Why should we teach figurative language? When using figurative language, authors are able to convey complex and abstract ideas. In addition, when students read figurative language, they are able to visualize what they’re reading which improves comprehension.
Lotus and Feather by Ji-li Jhang is filled with numerous beautiful similes. When using this text to teach figurative language, this is the obvious place to start. I start by discussing the types of figurative language and providing examples.
After that, I share the similes from Lotus and Feather and ask my students what comparisons are being made.
After we complete this chart together (or students complete them with partners or independently), I focus on how similes and metaphors are similar. I want my students to apply what they are learning, so I start with changing similes to metaphors.
I say to my students, “Let’s look closely at these similes. How can we turn them into metaphors?” I want them to practice creating figurative language in an easy way before challenging them to create examples of alliteration, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, and personification.
|“The sound drifted around the empty lake like a wisp of sorrow.”||Answers will vary, but should be similar to: The sound was a wisp of sorrow that drifted around the lake.|
|“She stopped in awe when she saw a big bird, as white as fresh snow, standing in the marsh grass.”||Answers will vary, but should be similar to: She stopped in awe when she saw the snow-white bird standing in the marsh grass.|
|“Above the long, curved neck, its head was crowned with a red top like a dazzling ruby.”||Answers will vary, but should be similar to: Above its long, curved neck, the crane wore a dazzling ruby crown.|
|“Lotus couldn’t utter any sound, but she crouched down and drummed her metal pail with her reed cutter making a noise like thunder.”||Answers will vary, but should be similar to: Thunder rose from Lotus’s metal pail as she drummed it with her reed cutter.|
|“Its wide wings were edged with black feathers, like lace on a dress.”||Answers will vary, but should be similar to: The feathers on the edge of the crane’s wide wings were black lace.|
Finally, I challenge my students to develop examples of figurative language that can fit in the story. In this way, they’re guided to consider the mood, characters, and setting to create appropriate examples of figurative language.
I have some ideas that will work in the story, but I want my students to be creative and original. We refer back to the examples on the anchor chart and I give my students time to brainstorm and collaborate. Then, I share my examples one by one and invite my students to share their ideas. The lesson culminates in a sharing time like the one that follows.
Alliteration: Lotus looks lovingly at Feather. “What ideas did you have?”
Hyperbole: The crane filled sky was completely white. “What examples did you come up with?”
Hyperbole: It seemed like 100 years since Lotus had seen Feather. “What kind of hyperbole did you create?”
Onomatopoeia: “Bang!” Lotus was frightened by the gun shot. “I want to hear your examples of onomatopoeia.”
Personification: The sky wept as the cranes flew away. “I can’t wait to hear your examples of personification!”
This lesson is part of a larger set of book companion lessons for Lotus and Feather. Enjoy the free sample.
The complete book companion includes both digital and printable differentiated graphic organizers for analyzing vocabulary, identifying character traits, analyzing character change, and identifying main idea and theme. If you prefer BOOM Learning, click here to preview that version.
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Exploring Figurative Language with Lotus and Feather