Lesson plan

Marvelous Metaphors

Help your students become shining stars with this lesson about metaphors. Your class will hone art skills and practice comparison using figurative language.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify and explain the meaning of metaphors.

(10 minutes)
  • To begin the lesson, gather students together and read the poem Fog by Carl Sandburg, found on the Metaphors in Poetry worksheet.
  • As you read, ask your students to close their eyes and visualize the author's words. Once you finish, prompt your class to share what they visualized. Great questions include: What images did the author's words invoke for you? What specific words drove this visualization? Which animal is being compared to fog here?*
  • Tell your class that they'll be learning about a type of figurative language device called a metaphor. Explain that figurative language refers to words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation.
(10 minutes)
  • Project or display the poem Fog, using a projector or interactive whiteboard.
  • Re-read the poem aloud to the class.
  • Point to the first line of the poem. Explain that a metaphor compares two things without using the words "like" or "as" at all. In this case, the fog is compared to little cat feet.
  • Draw a picture of a literal interpretation of this metaphor on the whiteboard, projector, or interactive whiteboard.
  • Explain that Sandburg is not literally saying that the fog comes in on little cat feet. Discuss what the author is trying to say here, in a figurative sense. Great questions include: What does the author mean by saying little cat feet? What do cat feet sound like? Why would the author use this comparison?
  • After some class discussion, reveal that the author is describing the fog as coming in very quietly or silently, just like cats come into a room without making a sound.
  • Draw or show a picture of fog rolling in over a landscape, to contrast with your initial drawing of the literal interpretation.
(20 minutes)
  • Complete the rest of the worksheet as a class, discussing and answering each question to ensure everyone understands the concept.
  • Tell students that they will practice writing their own metaphors today.
  • Display the first page of the Make an Animal Metaphor worksheet set so that all students can see it. Read and discuss the examples at the top of the page.
  • Facilitate a group brainstorm of people and animals that could be compared.
  • Break off the students into partners, and give each student a copy of the Make an Animal worksheet set.
  • Have each pair to complete the brainstorming sheet (page one) together. If time permits, students may share their ideas with the whole class.
(15 minutes)
  • Once everyone is finished brainstorming, arrange students so that they can work independently. Explain that each student will choose a person and animal to compare.
  • Instruct the class to write and illustrate their metaphors on the second page of the packet. After they finish, each student should move on to writing a poem for the metaphor.
  • Enrichment: Have advanced students look through their independent reading books to find examples of metaphors. They should copy and illustrate the metaphors they find.
  • Support: Students who are struggling should focus on the senses being described in the comparisons of a metaphor. Encourage them to list descriptive words for each person and animal. Next, each student should compare the two subjects of the metaphor by what they sound like, feel like, look like, etc. This will help them better explain and comprehend the comparison.
(5 minutes)
  • Collect all worksheets and analyze for mastery.
  • Circulate the room to answer questions and provide examples to students as they work.
(10 minutes)
  • Gather students together.
  • Have the students share their metaphors and illustrations. Discuss with students how the metaphors help the reader to visualize what they are reading.

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