LESSON FOUR: Snappy Solutions, Sizzling Sentences: understanding figurative language in poems, prose, fiction, and nonfiction
Students identify and explain figurative language, simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, and alliteration with a focus on onomatopoeia and alliteration. In the second part of the lesson, students continue to work on their city project by writing an alliterative slogan and developing descriptions using figurative language.
R2B Identify and explain figurative language in poetry and prose (emphasize onomatopoeia and alliteration)
R3B Identify and explain figurative language in nonfiction text (emphasize onomatopoeia and alliteration)
§ Sources of literature
o To Young Readers by Gwendolyn Brooks
o Newspaper selection Time for Kids or other periodicals
o Scoring guide for Formative Assessment for Lesson four
§ Handouts provided
o Figurative Language Detectives graphic organizer
o Formative Assessment for Lesson Four
§ Words to know
o figurative language
o graphic organizer
Students read a story to answer questions. Scoring guide provided.
LEARNING ACTIVITIES - Part I
1. A good beginning for the lesson is to share To Young Readers by Gwendolyn Brooks with students. Using a think aloud strategy, model for students what reason or motive the writer might have had for using particular figurative language devices. For example: “Good books are bandages”. Guide them to understand the message in this metaphor is books are healthful for the mind.
Students are generally quick to pick up the concepts of alliteration and onomatopoeia. If your students have not had any background in this area or, for whatever reason, need more direct instruction, most textbooks have introductory lessons. Another idea for beginning this lesson is to use Dr. Seuss’s book Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? (an excellent source for both alliteration and onomatopoeia). Other pictures may also be used. Even if students do understand the concept, the picture books are appealing and help to reinforce the idea and intent of figurative language. After reading, discuss the examples with students and point out the humor created by the use of this figurative language.
2. Provide students with a copy of the graphic organizer that includes definitions of grade-level appropriate figurative language (see Figurative Language Detectives Graphic Organizer). Students work in pairs to find examples from their anthologies or other resources (such as periodicals mentioned earlier). Give instruction to the whole group, discussing the definitions of the different types of figurative language and modeling the way to complete the graphic organizer. If adequate computer access is available, students can find poems on a site such as www.poets.org in addition to the print resources.
3. Tell students that now that they have had some practice identifying alliteration, onomatopoeia, and other types of figurative language, they will be able to make up their own in describing their cities.
4. Tell students to think of advertisements for resorts or other vacation spots they have read about or seen on television (show brochures if available.)
What sort of attractions appeal to you?
What do advertisers say that really make you want to visit Disneyland or Six Flags?
Why would you want to see New York, Paris, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis, or your own town?
Our state recently adopted the slogan, “Missouri, Where the Rivers Run,” which contains an example of alliteration. Can you find it? (allow students to respond) This is the sort of slogan you’ll write to promote your own city.
5. Students begin writing slogans and descriptions of their cities using figurative language. Encourage students to make their cities seem as appealing as possible. Direct them to include a slogan using alliteration, a sound in the city (onomatopoeia) as well as simile and metaphor. Students may access tourism websites for guidance on this part of the activity. If computer access is not available, bring in brochures from a travel agency or from the department of tourism, or printouts from such agencies. Others sources may include advertisements in magazines and newspapers. Although the end product is individual work, students should be encouraged to collaborate and share ideas with groups.
The following short pieces are provided for instructors who need additional resources for teaching figurative language.
Short Story I
I’ve always dreaded the first day of school. What if I have mean, miserable old Mr. Rice for social studies? What if I don’t have any classes with my friends? I have not had to hear the ring of the bell all summer. If only I had one fantastically fun day left, I would still be free.
I can feel the stiff, starchy, scratching of my new school clothes. Why does my mother seem to believe I need new clothes to start the school year off? My worn summer clothes are as comforting as old friends.
Short Story II
The swing was our meeting spot, but only the cool kids met there. It was not anything fancy, a cloth bag attached to a rope that was tied to a tree, but it was a blast to swing from. I jumped off the step and swoosh the air would hit me. “Hooray!” we would scream like sirens. We would spend all day swinging from the rope. We were just monkeys without a care.
Then one day, the girls came to the swing-not just any girls-cool girls. Why would they want to come to our swing? They’d be a bunch of cream puffs, scared of their own shadows. We were wrong. “Wheee!” they squealed as they soared toward the sky. We decided they could stay.