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SWBAT recognize and interpret figurative language in context.

Big Idea

How do authors use similes to provide imagery and clarify meaning through comparisons?

Introduction to Similes

20 minutes

This unit's purpose is to give students opportunities to understand an author's choices for using literary devices and how those choices add meaning to the text, which falls in line with the underlying idea of the Craft and Structure standards in the Common Core ELA framework.  Because my students encounter complex figurative devices in the higher level texts that they read (many of my students are reading above grade level at this point), I chose literary devices related to reading standard 4 that I deem appropriate for my class of deep, philosophical intellectuals.

I introduce my Figurative Language Flip chart and review our goal and rubrics for this lesson.  Students are informed that our goal today is to recognize and interpret figurative language, more specifically Similes.  The flip chart contains a definition of simile and gives an example.  We discuss more examples that I provide for students such as:

  • As black as coal
  • As blind as a bat
  • As bold as brass
  • Like watching paint dry 

With teacher guidance, students analyze the similes and interpret their meaning.  This discourse is necessary so that students can learn to problem solve together.  Common Core promotes students to think critically and creatively. 

Students are re-engaged to new learning by watching a Similes in Pop Music Video. I tell them we will first need to compare/contrast similes vs metaphors. Students have knowledge of metaphors from a previous lesson in this unit.  Then, we focus on identifying and classifying similes. We view, analyze, and reflect on the video at the end of this section.

Practice with Text

15 minutes

I read aloud several Simile Poems, asking students to pay attention to examples of similes within the poem.  I projected the poems on my Promethean board as I read it out loud a second time.  Then, I model highlighting the sections of text to identify one or two similes within the poem. Students are asked to identify more examples of similes in the poem and use an Citing Simile Form to write the examples.  We then share our findings to the class and discuss the characteristics of their similes.

Students need ample practice to identify and analyze similes in text.  We discuss several poetry samples that use similes to heighten sensory images and understanding of text.  These concrete samples help students understand the context in which similes are used as well as its intended purpose to create visual imagery through descriptive comparisons of two similar objects.

Creating Similes

20 minutes

Following both the Figurative Language Rubric and Cooperative Rubric, students work in teams to create their own sentences containing similes.  The Figurative Rubric states that students are to create up to five meaningful sentences.  The cooperation rubric keeps students focused and contributing to their teams.  I find that rubrics are very effective at communicating expectations to students.  I also give them ownership and responsibility for learning, as Common Core encourages.

Sharing Out

20 minutes

Students present the Simile sample  they created to the class. It is evident from the Simile Student Sample that students are getting more comfortable experimenting with using similes in their writing. Using the figurative language rubric, the class gives a score for the presentation.  Students give suggestions on how to improve this lesson as well as positive feedback for areas mastered. Students also discuss their experience working with their teams using the cooperation rubric.  It is important to continually assess and re-assess progress both academically and behaviorally as students learn to interact with knowledge collaboratively.