Secrets from CurricuLaughs in Language Arts
“Find the Similes and Metaphors” Game
A spoonful of sugar not only helps the medicine go down; it makes the medicine more effective—at least that’s what I’ve seen in education and I’m sure you have, as well.
When I once announced to 4th graders that we were going to work on similes and metaphors, they frowned, grumbled, fidgeted, and shut down. That’s why I now announce the lesson this way: “It’s time to play a game!”
All I did was reposition what we would be doing and I get cheers! Okay, it is fair to say that when I tell them that the name of the game is “Find the Similes and Metaphors,” some of the more astute students’ smiles diminish, but it is TOO LATE—they have already moved themselves into “FUN position”.
“…The ironic thing was that they got a lesson like they would get in their classroom but they saw it as pure fun…”
Dr. Dael Angelico-Hart Linden School Principal Malden, Massachusetts
So what is the “Find Similes and Metaphors” game?
It’s a quiz!
It is nothing more than a quiz with a small but important twist: the quiz is done orally by volunteers and the student volunteers become the teachers. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to see the flow of illuminating light bulbs (to mix metaphors) in this simple exercise. (The mixed-metaphor game is ANOTHER really fun and effective game for the kids so please feel free to e-mail me for that.)
I project a list of lines taken from poems that I shared with the students during their wild and crazy assembly. In each of the lines is a simile or metaphor. They had seen me dressed as Sherlock Poems, Poetry Detective, reading one of them. They may have seen me juggling or falling on the floor as I shared another. Now, though, they are just seeing the lines with no entertainment, other than the challenge of beating the “game”.
The rules to the game are simple:
1. Tell me which part of the line is the simile or metaphor part
2. Tell me whether it is a simile or metaphor, and
3. Tell me WHY it is one and not the other.
A different student is chosen to do this for the each line. The best thing that can happen in this game is an incorrect answer. At that point, another student helps them to see the presence (or lack) of “as” or “like” in the simile or metaphor part of the line.
It is a very simple but EXTREMELY effective way to get the point across because a) they are being put in the position of having fun, and b) they learn from each other, rather than from me.
Please e-mail me if you would like information on more games or my school visit programs and please come hear me speak at the Reading for the Love of It conference in February.
Thank you for reading and please keep adding fun to your classroom.
2015 Ben Franklin Award Winning Author, Jeff Nathan