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Fresh Ideas to Teach Similes and Metaphors

Grammar, Literacy

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

Teaching is like a roller coaster. Some days you're up, some days you're down. But when it comes to teaching figurative language like similes and metaphors, there's no need to spiral out! When you use these ideas to teach similes and metaphors in your classroom, your students will be as happy as clams. And with all these resources ready at the tips of your fingers, you'll be as free as a bird when your lesson planning is complete. Keep reading for fresh ideas on how to teach similes and metaphors in the 2nd grade classroom.

What is a simile?

A simile is a figure of speech in which two things are compared, using the words “like” or “as.”

Example:

As hungry as a lion

As quiet as a mouse

Eyes that shine like diamonds

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two unrelated things. It uses linking verbs: is, are, was, were

Example:

Today at recess my hands were ice.

The snow was a white blanket.


Activities to Teach Similes and Metaphors

Illustrating Similes and Metaphors

Have students write their own simile or metaphor, or choose one from your class list. Have them write and illustrate their phrase to share with the class, or create a collaborative class book. Here is a great template for students who need a bit more practice or guidance.

1) 2nd Grade Grammar Spiral Review

grammar day by day can help students master similes and metaphors
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A 2nd-grade grammar worksheet with 5 days of spiral practice of similes and metaphors that can be used as a writing center, small group, and homework.

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2) Simile Sentences

practice similes by having to choose the right simile for each sentence
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Fill in the correct comparison in these sentences, then take a turn writing your own similes.

3) Grammar Centers – Similes

a safari themed center to practice similes
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A 2nd grade similes grammar center that practices matching sentence starters to picture cards to create similes.

4) Simile Toothy

toothy can be used to practice similes
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Students will draw a card, and write a word to complete the simile. Students love this self-paced, self-checking activity.

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Books to Teach Similes and Metaphors

Using picture books is an engaging way to teach any skill. Click one the cover images below to see more book details.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

In this Caldecott Classic, a father and daughter go on a moonlit walk. Read along to discover the metaphors in this sparse text, and have students think of their own metaphors to describe nature and seasons.

I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James

Have students write their own “I Am” metaphors and similes after reading this inspiring book.

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

In this book, feelings are represented by colors. After reading, have students create similes and metaphors using colors.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

Learning similes and metaphors lends itself to creative writing and poetry. Read all about how to use Daniel Finds a Poem in our post about Poetry Read Alouds and Collections for the 2nd Grade Classroom

Wild Feelings by David Milgram

Do you ever feel so angry that you want to scream as loud as a lion? Or be quiet as a mouse? Young readers will be able to identify their feelings with this book filled with similes about animals.

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

In this Native American family story, the author explores the shared history of indigenous peoples and food. Find the metaphors in the book, and have students write their own metaphors about food, or even make a class batch of fry bread to share!

I am the Storm by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple. illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

Have fun acting out each animal simile in this elementary classic read-aloud.

In My Heart by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey

“My heart is like house, with all these feelings living inside.” Explore the range of emotions one heart can hold, in this wonderful SEL read. As an extension activity, have students write and illustrate their own similes about feelings. For more great SEL read aloud suggestions, check out this list.


Videos to Teach Similes and Metaphors

Similes and Metaphors in Disney Songs

Have a classroom sing along as you search for similes and metaphors in these popular Disney Songs.

Similes and Metaphors by the Bazillions

Simile or Metaphor? by Jenny Hanks

Another fun sing-along video that helps students identify the difference between similes and metaphors.


Grammar Post Library

If you are looking for more Grammar tips & tricks, check out our grammar post library.

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