Analyzing and Using Figurative Language in Poetry

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SWBAT determine the meaning of figurative words in a poem in order to revise their poem for deeper meaning.

Big Idea

Does it matter that Sally sold seashells by the seashore?

Lesson Opener

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect:  I will say, “Yesterday we tried out a poem, today we are going to revise our poems in order to show deeper meaning with our word choice.”

Teach: I will say, “In order to add deeper meaning to your poetry, we are going to practice the skill of revising our poems strategy of using metaphors, similes and alliteration. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Review the meaning of metaphors, similes and alliteration with a Vocabulary Handout.

2) Analyze the use of literary devices in a poem

3) Pick words or phrases from my poem that could be revised with literary devices

4) Revise my poem to give it deep meaning

I will say, “You all know the rhyme, “Sally sells seashells by the seashore. Turn and tell the person next to you, “Why did the author craft this sentence this way?” Students will most likely say to make it a tongue twister or to make it fun to say. I will say, “The person who crafted this poem used alliteration or the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of the words in order to give attention to what Sally was doing to give it a rhyme scheme.

Poets often use alliteration so that readers pay attention to a group or words or phrases and as a rhyme scheme. I will give students a short vocabulary list with alliteration, metaphors and similes. We will read over them together from the resource sheet, they will also be on the word wall.

I will show the students how I read through Countee Cullen’s Heritage to analyze why he used certain literary devices (alliteration, metaphors and similes). I will show students this first couple of minutes of this video so they know a little bit about Countee Cullen’s background in order for them to understand the poem. The rest of this video is more for the teacher to understand an analysis of the poem.

I will read through the poem first, then read through it again by stating, I infer Countee Cullen used……because…..For example in the first stanza, I will say, “Countee Cullen writes, “Copper Sun or scarlet sea. I infer he used alliteration here to have the reader focus in on the beauty of Africa.”





Active Engagement

10 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, “Now you are going to try out analysis with another poem, Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allen Poe.  You will read over this with a partner once, then stop and jot when you see Edgar Allen Poe used a literary device. You will infer why he used the device with your partner, then jot it down. I will listen in to student’s conversation, then have the whole class share out by asking at least 3 students what they inferred (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard).

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “In order to have deep meaning in a poem, poets use literary devices for words or phrases they want to put emphasis on, they study how other poets use the devices, then try it out in their own poems.” 

*I needed another resource to help with my own analysis of the poem, I found this to be a good one.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “Now you are going to take your poem from yesterday and try out adding at least one of each literary device, if you get done with your poem before writing time is over, craft another poem by going back to your brainstorming chart keeping the three literary devices in mind. I will confer with students as they write using Possible Conferences for Literary Devices.

Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share their poem or beginning of a poem with revised lines with their partner. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A I want you to share your poem. Partner B, I want you to listen if Part A tried out using literary devices in their poems.

If not, give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know the meaning you heard in their poem. Then you will switch.” I will then give students time to revise, or have them make notes and revise for homework. 



5 minutes

I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an exit ticker in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: I will have students jot down the lines of the poem which use a metaphor, simile and alliteration.