EL Support Lesson

Using Adjectives and Similes to Describe

Use this lesson to help your ELs explore adjectives and how we can use them to describe things. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Similes that Describe ME!* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Similes That Describe ME! lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Similes That Describe ME! lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify and write their own similes.


Students will be able to describe a person with descriptive adjectives and similes using a graphic organizer and sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Facilitate a Think-Pair-Share by asking students to silently think about what it means to describe something. Have them turn and talk to a partner to share their answers. Then, call on students to share out their ideas with the class. Confirm and rephrase student answers as needed.
  • Explain that when we describe something, we are giving information about it. We use certain words to describe how it acts, looks, and feels.
  • Share a student-friendly language objective by reading it aloud (I can decribe a person using descriptive words). Have learners choral read the language objective. Explain that during today's lesson, they will learn what new words mean and their parts of speech, so that they can use them correctly in speaking and writing.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that an adjective is a word that describes a noun. Share that the vocabulary for today's lesson will include some common adjectives that people use to describe others and themselves.
  • Define the vocabulary words as a whole group by providing context surrounding the words and illiciting ideas from the students. Show visuals from the Vocabulary Cards and discuss how the visual connects to the vocabulary word. For words without a visual on the Vocabulary Card, ask students to come up with ideas of appropriate visuals that show the word's meaning.
  • Post the eight labeled Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheets around the room, and review the components of the graphic organizer.
  • Put students into eight small groups and give each group a colored marker and reference materials, such as a dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Facilitate a Carousel activity by having small groups rotate from one Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheet to another. With the colored marker, the group will jot down information on each Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheet. Give groups about one minute at each station before having them return to their seats.
  • Give each group one of the Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheets to further discuss. Ask groups to share out the information the class added to the graphic organizer to provide a more in-depth look at the vocabulary word.
(10 minutes)
  • Display and distribute a copy of the worksheet entitled Describe with Adjectives, and review the information at the top. Emphasize that the adjective describes and teaches us more about a noun.
  • Model completing the first two sentences by circling the adjectives and underlining the nouns. Ask a student to review the definition of the adjectives.
  • Put students into A-B partnerships and instruct partner A to be the leader of the odd numbered questions, while partner B rephrases and asks for clarification. Have students switch roles for the even numbered questions. Go over answers as a class.
  • Direct students' attention to Part 2 on the worksheet. Explain that a simile is a creative way to compare two unlike things. Go over the example, pointing out the adjective and the two nouns it describes.
  • Instruct partners to create two similes together. Put two sets of partnerships together to create a group of four. Have partnerships read aloud their sentences to each other, and call on nonvolunteers to share a sentence from their group.
(10 minutes)
  • Display and distribute a copy of the worksheet entitled Adjectives in Context. Have a student read aloud the information box at the top. Discuss the example in the box by pointing out the noun and adjective.
  • Instruct learners to read the passage to themselves and mark any unfamiliar words. Provide student-friendly definitions and images for the unknown words, as needed.
  • Read the paragraph aloud and model identifying the first few adjectives. Ask students who is being described in this paragraph (Donte).
  • Scramble the partnerships, and have students work in pairs to identify the remainder of the adjectives in the paragraph. Then, have them complete the graphic organizer at the bottom of the worksheet.
  • Go over the student answers in the paragraph and the graphic organizer, and record them on a teacher copy of the worksheet. Discuss the meaning of the adjectives orally, and have learners draw pictures next to each adjective to support their understanding. Challenge students to point out the text evidence that helped them understand the adjectives' meaning.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide sentence stems and frames for class discussion in the Word Level section. For example:
    • The word ____ means ____.
    • There is a picture of a ____ and I think that connects to the word ____ because ____.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card to each student and record the following sentence frames on the board:
    • ____ is loud because ____.
    • ____ is as loud as ____.
  • Instruct students to circle the adjective in both sentences.
(3 minutes)
  • Have students share sentence frames with a partner. Call on nonvolunteers to share with the whole group.
  • Remind learners that adjectives are important because they describe characters. Review with the class that the adjectives are a key component in a simile. When we have a strong vocabulary of adjectives, we can create similes to describe people and characters.

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