My students complete a poetry unit prior to Valentine’s Day, and I incorporate some winter themes with simile poems. The students receive a little envelope of words related to winter or winter events such as MLK Jr. Day, President’s Day, or Valentine’s Day. The students sort the words from the envelope into a hierarchy of most important to least important. The word sort is based on their opinion, so there is no one right or wrong answer. Using the most important words, students create similes. Then, kids write their similes on a paint chip to create a poem.
Simile Poems Dos and Don’ts
- There are lots of variations you could try. Students could work with a partner or in small groups to sort the words. This encourages discussion about how the words relate to the topic. Specifically with the MLK Jr. and President’s Day words, students can generate ideas about the meaning of leadership, equality, integrity, and other character-related topics.
- Rather than sorting the words into a list from most important to least important, have students group words they feel are related. Students can use a pair or trio of words in their similes.
- Ask students to brainstorm additional words that could be added to the word group. This is a great vocabulary building exercise. You could also ask students to make an opposite list. Not only are students working with synonyms and antonyms, students are also getting practice with compare and contrast.
- Do encourage students to find definitions for unfamiliar words. Sometimes, my students will move unknown words to the bottom of their sort list simply because they do not know what the word means.
- Review how to write a simile prior to starting the activity. If you have not taught similes in your class yet, students can simply write a sentence using the key word. Poetry is all about having fun with words, so the activity works even if you are not writing similes. In fact, you could have students create metaphors, phrases with alliteration, or personification too!
- Need help locating paint chips? I get mine at Lowe’s or Home Depot.