Musical Metaphors with Adobe Acrobat

Students analyze and annotate song lyrics for metaphors
2 teachers like this strategy

About This Strategy

This 60-minute strategy helps students answer big questions about metaphors. In this strategy, students annotate song lyrics using Adobe Acrobat Reader. This strategy can be used for any type of figurative language, and can be adapted for use with other Adobe products. As an extension, students can create a presentation of their findings using Adobe Spark Page. 

Because Adobe Acrobat enables students to view, create, and manipulate PDF documents, this strategy empowers students to be active learners and demonstrate their understanding of metaphors in a deep and meaningful way.

Supporting Tools and Resources

  • Student sample
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

  • Adobe Spark Page

  • Editable Resource Bundle

  • PDF Resource Bundle

Outline for Teachers

60 minutes


Students learn what a metaphor is and examine a few example sentences. (15 minutes)


Students choose a song from this list of songs to examine for metaphors. (15 minutes)
Note: If you allow students to search for and choose their own songs, consider reviewing and approving their choices before they begin to ensure appropriateness.


Students upload the chosen lyrics to Adobe Acrobat Reader. Students use the highlight and annotation tools to make notes of their analysis of the metaphors in the lyrics.  Students use these steps to guide them. Students can examine an example here, and read a tutorial here. (30 minutes)


Students share and publish their annotated PDF.

Steps for Students

If you are a music lover, this will be music to your ears. Let’s analyze songs for metaphors! When you analyze the metaphors in a song, you will have a better understanding of what that song is about. In this strategy, you will use lyrics from songs (you know and like!) to demonstrate your understanding of metaphors with Adobe Acrobat Reader. As an optional extension, you can create a presentation sharing your analysis  using Adobe Spark Page.

Because Adobe Acrobat enables you to view, create, and manipulate PDF documents, this strategy empowers you to be an active learner and demonstrate your understanding in a meaningful and creative way!


1. What is a metaphor? Review what a metaphor is and practice analyzing some simple examples. (15 minutes)

A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn't literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.

How do I identify a metaphor?

A metaphor  is comparing things explicitly. If it compares things without using prepositions such as “like” or “as” it is a metaphor.

Take a look at some examples:

  • The snow is a white blanket. (Uses a blanket to describe the way the snow is sitting on top of something)

  • He is a shining star.

  • Her long hair was a flowing golden river.

  • Tom's eyes were ice as he stared at her.

  • The children were flowers grown in concrete gardens.

Discuss with a partner how you would analyze each example metaphor. The first one is done for you.

2. Choose a song to analyze from this list of songs.  Take a look at the lyrics of a few songs before you choose. Choose a song whose lyrics grab your attention. (15 minutes)

Examine the rubric to understand the expectations.

3. Upload the song lyrics as a PDF to Adobe Acrobat.  Use the highlight and annotation tools to identify and analyze metaphors within the song. Remember, you are looking for the comparison of things that are not literally true. Using the relationship of the items compared, make an inference about what the lyric is trying to convey.  Use these steps for guidance. (30 minutes)

For inspiration, check out this student sample.

4. Share your PDF as directed by your instructor.

Optional Extension: Create a presentation using Adobe Spark Page. Share your analysis of the lyrics in a streamlined presentation. For guidance on how to use Adobe Spark Page, check out this tutorial.

Rubric for Successful Analysis

Consult the attached rubric in order to evaluate students' annotated PDFs.