Similes, Metaphors, and Seuss

By Brent Vasicek on December 15, 2010
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5


Dr. Seuss is a god [metaphor] when it comes to using metaphors to address complicated adults issues in fun, childlike rhymes. He is like an artist with an unending palette of colors [simile].

I often turn to Dr. Seuss to spice up my lessons on similes and metaphors. Below is a holiday lesson that is especially designed for those with an intelligence for music.


So, it is the last few days before the holiday break. You want to keep the educational ball rolling, but you are finding it hard to compete with the sugar plums dancing in your students' heads. Here is a holiday-themed lesson for teaching your students about figurative language, specifically, similes and metaphors.Grinch

Social Studies

I start off the day by reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas! As a class we talk about what truly makes people happy. We discuss what it means to be materialistic and sprinkle in one of our core democratic values: "the common good." 


I then pass out the lyrics to the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." We listen to the song and discuss how the lyrics compare Mr. Grinch to many things. I emphasize that we now have a pretty good picture of the Grinch in our minds because of the way the lyrics were written. I lead the students toward noticing the number of times we see the words like or as. I explain the difference between a simile and a metaphor. We listen to the song again, highlighting similes and metaphors that appear in the lyrics.


Finally, I have the students write a letter in advice column style. The students first write with a problem as one of the Whos. Then the students switch roles and write some advice back.

What are some ways you teach metaphors in your classroom?

Happy holidays,




Ha, I love the little [metaphor] and [simile]

Great use of Owl Moon! Thanks for sharing. You know students really start to own the concept of similes and metaphors when examples start appearing in their writing. Thanks for the suggestion! Brent

Great idea! I love that you incorporated music since I am musically inclined myself. :) I am definitely going to try to add this in for next week! I like to use Owl Moon to teach similes and metaphors. In a nutshell, when we read the book, we go through and discuss similes and metaphors that we find throughout the story such as "The train whistle blew,long and low like a sad, sad song." We discuss how that would sound and how that differs from the normal sound we associate with trains... a jubilant "Toot! Toot!" We then talk about the sensory language that Jane Yolen weaves throughout the text and how the similes enrich it even further. Students choose a simile or metaphor to create a pictoral representation. We tie in visualization and mental pictures to show how these artful comparisons help us to watch the movie in our minds as we interact with the text. A class favorite that tends to show up year after year is a picture of the clearing "as white as the milk in a cereal bowl". So fun! Keep up the stellar work Brent! I enjoy reading your posts!

Nice post.

Thanks for sharing :)

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