Teaching figurative language, particularly when you want to give students direct experience in dealing with it, can be a tricky business. For several years, I had these two worksheet templates for working with metaphors and similes rattling around in my current work folder before I actually did something with them–to wit, making up some worksheets to attend a unit on Stephen King’s novella “The Body,” which is part of the Different Seasons collection (and which was made into the fine film “Stand By Me”).
The structure of these makes them pretty easy to use. For the metaphor-o-matic worksheet, I use, for the first section, which calls upon students to interpret metaphors, some metaphorical language or symbols from whatever we’re reading in class. Then, to offer students some direct experience with writing metaphors in the second section of the worksheet, I might ask them to create a metaphor for human emotions, weather, and the like. For example, you might ask students to think of and write down a weather metaphor that suggests confusion; the obvious answer would be fog. Similarly, you might ask for a metaphor that indicates anger, and students might say the color red, a storm, the Tasmanian Devil from “Looney Toons” or something along those lines.
In general, as similes are themselves, the simile-o-matic worksheet is easier to use. At the top of this template, I’ve provided a number of exemplars of the simile at work. I usually ask students to write several similes of their own in order to give them direct experience working with them. After students have composed their similes, I use the basic writers’ workshop format for discussion of their work.
And that’s it for this week’s Text. As always, if you found this material useful, I’d appreciate hearing about just how you did–especially if you’ve modified it for use with your students.
Until next week….