09 May 2006

Teaching Poetry: Lesson 6

For the penultimate poetry lesson, we worked with metaphor. This may have given the students their toughest challenge. We discussed the nature of a metaphor, and talked about how it is a stronger form of simile. Now, these kids can bust out similes without a second thought, but metaphors were eluding them. But, I set them to work anyway.

I handed each of them a strip of yellow poster board and had them use one side to complete the sentence “Nature is…” with a metaphor, and to do the same on the opposite side using the sentence “Ladybugs are…” as the launching point.

Many of them insisted on writing similes and were quite disappointed when I would say things like, “That’s a great simile; can you make it a metaphor?” After much ado, they wrote their lines and went to the front of the room to await further instruction. Once all had made their way to the head of the class, I split them into three groups, collected each groups’ strips then handed each cluster of kids a different pile. That’s when the real fun began.

They laid the strips down and read the poems as they fell, switching between “Ladybugs are…” and “Nature is…” Then I had them check out both sides of the strips and to switch them around until they found an order they liked best. I leave you with my favorite:

Nature is…
the circle of life
a soaring bird flying high
an apple to be picked
a checker board
a rainbow of color and life
a book to read
the little people
a peaceful pest