Lesson Plan:

Figuring Out Figurative Language!

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October 22, 2015
by Heyward Murray

Learning Objectives

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.

Technology Integration

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.

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