Figurative Language Posters and Teaching Ideas – Also, a TPT sale!

Figurative Language Bulletin Board set

Figurative Language

Types of figurative language are taught in our 3rd grade ELA curriculum and I always feel that I need something more to add to it. Each of these literary devices is so interesting and you can do so much to enhance your lessons with mentor texts, video clips, etc. So, I’m finally getting it all organized. I’ll be better prepared to teach it enthusiastically this year! I’ve created some resources to go with these lessons so I might mention those throughout this post and you can click on any of the pictures for a link to the resources.

One reason figurative language is so interesting is because we can find it everywhere! It’s in picture books, chapter books, poetry, comics, cartoons, animated films, songs, advertising, and more. We’re surrounded by examples!

1. Alliteration

This is such a fun one to teach at the beginning of the year There are some great books. It’s excellent for building fluency (tongue twisters!) and vocabulary. Anything that encourages them to read more and is FUN is a huge win.

Mentor Texts
Some mentor texts with examples of alliteration are:
*The Absolutely Awful Alphabet by Mordicai Gerstein
*Four Famishes Foxes and Fosdyke by Pamela Duncan Edawards
*Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards
*A My Name is ALICE by Jane Bayer Princess
*The Worrywarts by Pamela Duncan Edwards
*Pigtoria and the Pea by Pamela Duncan Edwards
*Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
*Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Botner
*Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Steve Breen (there is a link to this one in my TPT resource)
*Poems by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky

Tongue Twisters
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick? It’s funny how tongue twisters stick in our minds. I can still remember playing a little beginning song on the piano that used the lyrics to “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck…” You can google tongue twisters to find a bunch of examples. Project them on the board and say them together. Underline the repetitive beginning letters.

I love this idea by Think Grow Giggle to write your own tongue twisters. It’s currently a freebie in her TPT store!

There are even books of tongue twisters! I like the National Geographic Just Joking books because they have jokes, riddles, and tongue twisters. Those books are a big hit with 3rd graders.

2. Personification

It’s easy to find examples of personification! It’s in most animated movies – think about Cars, Sing, Ferdinand, etc. It’s in cartoons. It’s even in commercials! I have a few clips with some of animal spokesperson commercials (it’s in my Figurative Language pack). Geico has a few popular ones – their gecko spokesperson, and there is the camel walking through the office talking about hump day.

Of course, there are many picture books where animals have human traits. It’s a common theme! Your library is probably full of them. An easy activity is to set the students on a little treasure hunt looking for examples of personification in your books – they are are sure to find them!

Students can create a comic strip using personification with an animal character. Remind them of the many examples that they know – Winnie the Pooh, Garfield, Mickey Mouse, Charlotte’s Web, etc. Be prepared to model the lesson for them by drawing your own comic strip. This is also a great time to teach about writing dialogue. 

Mentor Texts
*The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
*Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher
*The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens & Susan Crummel
*If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
*The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Figurative Language QR Cards
4 Cards for each one! There are QR codes that link to stories, songs, and explanation videos!

3. Hyperbole

Kids love to exaggerate so this is also a fun one to explore! There are plenty of examples in advertising and commercials to help with this one. Tall Tales are also a good companion piece to learning about hyperbole. 

Mentor Texts
*Heat Wave by Helen Ketteman
*Steamboat Annie by Catherine Wright
*Library Lil by Suzanne Williams
*The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians by Elizabeth Kennedy

4. Metaphors & Similes

Metaphors compare 2 items that don’t seem to be alike at all, but you can find at least one area where they are alike. You can start a lesson on metaphors and similes by bringing in a bunch (2+ for each student) of objects from home. You’ll need 2 to demonstrate – – let’s say a blanket and a lunch bag. Work with the students to write a list of descriptive words and phrases for the blanket and then for the lunch bag. They don’t have much of anything in common, but the blanket wraps around you while you’re resting and the lunch bag protects your sandwich (blankets it). I could write – “I can hardly wait until lunch time! I finally have the lunch that I wanted. My mom bought Nutella! My Nutella & grape jelly sandwich is now safely resting in the paper blanket of my lunch bag.” Now, have students choose 2 objects and write a simile or metaphor.
Here’s an idea with using items found in nature for inspiration for writing metaphors. 

This Ted Talk would be good for older students. It’s a little slow, but I liked seeing some of the metaphors illustrated.


