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

Guest blogging & sending wishes

I’m typing this by a window that looks out at the ocean – the best office ever! We took a quick get-away to the beach. I seriously think I may have to move near the ocean someday. It takes us about 6 hours to get to the beach from our house. This was an extra busy and difficult school year and there were many days that we’d think about going to the beach. That was a way to get through a few days that weren’t so good. Now, here we are resting and relaxing! The picture is of our 2 boys being silly in the waves.

My worse days are absolutely nothing compared to the trials of so many others. I just found out that Blue Bunny (the ice cream company) will donate $1 to Make-a-Wish for every greeting card that you create at their site. You just choose (or create) a card and type a message. There isn’t a sign-in or anything. You could easily do it in 1-2 minutes.Just go to Blue Bunny to create your card, brighten someone’s day and help wishes come true!


My friend, Andrea, at Reading Toward the Stars invited me to be a guest blogger for her. It was fun writing a post for another blog! I shared about teaching writing. It includes a link to one of my favorite resources (that you can read online for FREE!), links to a few of my writing freebies, a cute story written by one of my 1st graders and some tips for teaching writing. Stop by Reading Toward the Stars to find out more!
I have so many great things planned for you this summer – blog hops, freebies, giveaways and all kinds of exciting stuff! I’ll be posting about one in just a few more days. Enjoy your week!