smile stands for. This is where it can be tricky in their reading. I have them do this portion on their white board to start. I give them two similes and have them write their meanings on the white board. I give them one at a time, I have them show me their white boards, and then quickly discuss what they came up with. We do the same thing for the second simile. 


Here are the two I gave: "Lisa is as skinny as a rail." and "The lion's teeth were sharp as knives."