With the shift to Common Core, the students should have already mastered identifying figurative language. They start with similes in 3rd grade and by 5th grade have learned the definitions and are able to identify simple examples. In 6th grade, I want to work on having the students analyze figurative language in text.
Knowing this is a transition year, I have prepared a couple smaller activities to review figurative language and to assess their readiness to analyze it within text.
To do this, I will pass out the Figurative Language Sort and have the students work in a group of four to recall as much information as they can to complete the sort. Working in a group of four will allow them support and help some of the struggling students recall information.
As they are working, I will walk around and monitor, assessing the students and their readiness to analyze the figurative language. I will know what types of figurative language I will need to spend time on teaching and what types I can have them start analyzing. This will help us progress through the Common Core standards.
Once the students have all had the opportunity to sort-I will go through the answers, displaying them on the board for the students to check their own work. We will talk about and make notes on any examples we need to learn.
Next, to get the students working with the definitions of the terms, I will pass out the handout Figurative Language Processing and have the students work to rewrite the definitions in their own words. This will help the students really process the meaning of the term and allow them to create meaningful definitions and examples.
I will only have the students work with the terms simile and metaphor. Breaking it apart and doing the task as we learn the different types will help the students master each concept.
Knowing the students will struggle, I will guide them by reminding them to use synonyms to replace some of the words. I may also work with my struggling students to underline key words to replace. This is a difficult task and I know the students will struggle, but I feel it is important to their understanding of the terms.
I will allow the students time to work with the definitions.
To help refresh and focus the students on two forms of figurative language we are going to be working with, I am going to use music! Students are very motivated by songs and music and using them to teach figurative language is easy, because of the elements of poetry used to write songs lyrics.
I will pass out the song lyrics for Taylor Swift's song "Mean". This song is popular and engages the students right away. We will first begin by taping it into our spirals onto the next blank page in Unit 2. I will have the students title the page "Similes". I will then pass out the the definition card for similes and have the students glue in the sides and the bottom of the card, leaving a pocket opening at the top. This will be used later for a review.
Once the students have taped/glued all the items into their Student Notebook, we will work to identify the similes in the song. Once we have identified them, I will model with the students how to analyze the simile. Up to this point, the students have worked to identify basic similes. Now, with the transition to Common Core, I want to push them to analyze the simile for its meaning and purpose to the text.
We will write the meaning down into our spirals next to the song "Mean."
I will do the same activity using the cards for metaphors. I will use the song "I'm Already There" by Lonestar. I will have the students glue in the song and definition card, leaving a pocket at the top. We will identify the metaphors, then analyze them for meaning and purpose.
Most students have the prior knowledge of similes and metaphors. I will have the students work with the novel we are reading, Seedfolks, to locate and analyze examples of similes and metaphors. I will have the students explain the meaning of each example and then locate and explain the meaning of their own examples . I am starting with similes and metaphors first because these two forms of figurative language have been taught starting in 3rd grade. The students should have some exposure to these terms.
I will have the students move into their Literature Circle groups to discuss the chapters "Wendell and Gonzalo" in Seedfolks. I will have them complete the Seedfolks Analysis-Wendell and Gonzalo handout to process and analyze the text. I will also be working with the groups on discussion skills and how to hold a proper lit group discussion.
As the groups are working, I will monitor their progress and work with any struggling groups.
To help the students process the objective for the day and to assess their learning, I will have them complete the Closure Slip. I ask the students "what the purpose of figurative language is in writing. We have always worked on identifying, but I want the students to know WHY it is important and how it affects our writing. I am pretty confident the students will be able to see its purpose, especially after today's lesson.
I can use this to plan future lessons and to reteach if necessary.