Metaphor Lesson Plans

Lesson plans on similes and other figurative language are also available.

The art of the metaphor
How do metaphors help us better understand the world? And, what makes a good metaphor? Explore these questions with writers like Langston Hughes and Carl Sandburg, who have mastered the art of bringing a scene or emotion to life. This TED-ED video (5:39) is captioned and includes follow-up questions and other support.

Extended Metaphor
This lesson uses the Billy Collins poem "Cliché" (text of poem included) to explore extended metaphor. Follow the link to the activity on the student handout.

Extended Metaphor: Will Ferrell
Examples of extended metaphor drawn from literature. Don't miss the clip of Will Ferrell describing his education in the School of Hard Knocks (school-appropriate).

Figurative Language Awards Ceremony
Students explore books rich in figurative language and nominate their favorite examples of similes, metaphors, and personification for a figurative language award. Once nominations are in, the class votes, selecting a winning example in each category. Finally, students are challenged to write an acceptance speech for one of the winners, using as many literary devices (simile, metaphor, personification) as they can in their speech. Designed for grades 3-5.

Figurative Language of Edgar Allan Poe
10 quotations drawn from stories and poems. Students identify metaphor, simile, personification, or hyperbole. Answers available. Can be printed as worksheets or completed online.

Figurative Language of O. Henry
23 quotations from various stories. Students identify figures of speech. 4 pages; answers available. Can be printed as worksheets or completed online.

Figurative Language of Shakespeare
23 quotations from various plays. Students identify metaphor, simile, personification, or hyperbole. 3 pages; answers available. Can be printed as worksheets or completed online.

Figurative Language Poems with Questions
Questions for analysis and answer keys for 9 different poems. Designed for middle school and above. Can be printed as worksheets or completed online.

Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms
In this lesson, students explore figurative language with a focus on the literal versus the metaphorical translations of idioms. Through read-alouds, teacher modeling, and student-centered activities that are presented in the classroom, students will further develop their understanding of figurative language. Designed for grades 3-5.

Figuratively Speaking: Exploring How Metaphors Make Meaning
Students investigate common metaphors in poetry and song, analyze the use of metaphors in a variety of short texts, and explore the metaphors in use throughout their daily life. This lesson is designed for high school students. It might be appropriate for middle school with some modification.

Four Metaphor Poetry
This writing activity stresses the skillful creation of metaphors. It is designed to accompany Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.

"The Litany"
In this YouTube video (4:10), Billy Collins discusses his inspiration for this humorous poem before reading it. Consider including in a lesson on metaphor. Grade 9 and older.

Introducing Metaphors Through Poetry
Students read excerpts from the work of Langston Hughes, Margaret Atwood, and Naomi Shihab Nye in order to gain a deeper understanding of metaphors.

A matter of identity: Writing an extended metaphor poem
Students apply their knowledge of literary devices by reading and analyzing the poem "Identity" by Julio Noboa Polanco. Students then create their own poem incorporating the literary devices studied and analyzed in the poem. This lesson includes modifications for a Novice Low Limited English student.

Metaphor Examples
50 examples for middle and high school.

Unique Metaphor Collections
Inspired by the first chapter of the novel Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, students will discover metaphors in their world and reading and create their own unique metaphorical descriptions for a collection they devote a page to in their writers notebooks or their journals. Once a collection of unique metaphors has been built in the writers notebook, teachers can challenge students to create a longer piece of writing (poem, narrative, reflection, etc.) that is inspired by one or several of their metaphors.

"A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore
Printable handout: text of the poem and check for similes and metaphors. Includes answer key.

What am I? Teaching Poetry through Riddles
An introduction to poetry via metaphor, simile, metonymy, concrete imagery, and creativity.

Writing about Writing: An Extended Metaphor Assignment
This lesson uses Richard Wilbur's poem "The Writer" to encourage students to develop an extended metaphor describing themselves as writers.