Kindergarde Lesson Plan
Dana Teen Lomax
Art Form: Creative Writing
Grade Levels: K-8
Class Objective: To encourage students to explore their feelings and use similes and metaphors in their creative work.
Phase 1: Exploring Your Feelings
To begin this lesson, we explore “feeling” opposites. Students are asked to think of as many feelings as they can and together we find the opposite feelings. For example, if we write “Happy” on the board, “Sad” would be the opposite feeling.
With a little discussion, the list grows to something like this:
and so on…
These discussions are very interesting and can lead to nuanced discernments about how children feel and what these feelings mean. For example, in a class recently we asked and considered the following questions: “Is Brave really the opposite of Scared? Don’t these feelings really go hand in hand? Who has felt scared and then been brave?”
Phase 2: The Poet’s Toolbox (Simile and Metaphor)
Students read Rodrigo Toscano’s “Feelings.” Whenever possible, we read poetry at least twice. The first time, “to meet the poem” and the second time, “to get to know it even better.”
After reading the poem, we talk about what images stood out for the students. Often, “icky feelings grown ups fighting” and “in good feelings toy store” get children’s attention as do the lines “good feelings fountain/in icky feelings mall.”
Students discuss what makes some of the images icky and what makes some of the images good.
This is a great point to discuss simile and metaphor.
Simile: a comparison that uses like or as.
Metaphor: a comparison that turns one thing in to another (usually with the help of some for of the verb “to be”).
To reinforce the idea of simile and metaphor, we play a game. Is this a simile or a metaphor?
Her eyes sparkle like diamonds. (simile)
Follow-up question: what 2 things are being compared here? This is a good question to ask so that the idea of the comparison is being reinforced. (I like ice cream is not a simile because it is not a comparison.)
It is as cold as an icebox outside. (simile)
He is a like a racecar on the track! (simile)
His eyes are shiny diamonds. (metaphor)
It’s an icebox outside today. (metaphor)
She is a racecar on the track. (metaphor)
Once students get the idea of the difference between the two, they can begin writing their own metaphors using Toscano’s poem as a guide.
Phase 3: The Writing Exercise
To begin their writing, we write a class poem together. We choose one pair of opposite feelings and work through them together. For example,
a big surprise party
crying because I can’t open the presents yet
winning a goldfish at the fair
the goldfish dying too soon
grandma’s house on the weekend
Students can think of their favorite things at school, favorite foods, things they like to do at home, things their parents do for them; the possibilities are endless!
Then students are asked to write their own feelings poems, making sure that they include lots of juicy details that help us see what they mean to say.
Below is a piece written from this exercise using Toscano’s poem “Feelings.”
This poem was written by a 2nd grader in the San Francisco Unified School District:
The Barber Shaved My Hair Off!
I kicked a good kick!
My teacher caught it.
I had a dream that I was in Candyland!
The fairy put me in candy jail.
A homeless person got a house!
He couldn’t pay rent.
We’re having chili for dinner!
It was only for guests.
Ms. Dana read us a poem!
I was not listening.
I got a new haircut!
The barber shaved too much hair off.
We got free choice time!
I had to finish my homework instead.
I got new shoes!
They were the wrong size.
I got the record on the video game!
Someone beat it.