Metaphor, Simile, Alliteration, Hyperbole, Imagery, Onomatopoeia, Symbol, Repetition, Allusion, Personification… These are the ten key literary / poetic devices that students will use in their own writing, and explore in the works of others.
This slide deck builds from the existing Literary Devices page, presenting the information in a more fully realized, classroom-ready format.
By teaching your students how to identify and use poetic devices, and and supporting them with textual examples, as well as multimedia examples (music videos!) your students will gain a powerful understanding of these tools, as they look to move forward in both their personal analysis and expression.
English Course Pack: Unit Two – Poetry
This assignment is part of the The Full English Course Park. This piece is part of Unit Two: Poetry, which focuses on engaging with literary / poetic devices, reading and appreciating poetry, writing poetry, and creating a unique artifact filled with personal expressions.
If you would like to say thanks, consider buying me a coffee. But that is neither required, nor expected.
2.01 – Literary / Poetic Devices: Slide Deck
Step One: Jumping Right In
I both understand, and appreciate a good three-part lesson plan. But, for this lesson, I like to approach students with a cold-opening that jumps right into the lesson. It gets things off and running at breakneck speed, and sets me up with the high level of energy required to fully encapsulate the wonder of this lesson.
Yes, this slide deck is one of the most adrenaline pumping, high energy lessons I run. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be for you. And, if you want to start off with a Mind’s On activity, here are some suggestions:
- Show a picture of a metaphorical symbol on the board – ask students to explain what the symbol is communicating. This will let you briefly scaffold metaphor and symbolism prior to beginning
- Provide a list of the ten devices, and ask students to fill out a chart defining them. This will allow you to honour prior knowledge, while gauging the background knowledge in your class.
- Provide students with a list of examples, and a list of devices. Ask them to draw lines, matching them up.
- Show a picture that involves some form of onomatope and/or alliteration – briefly explain those terms, then ask them to create written examples from the images.
Once you’re comfortable, and confident, it’s time to begin.
Step Two: Slide Number Four
Slide four is a very important one to me. It’s the brief calm before the storm. That’s a metaphor. That will be required knowledge soon.
As you go through the list of ten, provide students with an opportunity to create their own graphic organizer, copying down the ten devices, and creating a space to write the definitions – as you make your way through the slide deck.
You could provide them with a graphic organizer if you want. But, I like to encourage students to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, as it helps build memory. While I try to focus on skills-based material, rather than memorization, using this toolset requires learning what tools exist within the box.
Step Three: Understanding the Slide-Pairs
Each of the ten devices is explored through a pair of slides. Each pair of slides is identical – and the way the lines transition remains the same from device to device. There are animations that support the chunked delivery of information in this deck.
The animations on each part of slides work in the following way:
Slide One of Two
- The name of the device appears on the screen
- An image representing the device, as well as a textual example of the device appear
- A definition of the device appears
Slide Two of Two
- A YouTube icon appears
- An explanation Text appears
Step Four: Bringing Your Own Style
Now is the time to get your students excited about poetic devices. How does one do that? Through song and dance, of course.
What follows is how I move through this slide deck. How you move through it is completely up to you. Never assume that the way on teacher suggests something should be accomplished is the only way that something can be accomplished.
Our students connect to their learning when they connect to their teacher, and they connect to their teacher when their teacher seems real.
Slide One of Two
- I begin by simply asking students to copy down the name of the device, or find the name of their device on the graphic organizer.
- I ask students to take a look at the example for the device, and copy it down on their graphic organizer. I omit this step for Imagery and you will see why, when you see that slide. I then ask students to consider why I paired the image with the example.
Here is where I pause, and let students explain to me what the device is, and how the device is being used. You could do this after the name is shown, but by allowing an example, I find that it creates a level of comfort that students connect with, and allows them more time to build up their confidence to speak.
Once you set a tone with the first device, they will be able to prepare for speaking as you move forward.
- I show the defintion, and hold a brief discussion connecting the student-based discussion to my definition. We learn together, and try to find common ground and understanding.
Slide Two of Two
- When the YouTube icon appears, I click it. I get that song playing. Maybe not too loud – or maybe really loud. Sometimes I play them quietly, and other times I play them loudly.
I use this as an opportunity for students to get to know me, based on the music that I play. Some of it represents my tastes, others represent the only song I could find that connected to the device. But students draw their own opinions, and it opens up future informal discussions for community building.
I ask students to identify the device within the song; they start shouting out the examples as soon as they hear them, before prompting as we move through the deck.
And, if nothing else, it fills the silence during the next step.
