Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tool #4: Comparisons (Post #7)

Welcome back to my blog post series: Journey into Poetry Land. This is post #7 in the series. Post #1 is on All Things Upper Elementary of which I am a contributor. Read it by clicking HERE. The rest are here on my own blog.

Tool number four was going to be a challenge for me to teach. The concepts that I needed to really get across was similes and metaphors. I really wanted to do something to get their attention so I came up with a plan.

I started each of my three class sessions by asking the students what "Compare" meant. I was surprised at the lack of understanding in this department. I had then had the students draw a t-chart and compare summer and winter. We talked about what was the same and what was different.

Then, I showed them the following video:

After they finished laughing and talking about what they saw, I asked them what was being compared. They compared all sorts of things, but not what was really being compared... the happiness of the customer to the happiness of the witch.

I saw doubt on their faces. So we watched another one. I told them to watch carefully and LISTEN to what the two guitar men at the end said to each other. I started the next video:

After it was over, they immediately caught on what was being prepared. We talked about it for a minute or two (focusing on the KEY WORDS that show comparisons) and then I showed them one final video (I saved this one until the end because it is my favorite one!).

Ha ha! Isn't that one AWESOME! We again discussed the comparisons being made. I had the students make notes in their writing journals about what they had learned from the lesson.

I then handed out a copy of a packet from a book that I have at school, Figuratively Speaking by Creative Teaching. It has wonderful 3-4 page packets that focus on the specific skills. Part of the packet asks the students to write a poem using provided prompts that compares a life event to something else. This is what I wrote as the model poem. I compared accomplishment to going on a hike

Accomplishment is like a hike.
You set your sights on the top like a dog does a bone.
You start off, usually like a shot out of a gun,
Sometimes you stumble like a wounded deer.
But, when you reach the top, your heart races like a NASCAR engine,
and you cheer like you just won a million dollars!

After I modeled my poem, I challenged them to write one of their own. That is how we spent the remainder of the class period. 

Before they left, I made sure they had written in their journals:

Compare two unlike things, usually using LIKE or AS (or THAN, like in the commercials)

=Metaphors (More difficult)
Compare two unlike things with OUT using LIKE or AS (usually 'was')

For their homework, I assigned them: The Runner by Walt Whitman. They had to find the common and proper nouns, find alliteration, onomatopoeia, imagery words, and any simile or metaphors.  

YES! Another successful lesson taught! MAN, I love teaching writing... sigh...

Until next time-
-Mr. Hughes

P.S. I wanted to share that I am the featured teacher in the Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter today. WAHOO! When I can find the link to the on-line version, I will link it here. :)

I also wanted to let everyone know that I have finished my Poetry Unit (that has some of what I have been sharing here) in my store now! Check it out by clicking the picture below:


  1. Congratulations on being featured in the TPT newsletter!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate your stopping by. Don't be a stranger! :)

  2. I love the use of the Geico commercials for teaching comparison! While I don't teach poetry we do use alot of compare/contrast in my science classroom! Love the idea! -AC

    1. April-
      So glad that I could inspire you. I hope that you can find away to fit them in. ha ha. Have a great day.

  3. Haha! Whenever I see those ads I think "how odd" so to use them in teaching comparison is brilliant! I'm pinning this and saving it for another day with my class. :D

    Also, congrats again on being featured on TPT. :)

    1. Howdy Amber-
      Thanks for being a faithful reader and commentor! I need to be better about do that... sigh. I appreciate your kind words and I am glad that I inspired you to use the Geico ads. There are several more, but these three are my favorite. Have a great day and see you soon.

  4. I love the poetry unit. The idea of having their own anthology of found and created works is a great one! Kudos, my brilliant friend. :D

    1. Thanks for your kind words! :) I appreciate your support.

  5. Thanks so much for posting this series of blogs. I am currently teaching my 6th graders about poetry and we just did simile and metaphors. I have been using the same book as a resource, but didn't think of using the commercial approach. This may be a good review for tomorrow. I am also really excited about the unit in your TPT store. Looking forward to checking that out too! Thanks for all the helpful ideas.

    1. Hello Fellow 6th Grade Teacher!
      It is so nice to meet my colleagues in the grade level. I appreciate your kind words and am excited that you are using the same book to teach from! How fun. I hope that my posts will help inspire some fun twists and I would LOVE to hear about ideas you have on the different lessons. Hope you will stop by often!

  6. I love the idea of using the commercials! I use commercials a lot, but I have never seen these! Now that I have DVR, I never seem to watch commercials anymore, so that might be why! I should start watching them again! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    1. Hey Peanut-
      Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, DVR has made commercials for some obsolete, me on the other hand, I still live in the dark ages of regular TV- HA HA!
      I can say that my kiddos loved the commercials, even though they had seen them. They left thinking about TV a little bit different that day!

  7. I love my poetry unit that I use every year! I am always amazed by the poems my students are able to write. We wrap it up with a Poetry Slam on Valentine's Day! We read some Emily Dickinson extended metaphor poems, then kids pick an emotion (like anger or joy) and an animal and create a comparison between the two. They use Hope is the Thing with Feathers as inspiration. It always works. Thanks for your ideas and freebie Saturdays. Caitlin (


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