Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Study: Similes, Metaphors, and Classroom Community

Hi, Teaching Friends!

This week's topic for the Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites book study is "Metaphors, Analogies, and Similes".

A metaphor is a great way to give your students a word picture that will deepen their understanding. Even before you formally teach the words metaphor or simile, I'll bet you use them in your classroom. Do you teach your students the Goldilocks Strategy for choosing books?  That's a metaphor! By working from something they already know (too hard, too easy, just right), you're giving your students a memorable, useful tool that they can pull up and use a whole lot faster than most other ways you can teach book selection.

{If you don't know about the Goldilocks Strategy, check out this great article!}

I had an "accidental metaphor" that developed after we read Kevin Henke's Lily's Purple Plastic Purse.  In the story, Lily brings a purple plastic purse to school for show-and-tell, but is so excited about it that she just can't keep her hands off it, or stop shaking it to hear the coins jangle inside it.
Have you ever had a student like that? Pretty much every K-1, right? :)

Shortly after we read it one year, somebody had her hands in her desk fooling with something brought from home. The student next to her said, "Is that your purple plastic purse you've got in there?"

Now, that cutie knew how to use a metaphor! That phrase quickly became part of our classroom culture, a quick way to address a distracting behavior in a low-key way.

This teacher's no fool ... I know a useful metaphor when I hear one, so every year after that I'd casually introduce it as needed after we read Lily's story. I also came across a cute purple change purse at a garage sale. After a while, I could just point to the purse (sometimes even just look at it!) to redirect the behavior without disrupting the flow of instruction.

So, that's got to be my favorite classroom metaphor.

What's yours?

You can visit the linky party at by The First Grade Parade  to read what this chapter's host Cara Carroll has to share, and then follow the links to read what other blogger's are saying about similes, analogies, and metaphors.


Happy Teaching!

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