Mentor Texts
*You’re Toast and Other Metaphors We Adore by Nancy Loewen  (this one is in the TPT pack)
*Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk by Brian P. Cleary
*My School’s a Zoo! by Stu Smith

*My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil by Hanoch Piven
*Crazy Like a Fox: a Simile Story by Loreen Leedy
*My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks by Hanoch Piven (this one is in the TPT pack)
*Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

*Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Figurative Language QR Code Cards

5. Idioms

Idioms lend themselves to illustrations. Kids can’t resist drawing something so absolutely ridiculous. You can create a class book with each student writing an idiom and drawing a picture of what it would be literally. They can then talk to a partner about what it might mean and once they figure it out, they will write the actual meaning on the page. 

Here are a few collections of idioms to get you started:

Mentor Texts
*Birds of a Feather: A Book of Idioms and Silly Pictures by Vanita Oelschlager
*My Teacher Likes to Say by Denise Brennan-Nelson
*Raining Cats & Dogs by Will Moses
*Stubborn as a Mule and Other Silly Similes by Nancy Loewen
*In a Pickle: and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban

6. Onomatopoeia

Comic strips are one place that we see examples of Onomatopoeia. There is a good lesson on Read Write Think about having students use onomatopoeia in writing a comic. This is something that a wide range of grade levels would enjoy. You can make it a digital activity by using the Comic Creator at Read Write Think, Book Creator app or another app that allows you to create comics. 

Mentor Texts

*A Mouthful of Onomatopoeia by Bette Blaisdell
*Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
*Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
*The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
*In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
*Noisy Night by Mac Barnett
*Miss Spider’s New Car by David Kirk

Whew! That was a lot of typing. My fingers are worn to the bone. (I couldn’t resist throwing in some figurative language.) 

My figurative language bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers includes a set of 7 posters with a definition and an example sentence. I really like the watercolor clipart that I found to decorate them. So pretty! There are also a set of 4 cards for each of these literary devices. The cards include the definition (same as the poster, but small) and 3 QR codes that link to a mentor text being read, video clips that illustrate, a song to teach about that device, and a short video that teaches more about it. These will be great for literacy centers or to give struggling students more practice. I’m excited to use them! I’m also going to incorporate more mentor texts and use some of the ideas in this post. I think that will give us plenty to work on!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their back to school sale! Yay! I totally use this sale to get stocked up for the year. Everything at Teacher Treasure Hunter is on sale. Don’t forget to enter code: BTSFRESH to get additional savings from TPT. 

I’m sad that summer is coming to an end, but excited to teach a whole new group of 3rd graders! Happy back-to-school season to you!

Mentor Text Giveaway

Don’t forget to read to the end for a giveaway!

Writing an opening hook

How many times have your students started informational reports with…”This is a report about…” These opening lines are boring to the reader and even to the writer! So, we teach them to write an interesting hook that will engage the reader. There are many types of hooks that will quickly get the attention of your audience. This post is focusing on writing a question to hook readers. Why? Well, I found a great book! Isn’t that usually the case? We find a fun book and realize it would be a great mentor text for something we want our students to learn.

What if You Had Animal Eyes

Sandra Markle has written a great series of informational books that have a light, engaging style. The latest in this series is What if You Had Animal Eyes. I pre-ordered it on Amazon so that I could get it right away. My 3rd graders enjoy these books and I am all about stocking my classroom with books that get kids reading! These books start out with asking a question. They don’t just ask a question about an animal fact, but rather questions that will guide the reader in imagining the life of that animal. “What if one day when you woke up, the eyes on your face weren’t yours? What if, overnight, a wild animal’s eyes took their place.” (Markle, 2017) Each 2 page spread focuses on an animal. One page is informational and helps you learn all about that animal’s eyesight and the characteristics that make the eyes uniquely suited for that particular animal. The second page makes it personal. What would it be like for you to have eyesight like that animal? The book ends with a quick compare/contrast of animal and human eyes and how ours eyes are just what we need. It also includes a page on how human eyes work and a page about keeping your eyes healthy.

You could also use this book as a mentor text for other topics such as…

*Repetition (If you had ______ eyes you ___________)
*Organizing facts for readability
*Using real photos alongside exaggerated sketches 
*Reading and/or creating diagrams (diagram of the human eye – page 30)
I’ve created a little resource to go along with this book. It includes:

*mini poster (quotation)
*mini poster (about writing hooks)
*worksheet to practice writing questions that could be hooks for various topics

You can download the FREEBIE here.