- A full explanation is displayed on the screen. I ask students to copy it down, or just summarize it. I provide an oral example of how the information might be summarized. And then, they have time to copy.
Copying time can be very distressing for a teacher at the front of the class. But, wait, you see whatès happening here: You have a soundtrack!
This is where you dance at the front of the class, or the back of the class, or circulate while dancing to ensure students know what they should be working on.
The point is – you’re dancing.
It could be as simple as bobbing your head, or it could call upon all your knowledge.
In one lesson about poetic devices, you have humanized yourself, and provided the foundation for strong connections moving forward.
Step Five: Preparing for Dancing
Obviously, you need to know what songs you will be dancing to, right? Here’s the list I included to prepare. As of September 15, 2022, all links are working.
- Metaphor: The Commodores – Brick House
- Simile: Madonna – Like a Prayer
- Alliteration: Blackalicious – Alphabet Aerobics
- Hyperbole: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Walk Through the Fire
- Imagery: Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
- Onomatopoeia: Kid’s Music – Old McDonald
- Symbol: The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black
- Repetition: Daft Punk – Around the World
- Allusion: Five for Fighting – Superman
- Personification: Frank Sinatra – New York, New York
There is a depth to this list, covering a number of genres. If you are looking to replace songs with your own choices (you absolutely should!) try to keep the genres mixed, to ensure everyone has something to connect with.
I sing along to Alphabet Aerobics. It’s one of my favourites.
A little break to discuss Buffy the Vampire slayer happens, as I rock out to the show tunes. Exagerated emotions really pull this one together. And, at this point, students are no longer shocked by any dancing. They hardly even notice. Heck, only one or two are still recording for their social media forums that mock us, as educators.
Stairway as a long lead-in – maybe skip to halfway in? Or enjoy the wonder of that song. It’s a classic for a reason. It also acts as a little breather.
Kids love Old McDonald. They’ll pretend they don’t. That’s fine. But if you sing along, they likely will join in, too.
Step Six: If You Really Want That Three-Part Lesson Plan
A good way to consolidate this learning is to have students draw one of the literary devices, or encourage them to create a scene that includes two or three, or more, literary devices. Perhaps they could draw a crafty, cawing, crow that also represents freedom?
Students love to draw.
This can even become an evaluation opportuinty – or, you may find yourself turning this one slidedeck into a mini-unit all of its own, where you explore devices through different means:
- Visual art
How you use the materials is limited only by your own creativity!
Students now know the top ten poetic devices, or literary devices, depending on what you want to refer to them as.
Students now know you. Or at least a part of you. A version of you that you play in the classroom.
Students have listened to some good music.
You have listened to some good music.
You got to dance. You got your heart rate up. You got your steps in.
Everyone had fun.
You’re now prepared to delve into poetry, knowing that there is a solid foundation of understanding, shared by all students.
English – Unit Two: Poetry
2.07 – Creating a Poetry Chapbook (English Lesson)
Honouring the creative process by leading students to create an artifact they can keep with them for years to come is a perfect way to…
2.06 – A Poem Only You can Write (English Lesson)
Writing poetry is a personal experience. Each author approaches a subject through their own lens. Even when trying to craft a narrative from an alternate…
2.05 – Exploring a Poem you Enjoy (English Lesson)
Focusing on self-selected poems, allow students the opportunity to search for a poem that speaks to them. More importantly, it provides them with multiple tools…
2.04 – Analyzing Poetry: Looking at Four Poems (English Lesson)
This lesson moves students from writing poetry, to looking at – and analyzing – poetry. Some teachers start with reading poetry, and then shift to…
2.03 – Introducing Types of Poems: Slide Deck (English Lesson)
There are so many types of poetry. This slide deck, created by Katherine Pearce, introduces students to a number of different types: By introducing students…
2.02 – Writing a Where I’m From Poem (English Lesson)
Where I’m From poetry is a type of poem that anyone can write, feel confident about, and present with authority. Where I’m from poetry are…
English Course Packs: Full Units
Unit One: Literacy Skills
Unit Two: Poetry
Unit Three: Literature Circles (In Progress)
Unit Four: Creative Writing & Choose Our Way Tales (In Progress)
Unit Five: Essay Writing (In Progress)
Unit Six: Culminating Tasks (In Progress)
Michael Barltrop has been teaching since 2006, integrating comics, video games, and TTRPGs into his classroom. He has been the head of English, Literacy, Special Education, and Assessment & Evaluation and Universal Design. Feel free to reach out through Twitter @MrBarltrop!
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