poem by Diana Smith , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning Intention:


I am learning to analyse how similes and metaphors can enhance meaning so that I can use them in my own writing.


Success Criteria:

  • I can understand the difference between a simile and a metaphor
  • I can identify metaphors in a text and discuss the effect of this technique
  • I can create my own similes and metaphors



Essential knowledge:


The NSW Department of Education has provided an extensive set of activities about similes and metaphors, which is available as a PDF on the website.

The slides provided in the Week 4 Learning Pack: What is a metaphor? is a great introductory lesson.

Prior to reading the poem, ask students to complete Activity Sheet 2: Venn diagram (on page 5 of the PDF resource in the link above.)


Creating text:


On the board, compile a list of the native wildlife species students researched and spoke about in the activity inspired by the article ‘Think like a skink’ in this issue of Orbit.

Organise the class into small teams (5-6 students maximum) and prepare them to compete in a simile and metaphor contest. The rules of the contest are as follows:

  • Teams are to write a simile or metaphor for as many of the native wildlife species listed on the board as possible.
  • Teams will be given 15 minutes only to prepare as many similes or metaphors as they can.
  • Each team will be given a set of sticky notes (a different colour per team) and each simile or metaphor should be written on a different post it note.
  • Teams do not have to work through the list in order.
  • Teams may have more than one person working as a scribe. Teams may divide into sub-teams in order to cover more of the wildlife species.
  • When the timer finishes, all teams must put their pens down and similes and metaphors must be submitted.
  • The winning team is the team with the MOST similes and metaphors – but a quality control check must be completed to ensure that the similes or metaphors created make sense and are, by definition, considered to be similes or metaphors.

After the competition, organize students to stick each sticky note simile or metaphor on the board next to the name of the wildlife species so that the sticky notes are gathered together with their associated species. Some species may not have any sticky notes, those species may be removed from the list now.

Organise the class into pairs. Assign pairs one wildlife species from the board. Each pair collects the sticky notes associated with their wildlife species and uses these as a starting point to create their own poem based on that species.

Pairs can prepare a dramatic reading of their poem to share with the class.


Assessment for/as learning:


After students have shared their poems with the class, they form pairs and complete a peer assessment using the two stars and a wish scaffold for feedback.