Reading Freebies and a Giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with some great bloggers who are doing a giveaway to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims. I have friends with family in Texas. Our pastor’s wife was in church when she saw a facebook message from her brother-in-law saying they were stranded and asking for help. It was so difficult for them to wait for news from 2,000 miles away. I was in Jacksonville, Florida during Hurricane Andrew and remember people from our church going to help. These types of losses are devastating and require long-term assistance. Dawn Vinas, a teacher who works with Houston schools, has started a gofundme to help teachers. Any donation will help. You can give to that campaign here. My heart is hurting as we are now tracking hurricane Irma and praying for the safety of all those in her path.
I’m in the Pacific Northwest and we are dealing with an entirely different hardship – wild fires. There are so many huge fires in our state and surrounding states. The sky this week has been thick with smoke and air advisories have been given. Students have had to stay inside all week. The sun looks red on many days. It is very surreal. A beautiful area that we travel through frequently, the Columbia Gorge, along the Columbia river is burning. I posted a picture on my facebook page of before and after. It is incredibly sad.

Each blogger has featured a mentor text and an accompanying download. Make sure you visit each blog to get all these goodies and tons of expert advice! Just click on the links at the end of this post to visit the next blog. One lucky winner will win a copy of EACH book. That is such an awesome prize! Enter through the rafflecopter links at the end of this post. The most important thing to do is to support the relief efforts if you are able. The gofundme link is a great way to support teachers and schools. There are many organizations involved in the rebuilding in Houston and other cities that suffered from Hurricane Harvey. We might not be able to do much individually, but together we can do anything! Let’s get these cities restored and offer hope to those who were displaced. Spread the word about the gofundme and this giveaway! Thank you!

An InLinkz Link-up

Children’s Books to Fuel the Imagination

Happy New Year! I want to share with you a list of picture books & elementary chapter books to fuel the imagination. My post today on is a post about imagination. It’s something that can be all too easy for us to stifle in the classroom. So, hop on over to the post to read more and keep on scrolling to see a list of some books to inspire the imagination of young readers.

Click on the book cover to go to the link on Amazon. Don’t forget to read the post on Classroom Tested Resources to hear more about bringing imagination into your lessons!

1. Journey by Aaron Becker
2. It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee
3. Tuesday by David Weisner


4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
6. Stella, Fairy of the Forest by Marie-Louise Gay


7. The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble
8. The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden
9. The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague


Click on the book cover to go to the link on Amazon. Don’t forget to read the post on Classroom Tested Resources to hear more about bringing imagination into your lessons!

1. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
2. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
3. No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

4. Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
5. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
6. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling


7. Wings of Fire by Tui Sutherland
8. Secret Agent Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Affiliate links: These book titles link to Amazon and I could potentially (hasn’t happened yet!) get a small return from Amazon for sending a customer their way! 🙂

Have a fantastic week!

Classroom Planning A-Z ~ Helping teachers prepare for Back-to-School

Classroom Planning A-Z

It’s back-to-school season! There are SO many things for teachers to do during this time and SO much to remember. Last year, I made a Classroom Planning list with detailed notes about each item and links to some freebies and resources to help you accomplish the things on your to-do list. It’s a free resource on Teachers Pay Teachers. My listing there has it for new teachers, but I’ve heard from many veteran teachers who have found it helpful. I’m using it right now to make sure I don’t forget anything!

Birthday Bags for Students
One very easy tip is to prepare NOW for the birthdays that you will celebrate throughout the year. What will you do about summer birthdays? Are you giving each student a little gift? I’ve seen cute, simple ideas of just a giant pixie stick with a birthday note attached or a book (use Scholastic points!) is always a great idea. I put together little gift bags. I’ve made a video of what’s inside. Click here or on the picture above to watch the video on YouTube.

Click here to download the free A-Z Planning Guide for Teachers!

What do you do to prepare for back-to-school? What should I add to my checklist? Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

$75 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card giveaway!

Win a $75 TPT gift card

Do you still have things to buy for back-to-school? I sure do! We have a great giveaway that could help you out. One lucky winner will get a TPT gift card for $75. It could be you!

Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway organized by: An Apple for the Teacher
Co-hosts: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher),  A Plus Kids,  Teaching SuperkidsPeas in a PodEmbellished EducationLattes and LunchroomsKB3TeachDancing into FirstTeaching Ideas For Those Who Love TeachingThe Chocolate TeacherMs K MathKnowledge MobileMrs. RoltgenElementary Antics,  CrazyCharizmaCarla HoffThird Grade GigglesMickey’s PlaceRissa HannekenActivity TailorKamp Kindergarten,  Reading and Writing RedheadPlanet Happy SmilesA View Into My ClassroomMomma With A Teaching MissionSara RuckerThe Literacy GardenPam’s PlaceHeart 2 Heart TeachingMrs Humphries ClassSliding Into 1stGrowing Grade by GradeJackie CrewsLife As I Know ItSarah GriffinTeacher Treasure HunterGlistening Gems, and A Classroom for All Seasons.
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter.  Giveaway ends 8/13/16 and is open worldwide.
P.S. ~ There are 2 of these giveaways going on right now! When you are finished entering this one, visit An Apple for the Teacher to enter another giveaway. 🙂 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Good luck!

