Lesson plan

Similes, Metaphors, and Idioms of Figurative Language

Similes, metaphors, and idioms are some of the most widely used literary devices in both speaking and writing. Students will review each of these and practice creating some of their own.
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Students will be able to identify and create similes, metaphors, and idioms.

(5 minutes)
  • Write these terms on the board: simile, metaphor, and idiom.
  • Distribute a blank piece of paper to partners or table groups and have students divide the paper into three columns. Have them title each column with one of the literary devices.
  • With a partner or table group, call on students’ prior knowledge by having them discuss and write what they know about each of these literary devices on their sheets under each column. Have them add examples of each, if possible.
  • Ask table groups to report to the class what their group thinks each one is.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the Idioms: Tell Us What You Think! activity. Go over the definition and examples.
  • Craft an answer for the first exercise together.
  • Distribute the worksheet Metaphors and Similes. Go over the definitions on the top, read the story together, and find the similes and metaphors in the first two sentences.
(10 minutes)
  • Instruct students to finish both activities with a partner or table group.
  • Distribute the worksheet Review: Metaphors and Similes.
  • Go over the examples at the top together and then read the first few lines identifying the similes and metaphors as a class.
(15 minutes)
  • Instruct students to finish Review: Metaphors and Similes, using the Similes and Metaphors worksheet as a resource.


  • Finish the worksheet Review: Metaphors and Similes together as a class, discussing examples and addressing questions.


  • Have students make another three-column table and title the columns "Simile," "Metaphor," and "Idiom." Instruct them to find examples of each in the book they are reading independently. They might also look for examples in other books or shorts stories that are available in the classroom or think of some on their own.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students write a pretend postcard or friendly letter of their own and include two similes, two metaphors, and two idioms. You might have them circle or underline each for ease of checking for understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • How do these figures of speech make reading and writing more interesting?

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