Poetry is filled with comparisons: "My love is like a red, red rose" or "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Discovering what two things have in common is a great way to expand your students'poetic sensibilities and develop their critical thinking skills. And with this fun activity you might also learn something new about the children in your midst!
- Begin by telling students that you are going to ask them 10 questions, and that they should write down the first idea that comes into their heads — no matter how silly — in their journal. Each of the questions asks them to compare themselves to something else.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
What kind of weather are you?
What car are you?
What body of water are you?
What time of day are you?
What object in the kitchen are you like?
What kind of food are you?
What holiday are you?
What thing in this classroom are you?
What animal are you? (If you see students writing "human," encourage them to be more playful.)
- When they're finished, go around the room and have students share a few of their answers with the class.
- Now have students pick one of their comparisons that they particularly like, expand on it, and explain the comparison in writing. Tell them to have fun! "I am a thunderstorm today. Dark clouds hanging low over the mountain, rain about to fall, rumblings in the distance. Watch out!" Have them write as much as they can for as long as they can.
- Have students share their comparisons! You will probably notice that they sound like poems. Instruct them to write them to look like poems. (Later you may want to talk about line breaks, white space, or even free verse, but young children often have great instincts without too much instruction up front.)
- Finally, talk together about comparisons in poetry. You may want to identify them now as similes and metaphors. Then look through some poetry books together and find some comparisons you think are particularly surprising or exciting! Have fun writing more comparisons together!