Learning About Similies and Metaphors

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SWBAT identify, speak, and write both similes and metaphors.

Big Idea

Figurative language can really trip students up. Today we are going to be learning about similes and metaphors so we can identify them in our reading and use them to create amazing poetry.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

Students are never too young to be exposed to figurative language.  I wanted to teach the first 4 lessons in this unit on figurative language devices before I started our Owl Moon unit because Owl Moon is a fantastic book that utilizes figurative language, including similes and metaphors.  I also know that students will be exposed to figurative language in prose all the way up through college and beyond.  Students will need to be able to recognize and interpret the figurative language they see and talk about the feelings that are evoked in order to comprehend. So today, as we learn about similes and metaphors, we are addressing standard RL1.4.  My students are also going to be orally practicing speaking similes and metaphors.  Because of this, we are addressing standards SL1.1 and SL1.1a.

There are so many great books that utilize similes and metaphors.  I chose to use the books "Quick as a Cricket" by Audrey Wood and "Song and Dance Man" by Karen Ackerman.  You will need either your Smartboard lesson Similes, Metaphors, and Alliteration.notebook or your Activboard lesson Similes, Metaphors, and Alliteration.flipchart.  You will also need to make enough copies of the student work packetSimiles, Metaphors, Alliteration and Personification Student Work Packet.pdf for each student in your classroom.

Reading Our Books

25 minutes

The speaking and listening standards call for students working in diverse groups.  I like switching partner groups up all the time so my students get used to working with many different classmates, not just their best friends.  I have several resources for you here: fun_ways_to_group_students.pdf, here: PartnerPickingCards.pdf, and here: sorting sticks.pdf.  These resources should give you many ideas how you can partner your students.

Today, I grouped my students and partners sat down on the floor in front of our Activboard. I said, "Today we are going to be learning about similes and metaphors.  Authors use similes and metaphors to give readers strong mental images and can evoke feelings in the reader such as excitement, happiness, sadness, or being frightened.  We are going to listen to two stories right now that use similes and metaphors.  A simile is when I compare two things using the words 'like' or 'as' to compare.  A metaphor is when two things are compared, but you don't use the words 'like' or 'as.'  I'll show you more what I mean as I read these stories."

I began to read the stories.  "Quick as a Cricket" just utilizes similes so I was able to show the students the clue word as on each page.  Then I read "Song and Dance Man."  As I read that story I pointed out the similes and metaphors.  I especially pointed out how similes and metaphors were different.  Once I was finished reading I said, "Let's practice some similes and metaphors now."

Speaking Our Similies and Metaphors/Guided Practice

20 minutes

I turned to slide 4 on the Smartboard lesson.  We discussed the examples on slides 4-6.  The slides show how two objects are compared and show the two words like and as.  Then we went to slide 7 on the Smartboard lesson.  Each slide had a different picture on it.  We brainstormed what we could use for a simile.  For example, one picture was a snail.  We brainstormed that we could say that the snail was as slow as something else, or as slimy as something else.  Then I let students practice speaking a simile with their partner.  Once partners practiced, we shared our similes with the class.  You can see this portion of the lesson here Practicing Speaking Similies with Like and As.mp4.  Some students needed to be reminded  to use the words like or as, but for the most part they did well.

Then we started working on metaphors.  We discussed the examples on slides 12-14 of the Smartboard lesson.  Once discussing the examples, we practiced some metaphors on slides 15-17 on the Smartboard lesson.  Again, before we had our partner talk, we brainstormed.  One of the pictures on the slide was a shark showing his teeth. I said, "What could we compare a shark's teeth with for our metaphor?" After we brainstormed, I gave partners time to discuss and then we shared our metaphors with the class.  You can see this part of the lesson here Speaking Our Metaphors.mp4.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Students went back to their seats and I passed out work packets.  We discussed what we needed to do to complete the independent work.  On pages 1-2 students were to write similes about the pictures and for pages 3-4 we were to write metaphors for each picture.  My students were so into the lesson they asked me if they could write more than one simile or metaphor for each picture.  I said, "Sure, go for it." I gave my students about 10 minutes to complete their work. 

When they were done, we shared our ideas with others in the class.  You can see what they came up with here in this video: Speaking and Writing Our Metaphors.mp4.

Our Closure

5 minutes

I wanted a quick closure to our lesson.  I decided I wanted to ask students some process questions.  I asked, "Why do author's use similies and metaphors?  How does using similes and metaphors help a reader as they're reading?"  Then I asked some students if they wanted to share their favorite simile that they had written.