Figuring Out Figurative Language!
Students will be able to identify and use figurative language.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Start the lesson by reading a book (or passage of a book) to the class that contains examples of figurative language. Saturdays and Teacakes has great examples of figurative language.
- Define figurative language to the class as a tool that authors use to help readers visualize what is happening in a story or poem.
- Point out examples of figurative language as you find them in the text. For example, in Saturdays and Teacakes, Laminack writes: “In Mammaw’s big kitchen, sunlight poured through the windows like a waterfall and spilled over the countertops, pooling up on the checkerboard floor.”
- Explain that this passage is an example of simile, a figure of speech that compares two things, using the words like or as.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)
- With butcher paper, create an anchor chart with different kinds of figurative language that students can view.
- Walk students through the definitions for simile, metaphor, idiom, onomatopoeia, and personification as you write them on the chart.
- Challenge students to call out additional kinds of figurative language. Sample answers include alliteration and hyperbole.
- Continue reading aloud from Saturdays and Teacakes, or any other book that contains a variety of examples of figurative language.
- Choose passages from the book that include metaphor, idiom, onomatopoeia, and personification. Ask students for examples of each, and write their answers on the chart.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (20 minutes)
- Pick another text with ample examples of figurative language, such as My Mouth is a Volcano! by Julia Cook, Snow by Cynthia Rylant, and Misery is a Spider in the Bathtub by Jennifer Hochhauser.
- Pass out blank sheets of paper to students. Ask each student to create a graphic organizer and chart examples of figurative language that they hear in the story.
- Read the text aloud to the class. Every so often, give students a few minutes to write down examples of figurative language that they hear.
- At the end of the read aloud, have students share their chart of figurative language examples with a partner.
- Once every student has shared their examples with a partner, have them share their examples with the entire class.
Independent Working Time (30 minutes)
- After the class discussion about different types of figurative language, pass out a blank sheet of paper to each student.
- Demonstrate folding the paper into half length-wise, and then into fifths. You should end up with 10 equal panels on the paper.
- Help the class fold their paper into 10 equal panels. They will use this to create a comic strip.
- Ask each student to create a 10-panel comic strip using a least one example each of onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and personification.
- Tell students to include enough details so that the setting and plot of every comic strip is very clear.
- Enrichment: Have students who need more of a challenge complete their 10-panel comic strips with at least one example of each type of figurative language, one famous American as a main character, at least two minor characters, a clear setting, and a clear plot.
- Support: Have students who are struggling work together in pairs or a small group on their comics. Consider having the students work with 6-8 panels instead of 10 panels.
Related Books and/or Media
- To assess your students’ understanding of figurative language, review their graphic organizers and their comic strips.
Review and Closing (15 minutes)
- Reiterate the focus, purpose, and relevance of today’s lesson to the class. Have students repeat what figurative language is, and some types of figurative language.
- Ask students to find a partner.
- In pairs, have students assess each other’s comic strips using a rubric of your own creation.
- Once students have finished, use the same rubric to assess each child’s understanding of figurative language.