Analyzing Figurative Language in the Story

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Objective

SWBAT retell the story, describing the characters, setting, and major events, using key details.

Big Idea

Today we are going to be analyzing the figurative language in the story–determining what literary devices the author used to help the reader visualize.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     Today we are going to be talking a great deal about what the author does to create strong visual and sensory images.  This book is fantastic for addressing standard RL1.4. I taught this unit just after I had begun our poetry unit.  Students had experience with figurative language because of the poetry unit, and I wanted to make connections between what we had learned about figurative language and how that connection could be applied to today's book. 

     For today's lesson, you'll need your Smartboard  lesson  Owl Moon.notebook if you're a Smartboard user  or Promethean board lesson Owl Moon.flipchart  if you're an Activboard user, you'll need the book "Owl Moon," and students will need their student work packet from yesterday.

Figurative Language - The Trees and the Night - Guided Practice

10 minutes

      I think it's important to constantly change peer groups in the classroom.  My students need to get used to working with all their classmates.  Before we started, I grouped my students into new partner groups.  I've included some resources for you here so you can have interesting ways to group your students PartnerCardsSet.pdf, PickYourColorPartner.pdf, and sorting sticks.pdf .

     Once students were grouped into partners and sitting in their seats I said, "Today we are going to be thinking about what the author does to create strong visual images in a reader's mind.  The author uses figurative language.  Think about what we've been learning about in our poetry unit.  We've discussed in great length about what author's do with language to help the reader visualize. " I began to read  until page 3.  After reading, I turned to slide 21 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Let's talk about the kind of language the author used to help us visualize the trees.  Remember, when we visualize, we create pictures in our minds.  What did the author do to help us get a good picture of what those trees looked like?" My students looked at me blankly at first so I had to prompt them.  I said, "What kinds of things have we been learning about in our poetry unit?  Does anyone see any clue words on the board?"   The flood gates opened then and many hands popped up.  The students really got excited when they finally realized that the author used a simile.  I said, "What is the author comparing the trees with?  Do statues move? Would there be wind?  Why or why not?"  We were really able to infer based on that simile.  Students told me that there couldn't be any wind because statues don't move at all and wind would make the trees move.  Students recorded this on page 11 of their student packets.

     I reread another part of page 3.   I went to slide 22 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Let's look at this paragraph.  What did the author do to describe the night after the train and dogs were done singing?  How does that help you to visualize the story?"  Once we were done discussing, the students answered the question at the bottom of page 11 on their student packets.  They had to answer in complete sentences and had to explain how the author made them feel what the night would be like. You can see them answering their text dependent questions in this video Writing Our Text Dependent Questions About the Author's Craft - Day One Owl Moon.mp4

Figurative Language - The Footprints and Shadow - Guided Practice

10 minutes

     I continued to read on to page 5. I turned to page 23 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Let's look at the author's words closely.  What does the author do to describe the little gray footprints?  Let's think about what we've been learning about in our poetry lesson.  Are their any clue words that might help us out?"  My students became very excited when they saw that the author had described the footprints using personification. 

     I read the next portion of that same page.  Turning back to the Smartboard slide I said,  "What does the author do to describe her shadow? What does she do to give you the feeling of walking through the snow?"  Partners had a chance to talk first and then we had a class discussion.  We had just talked about personification in the other passage, so the students were more aware of how they should be looking at the text.  This time, they understood that the author used personification when describing the shadow. 

     After discussing these two passages in depth, we read the question at the top of page 12 together.  Then I gave students about 3-5 minutes to answer the question.  Writing About the Author's Craft - Day Two Owl Moon.mp4.

Discussing How Cold the Girl Was - Guided Practice

10 minutes

     I read on.  After reading page 11. I turned to slide 24 on the Smartboard lesson.  I said, "Let's look at this passage.  I want partners to talk about what the author did to make you feel how cold the girl was." After partners had talked I called on some students.  They said that the phrase "someone's icy hand was palm down on my back" stood out to them.  Then we had a big class discussion about how this phrase captured a feeling that we had all had before when we had a cold shiver in freezing weather.

    Then someone else said the phrase "my cheeks felt hot and cold at the same time" stood out to them.  We had another great class conversation about going out to play in the snow.  Many of my students said they had stayed outside in the cold so long that their cheeks felt like they were burning, and they felt cold too. Having my students discuss how they could relate to the rich description in the text made the meaning clearer to them.

     After having these great class conversations I said, "Let's read the question at the bottom of page 12 together." After reading the question I said, "You need to think about what we just talked about and use evidence from the text to support your answer."  You can see how my students did by watching this video Discussing... Appeal to Senses - Day Three Owl Moon.mp4

Figurative Language - The Trees in the Woods - Independent Practice

5 minutes

      After we had written about how cold the girl was I said, "Now that we've practiced together, I have no doubt you'll be able to think about what the author did with figurative language and be able to write about.  You'll be doing the next 3 parts independently."   I continued to read page 13 of the book.  Then I turned my attention to slide 24 on the Smartboard lesson.  I reread the part of the page that was on the slide. Then I said, "How did the author describe the trees in the woods? What kind of feeling did that give you as you were reading?" Since this was independent practice, I gave them some private think time and then they recorded the answers on their student packets at the top of page 13. 

   

Figurative Language - The Little Girl's Mouth - Independent Practice

5 minutes

     Then I reread a part of page 13.  I went to slide 26 on the Smartboard lesson and read the text that talked about her mouth being furry and the scarf being wet and warm.  Again I said, " How did the author describe her mouth? How did this help you visualize the little girl? Why would her mouth be furry?"  Again, since this was private think time, I gave students some time to think about this.  Some students had a hard time getting started.  I asked these students, "Have you had a similar experience when you were playing in the snow?"  This helped students considerably, once they could relate the text to an experience they had in their lives. They recorded their answers on the bottom of page 13. I circulated around the room, and when I saw that everyone was finished, we moved on to our next section. 

Figurative Language - The Heat in Our Mouths - Independent Practice

5 minutes

       I read to page 21 where they talked about the heat in their mouths as they watched the owl shadow.  We had just talked about why the girl's scarf would be wet and warm and as I walked around, many student had written that their mouth had made the scarf wet. So when I turned to slide 27 on the Smartboard lesson and zoned in on the passage about the heat in our mouths the students were right on top of it.  I said, "What does that mean when the author talks about heat in our mouths and the heat of all those unspoken words?"   We went to the top of page 14  in our student packets and read the question.  I said,  Please make sure to answer in complete sentences." I gave students several minutes to complete their answers.

Our Closure

5 minutes

     One of my students' favorite closures is our koosh ball closure.  I have a koosh ball and I asked the first question.  I said, " What did the author do to help you to visualize the trees?"   I threw the ball to someone who wanted to answer the question.  If you watch the video you'll see that if my students forgot the answer, that they went back into their packet and looked for the information.  I was quiet impressed with that because I didn't prompt them to do that at all.  After the first question, the person who had the ball would toss it to someone else who wanted to answer my next question.  The remaining questions were:

  • What did the author do to describe the night?
  • How did the author make you feel about how cold the girl was? How did the author's words make you feel? 
  • What did the author mean by the heat in their mouths and all the unspoken words?
  • How did the author describe the trees in the woods?  What kind of feeling did this give you as you were reading?
  • How did the author describe her mouth? How did this help you visualize the little girl?

 

Your closure doesn't always have to be fancy.  Today I was simply asking questions.  When you introduce a koosh ball into the mix - students are so much more engaged.  You can see our closure here Our Closure - Day Three Owl Moon.mp4 .