Using Figurative Language in Poems

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SWBAT analyze how literary devices add meaning for a reader in poetry and apply that understanding by creating a free verse poem of their own that conveys meaning.

Big Idea

We've focused on figurative language. Now we will apply what we know when writing poems.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

Today we get to apply the skills we've learned about figurative language to poems that the students will actually be writing.  Just like all our other poetry lessons, the heart of today's lesson is to show that the author conveys certain feelings in their poetry to their reader and engage the reader with figurative language.  When we do this we address standard RL1.4.

Standard RL1.4 is all about reading poetry - not necessarily writing it. However, current research is showing that writing is a strong indicator of student success in reading comprehension.  This is why I have my young students write so much.  I not only want them to improve their reading comprehension, I also want them to begin to internalize what I've been teaching them.  Since they are now taking ownership as the author when creating poetry, they will truly begin to understand the purpose of why author's use these literary devices when crafting a piece of poetry.  They will see how these literary devices help the author convey feelings, because they themselves are trying to convey feelings to their audience.

For today's lesson you'll need either your Smartboard Poetry Unit.notebook or Activboard Poetry Unit.flipchart lesson, blank paper for students to write their poems on, and Literary Component Bookmarks for each student to refer to.

Reading and Discussing Examples

15 minutes

I called my students to come and sit on the carpet in front of the Activboard.  I said, "Today we are going to learn how to use everything we've learned about onomatopoeia, alliteration, similes, metaphors, and personification to make really interesting poems that show strong feelings to our readers."   I turned to slide 28 on the Smartboard lesson and began to read that slide.  While researching for this unit I found an amazing quote from author Vivian Gilbert Zabel. I read,

"Poetry begs for emotion, in the wording by the poet and in the mind of the reader. Yet many wonder how to create emotion in their writing. One way to enhance emotion is to use poetic devices."

I pointed out the vocabulary poetic devices and told them that was another word for all the figurative language that we've been learning about.  Then I said, "Let's look at some more examples so we can see how author's use figurative language in poems."  We discussed slides 29-37 and the figurative language contained in each poem.

Then I went to slide 38 where it showed the 5 components of figurative language we have been working on.  I said, "You are going to write a poem and you will need to use 3 out of 5 of these components in your poem.  I am going to write 2 poems now and model for you how to do this."   I modeled my thought process as I chose my figurative language components.  I also discussed what feeling I wanted to convey to my reader before I even started to write.  Then I modeled two poems for my students.  After I had modeled my two poems I said, "Do you think you'll be able to do this now?" And of course they all shouted "Yes!"

Writing Our Poems

15 minutes

I sent my students back to their seats.  I passed out blank paper and bookmarks for the students to refer back to.  I said, "Now remember, the important part of writing our poetry is to convey a feeling.  Before you even start writing, think about how you want your reader to feel.  Refer back to your bookmark and think about which 3 out of the 5 components you want to put in your poem."

Then I let me students get to work.  They have really been enjoying this poetry unit, and today's lesson was no different.  The students wanted to show me their work as I was walking around videoing them.  I could tell they felt empowered and confident because I heard them say things like, "I'm going to use a simile, onomatopoeia, and personification." And, instead of trying to copy the person next to them, they would own the components that they were going to use.

You can catch my students in action by watching this: Creating Our Poems With Figurative Language.mp4.

Our Closure

5 minutes

The students who wanted to read their poems to their classmates each had a turn to share.  We went up to the carpet and I called on students one at a time.  We were all positive, and my students absolutely loved sharing.  There wasn't 100% mastery from my students on every literary device, but I was happy with what they attempted to do.

You can see my thoughts on their work by watching this: Student Work Figurative Language.mp4.