Saturday, February 11, 2012

Figurative Language

Figurative language can sometimes be very hard to teach. In the past I've spent a week on similes with all sorts of fun games and smart board activities. I'd think, "I did a great job of teaching this! It was fun and engaging. They seem to have it!". But I came to see that the retention just wasn't there. They would have the understanding that week, but a couple weeks later it was gone.

This year I've taken a different approach. I introduced similes, metaphors, hyperbole, etc over two weeks. But this time, the instruction didn't stop. We are continuously playing "I Spy" as we go though our day. We keep an eye out for the figurative language we've learned in all we do: read-aloud, independent reading, shared reading. Any time we find one, we stop to write it on a sticky to add to the wall.

Kids are comfortable shouting out "hyperbole" as I'm reading aloud because they know I celebrate their understanding of figurative language. I have found this approach to be so much more meaningful than covering it one week, out of context, and in isolation.

What's even better, they have a deeper understanding of what the figurative language means because they are hearing and studying them in context, in the books that are meaningful to them! My most recent standardized tests prove that their ability to construct meaning from the figurative language is the most beneficial aspect of this approach. Almost all of my students passed the standard.  AND students are using these in their writing!  That is the ultimate proof!

I still have some students mix up the names of each. I think I'll throw in a minilesson on it again next week. I'm a teacher, yes, but I actually do more re-teaching on a daily basis. So signing off for now,

The Re-Teacher

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