Win a TPT giftcard! Teachers it’s time to shop!

It’s back-to-school time and TeachersPayTeachers is ready with new resources, 2 sales days and giveaways! Many bloggers were given giftcards to help spread the word about the sale. I’m happy to be able to give 1 lucky winner a $10 giftcard code. I’ll make it a quick giveaway so that the winner can spend the money right away!
The Teachers Pay Teachers sale is August 1st -2nd. I will have my entire Teacher Treasure Hunter store on sale. Combine that with the TPT discount (use code BESTYEAR) and you’ll save 28%. It’s time to fill those shopping carts!
 Classroom Tested Resources
The bloggers at Classroom Tested Resources have put together a BIG giveaway! It’s 3 days AND 3 different TPT giftcards. Be sure to stop by and enter each day of the giveaway. 
 QR Code Bundle
One of my best-selling resources is featured on the Classroom Tested Blog page and it’s on sale for today! It has nearly 300 stories. Kids scan the QR code and the page automatically loads so they can watch someone reading the book. They are perfect for listening centers. If you miss today’s sale then you can still get it on Monday & Tuesday through the #bestyearever sale at Teachers Pay Teachers!
Have a wonderful week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vocabulary Fun ~ Use an app!

Vocabulary Fun with MSQRD app
Do you want a FREE app that will make learning vocabulary words fun? Well, that’s what I’m sharing with you today! I’ll even share a little video of what you can do with this app and a freebie for your students.
I happen to love words. I remember reading Anne of Green Gables and loving the quirky phrases like “kindred spirits” and the way L.M. Montgomery strung words together in a way that made you want to bask in the beauty of the words. Or reading Charlotte’s Web and being captivated by the marvelous first sentence and in awe of quotes like this:

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumour of sadness and change.”

When I discover a new word I find it exciting and can’t wait to use it. I’m finally getting around to reading the Fault In Our Stars and discovered the word hamartia. I’m not sure how I will put “fatal flaw” into a conversation, but it is going to happen! 
My students are not quite as enthusiastic to discover words. Of course, a teacher who is excited about words is a good first step, but they need something more. Tech to the rescue!
I searched for an app that would do filters like snapchat, but wasn’t part of a social media. I found one! The app is MSQRD (masquerade). It can link up to Facebook, but you don’t have to do that. You can just download the videos directly to your device. It’s available in the app store and google play store. 
I’m planning on using the app to have my students read a vocabulary word and the definition. Once we have videos of all the words that I want the students to work on then I will merge them into a single video (I used imovie for this). The students will watch the video a few times and then they will have some vocabulary activities. They will write the words in their vocabulary notebook with a space between each word. They will use the vocabulary spinner to select an activity for each word – draw a picture, write a sentence, write a synonym, or write an antonym. I may need to put a max or min for each choice if the spinner is ALWAYS landing on their favorite activity. I’ll figure out the details of that as we start using it. I think they will love seeing the video though. Hopefully, it will help some of these words to “stick”!
A few quick tips for this app:
1) Choose to not link it to Facebook
2) Click on the heart to add a filter to favorites. Tell the students they can only use the ones that you have marked. Some of the filters are too distracting – music in the background and/or yucky themes.
3) Combine the individual videos into a single video
4) Provide the students with a way to respond to what they’ve learned – you can use the freebie below!
  Vocabulary Fun freebie
Here is a little freebie for you to use with this app. It includes 2 cover options – Vocabulary Fun, Spelling Fun. These can be glued onto the front of a spiral notebook. It also has a spinner. You can print this onto cardstock and glue to the inside cover of the notebook. Students can take a paperclip and pencil to use the spinner and select a response form for each word. You may need to specify some guidelines to make sure they are doing a mix of activities. Click on the picture to download the freebie.
I hope you enjoy using this app to help your students learn and appreciate new words!

Chalkboard Blocks from Target! DIY video

Chalkboard blocks for the classroom

Look at these cute chalkboard blocks that I found to use in the classroom! They were in the dollar spot ($3) at Target.

There are so many things that you can do with them. The first thing I thought of was just to write my teacher name for my desk — the kids are always asking me how to spell it! 🙂 I made a little video showing you a few ways that you an use them. Feel free to add more ideas in the comments.


Easy Leprechaun Floats for St. Patrick’s Day

Are you looking for an easy treat for St. Patrick’s Day? Make a leprechaun float! You just need a few ingredients.

Here are a few tips for you:

1) Fill the cup with sherbert. You might want to use shorter cups than the ones pictured.
2) It looks cute with decorative straws, but you’ll also want to serve them with spoons.
3) Enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!