Focus question: How do authors use similes and metaphors to enhance their writing?
Before the lesson, place the simile and metaphor activity cards in plastic sandwich bags (L-5-4-1_Similes and Metaphors.docx). Make enough bags for small groups of three or four students to each have ten cards.
Write the words similes and metaphors on the board/interactive whiteboard. Distribute a bag of activity cards to small groups of students. Say, “Inside the plastic bag, you will find ten different cards with statements on them. Try to place the cards into two separate categories, using your background knowledge of similes and metaphors.”
After students have categorized their cards, review the answers. Then say, “What are the characteristics of similes?” (use of the words like or as to compare two unlike things) “What are the characteristics of metaphors?” (compare two unlike things without using the words like or as) Write the following definitions on the board/interactive whiteboard:
- Simile: A figure of speech that compares two unlike objects or ideas, using the words like or as.
- Metaphor: A figure of speech that compares two unlike objects or ideas without using the words like or as.
Read aloud the poem “Ankylosaurus.” Have students identify the similes and metaphor used in the poem and interpret their meanings. Guide students to identify the following:
- Ankylosaurus was built like a tank. (This simile means the ankylosaurus was very large and powerful.)
- Its hide was a fortress as sturdy as steel. (This simile means the animal’s skin was so strong that it protected the animal like a metal barrier.)
- Its tail was a cudgel of gristle and bone. (This metaphor means its tail was very hard and rough.)
Provide a sheet of chart paper and one of the poetry books in the Materials section of this lesson plan to small groups of students. Have students work together to identify five similes and five metaphors and record them on the chart paper. Guide students to explain which unlike objects are being compared and the meaning of each simile and metaphor.
Say, “With a partner, discuss why you think authors use similes and metaphors in their writing.” Reinforce the understanding that authors use similes and metaphors to make their writing more interesting and descriptive and to help readers use their senses to understand text.
Write the following examples on the board/interactive whiteboard and ask students to interpret them:
Simile: The cat was as soft as a silky blanket. (The two unlike objects being compared are a cat and a blanket. This simile means that the cat had very soft fur.)
Metaphor: The cat is the best medicine for the sick child. (The cat is being compared to medicine. This metaphor means that the cat makes the sick child feel better.)
Have students brainstorm a variety of unlike objects. Record the pairs of objects on the board/interactive whiteboard. Then have students write a simile or a metaphor to express each kind of comparison for two unlike objects from the list.
Discuss why similes and metaphors appeal to the senses. (to help the reader gain understanding of the text) Then have students use their senses to create a color poem. Explain that each line of the poem should include a simile that relates to one of the senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch). The last line of the poem should include a metaphor. Provide students with the following example:
Red looks like a fire burning with rage on a cold winter night.
Red sounds like a volcano spewing boulders from its top.
Red smells like a bright rose in full bloom on a summer morning.
Red tastes like cinnamon candy warming my mouth with each bite.
Red feels like the sting of a mosquito bite.
Red is a balloon that makes a child’s heart sing.
Tell students that their color poems do not have to rhyme. Have each student provide an interpretation of the comparisons in his/her poem.
- Have students who need additional practice work with a partner to create similes. One student provides the first part of the simile (e.g., quiet as a _________), and the other student completes the comparison (e.g., mouse, stone). Then have students switch roles. Have each pair of students write a list of their similes and explain the qualities that are expressed by the comparisons. In a similar way, students may create and explain metaphors.
- Have students who are ready to move beyond the standard practice identify similes and metaphors in songs or commercials.