I created this unit for a group of students who needed extra practice with fluency and a beginner’s understanding of poetry. Each day provided a quick lesson on one characteristic or type of figurative language, multiple readings of a short poem, and practice using the term of the day. The unit was designed to take no more than thirty minutes per lesson and lasted three weeks in my classroom.
Due to copyright issues, I could not include the actual poems used each day. However, because the terms being used are universal, fitting poems shouldn’t be too difficult to find! All of the poems I used came from one of two sources:
- The Big Book of Classroom Poems [Hollenbeck, K (2004). The big book of classroom poems. Scholastic Press: New York, NY.].
How many of you like to exaggerate? Especially if you do something well… don’t you like to stretch the truth just a little?? Make your accomplishment even better than it really was? Or how about when you were a little kid and you got hurt. Ever overreact and behave like you were nearly dying when all you really did was scrape an elbow? Admit it, we’ve all done it! Stretched the truth a bit at one time or another! Today’s term is about exaggeration. Just like in the tall tale genre we recently studied, this type of figurative language clearly isn’t what it says! Today we’ll study hyperboles, which are an over exaggeration of the truth.
I ask students to open their poetry packets to page fifteen. I repeat that our term today is hyperbole and explain its definition. Students turn to their partners and do the same – stating the term of the day and telling its definition. I read page fifteen aloud until I come to the example, which we read together.
I point their attention to the poem of the day. I’ve chosen the poem, “Thanksgiving,” and we have a short discussion about our favorite types of food to eat during this holiday. Students tell me about the mounds of mashed potatoes and piles of pies that are stacked upon tables at Grandma’s or Aunt’s houses. We read the poem through once together. After the first reading, we spend a few moments talking about the over exaggerations in the poem. Students underline, label, and then record in their packets. Then partners spend the next few moments reading the poem together. If time, they switch partners at their table and practice with someone new.
When everyone had a chance to read the poem multiple times, I ask students to look at page sixteen. It asks them to complete two tasks. First, they must come up with two of their own hyperboles. These can be examples from off the tops of their heads or that they’ve heard before. Then, they choose one and illustrate it. I ask that they draw the literal meaning of the hyperbole so that we can see just how ridiculous their example is! Students can choose to work together or independently on the task.
Students share their work with someone in the room they have not worked with yet. They take turns telling their partners the term of the day, their understanding of its definition, and the work they completed during the practice activity.