Friday, 1 March 2013

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

Teaching Figurative Language Using Picture Books

For the past two weeks, my class has been learning about figurative language and how to use it to enhance writing.  We worked through 6 elements of figurative language: similes, metaphors, hyperboles, idioms, personification, and onomatopoeia.

Figurative Language is a Hoot!

It has really colourful posters with great examples, that are now in my guided reading area on the wall.  It also has an excellent foldable and worksheet to assess understanding.  

Here is a listing of picture books I used to teach figurative language and the activity we completed for each piece of language:

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

My lovely student teacher started off with a T-Chart on the board with "like/as" in the center.  She had a variety of pictures and words on magnets.  Students came up and moved the pieces to create similes such as "busy as a bee" or "cool as a cucumber".  She then read the class "Crazy like a Fox".  Afterward, she brainstormed with the class characters and a plot to create a class simile story. Pairs of students were assigned a page and had to write a few sentences, including one simile.  They are currently working on finishing off the illustrations. 

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

 This story is great to read to your class even if you aren't teaching figurative language!  It's all about a boy who can't help but shout out and the strategy he learns to stop it from happening.  I didn't do much beyond read the story as the students were able to easily understand having done similes first.  

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

Again, I LOVE this story!  There are two sequels as well: "More Parts" and "Even More Parts".  They are quite funny.  The entire book is an exaggeration, but there's also some idioms in here as well.  

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

I started off this lesson by having students wash their hands.  They were so intrigued just from that!  When they returned to their desks, there was a bowl of Alpha-bits cereal on each table group.  I gave them 5 minutes to make as many words as they could.  After, I told them "Eat your words".  :)

I explained that in this situation, I actually meant "eat your words", but that's not what the saying really meant.  Only one student has actually heard the saying before, so they explained it to the class.  As I read "Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip" (you could read any Amelia story, they are all full of idioms) the students munched their snack and were on the lookout for other things that sounded one way, but actually meant something else.  They were able to find them all!

Everyone was then given a copy of the freebie story I found from The Dabbling Speechie. (Click the picture above to get your copy!)  They had to highlight all the idioms and then select two to illustrate their literal meaning and explain in words what they actually meant.  


Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

 I didn't use a book for this one.  We talked about onomatopoeia earlier in the year when working on "great grabbers" for writing.  A student did tell me that Batman comics would be really good for teaching this though. 

Using Picture Books to Teach Figurative Language

I heard about this book on my favourite website - Pinterest.  I ordered it off Chapters website and am very happy I did.  The little red pen has a whole lot of marking to do, and none of the other school supplies want to help her.  But, when she falls into the Pit of No Return (the garbage can) the supplies get together to help her out.  I started off by making a chart with all the supplies as headings.  I also had an actual red pen, stapler, eraser, push pin and green highlighter.  I had the students describe the items.  After reading the story, we added more to the chart based on how the books are in the story.   I called a student up to circle any "alive" words.  

It was at this point I introduced the term personification.  Students made their own chart that had the headings: noun, verb and adjective.  The added at least 5 items under each.  From there, they could create personification sentences such as "the wind tapped softly on my window" or "the car grunted as it slowly climbed the hill".

What books do you use for teaching figurative language?  Leave me your suggestions in the comments!

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