Ordinary to Poetic Lesson Plan

Indicator Task Prompts
Goal: How are metaphors and similes used to enhance our writing?
1.Standards Alignment

ELA Standards:

CCSS RI.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

 d. Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.

CCSS L.4. 5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a. Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

Technology Standards:

NETS-T: Model Digital Age Work and Learning: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats


2.Lesson Objective The student will be able to identify and create similes and metaphors using an ordinary to poetic graphic organizer, providing at least 3 ordinary to poetic changes.
3. Materials 1. Simile-Metaphor Prior Knowledge Check Cards2. Objects for student use3. Drawing Materials

4. PowerPoint: Figurative Language

5. “Similes and Metaphors in Pop Music” video

6. Ordinary to Poetic Graphic Organizer

4. Lesson Initiation Students will then participate in a quick game where they stand when they identify with a statement, introducing them to metaphors and similes.The concepts of simile and metaphor will be introduced at this time. To check student’s prior knowledge, students will be given a sheet with metaphor on one side and simile on the other.Students will talk with their elbow partner or table group about what they think simile and metaphor are, how they would define them, and try to give examples, writing down notes on the cards.

Each group will share what they came to decide and their notes will be written on the board.

Based on the class definitions and examples, the students will identify which statements from the beginning game are similes and which are metaphors, by holding up the right side of the card.

5.Lesson Activities Defining Key Terms and IdeasThe definition of simile and metaphor and examples will then be shared. Students will see if it matches up with what they came up with as a class. Students will then watch the video the videos “Firework

“Similes and Metaphors in Pop Music” video and discuss the similes and metaphors in the video. Since students tend to struggle more with metaphors, the teacher will ask what specifically makes metaphors different. The first 45 seconds will be muted and only the following songs in the video will be listened to: Katy Perry, “Firework”; Rascal Flatts, “Life is a Highway”; Kayne West “Heartless”; Katy Perry, “Hot and Cold”; Miley Cyrus, “The Climb”; Nelly Furtado “I’m like a Bird”; Slelena Gomez, “A Year without Rain”; Taylor Swift “Love Story”; Bon Jovi “Bad Medicine” Selena Gomez “Naturally” Weezer “Say it Ain’t So”. After each song, the students will take turn identifying the metaphors and similes.  What is “weird” about them or different from similes? Examples from the video will be discussed: Is “baby” really a “firework”? What does that really mean if you’re describing someone as a firework?

The concept that metaphors and similes can be used to make writing stronger and more vibrant will then be introduced.

Pages from Owl Moon will then be shared. Students will spot and circle the similes and metaphors. Then students will cross off the similes and metaphors and see the effect It has on the poem itself. How does it change the meaning? How does it change the dramatic effect it has on you?  Why do the similes and metaphors make it better?


This ordinary versus poetic planner will then be introduced:



  • ORDINARY: In first column, students jot down whatever pops into their mind.
  • POETIC: In the second column, students slow down and choose words more carefully and use their senses.

This planner will be demonstrated using the American Flag, picking an ordinary detail and making it poetic by using a metaphor or simile.


So first I choose something ordinary about the flag: the stars and the colors then I, using a metaphor or simile, created an image of what the ordinary was like, what it reminded me of, to make it poetic.  I also used my senses, in this case, my sense of sight to notice ordinary details. I might also use my senses of smell, touch, or even hearing if I had chosen a different object. 

Active Engagement

Students will then with their elbow partner, on page one of the handout, choose something else ordinary about the flag that I didn’t mention and make it poetic by using a metaphor or simile. Three partnerships will then share and add to the planner on the board their ordinary to poetic changes.

Students will then pick their own object either from around the room, in their desks or some other object that they have permission to take the object. I will also bring objects that the students can choose from. If a student has an idea for an object not in the room, they can use the computer to look up an image of the object. One student can work with one object or multiple students can form a group around one object to work independently completing their graphic organizer. Students will have 2 minutes to decide on an object and begin work. Students who have opted to draw the object to begin with will be reminded after three minutes to begin the writing section.

6. Differentiation 
  • If the class readily has knowledge of similes and metaphors, the lesson can easily be adapted to suit their current knowledge by moving into the ordinary v. poetic planner sooner.
  • Students who need support can draw a picture first which will help them to notice the details of the object they have chosen.
  • Students who easily notice ordinary details will be challenged to make their poetic sections truly poetic and not just rephrase what they wrote originally.
  • Students who easily transfer ordinary details into poetic details will be given the chance to start writing their poems. 
7. Lesson Closure Closure:After students have worked on their own planner, three students will share with the whole class, telling their item, one ordinary detail and how they made it poetic by using a metaphor and simile.Link:

This is a strategy you can use when writing your poems, in your narrative writing and your opinion pieces – try to find descriptions that might not be that exciting and make them more poetic by using similes and metaphors to make them stronger and more vivid.

8. Assessment
  • Prior Knowledge Assessment: During the initiation, student’s prior knowledge of similes and metaphors will be assessed through completing the simile and metaphor card with small groups.
  • Informal Formative Assessment: During the end of the initiation, students will hold up their simile and metaphor cards to identify similes and metaphors. This will serve as a check that the class as a whole understands the concept.
  • Formal Summative Assessment: Students will be assessed on the completed Graphic Organizer which will be evaluated on containing three ordinary details which have been transformed into poetic details.

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