K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • identify and analyze the following literary devices: alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification, imagery, speaker, tone, mood, and theme.
  • define, identify, understand, and write an extended metaphor.
  • incorporate the following literary devices in an original extended metaphor poem: alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification, and imagery.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

90 minutes


  • Handout of literary term definitions
  • Copies of the poem “Identity” by Julio Noboa Polanco
  • Copies of the literary analysis/device questions for the small groups
  • Language and picture dictionaries for limited English students
  • Highlighters for limited English students


Students should have prior knowledge and understanding of the following poetry and literary devices: alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification, imagery, speaker, tone, mood, and theme.

The teacher will review the above mentioned terms with the students’ and supply students with a literary term glossary handout they have created. This handout should contain both definitions and examples of each literary device. See this Glossary of Poetic Terms.


  1. The teacher will supply a copy of the poem “Identity” by Julio Noboa Polanco. The teacher will read this poem aloud to the students and then have them read it again silently to themselves.
  2. The teacher will explain that this poem is an extended metaphor and refer to the definition and example written on the board. The term should also be located on the literary term glossary handout.
  3. Students will be placed in small groups of three or four. They will be asked to answer some analysis questions pertaining to the poem. They will also be asked to identify and provide specific examples from the poem of the following literary devices: alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification, and imagery.
  4. The limited English students can use highlighters to identify literary devices in the poem. They could highlight and label each literary device on their copy of the poem. This could be done instead of answering the analysis questions.
  5. The class will then discuss their findings. Each group will be responsible for answering and sharing at least one analysis question or providing at least one literary device example from the poem. Students will turn in their responses after the discussion.
  6. Each individual student will be responsible for creating an original extended metaphor poem. Each student must choose one object, concept, idea, emotion, etc. that is representative of his/her personality or character. He or she must describe him/herself as this concept throughout the entire poem, thus creating the extended metaphor. Students must also include various literary devices, which are listed in the rubric.
  7. Limited English students may work with a partner on this assignment or the teacher may work one on one with the student. A word bank will be created for the Limited English student to use. The limited English students poem will be a modified poem.
  8. Students will begin working on this assignment during class. They will finish it for homework. Limited English students may need extra time to complete the assignment. A peer tutor may be assigned to work with the student.


  • The teacher will monitor as students complete the small group literary analysis/device questions about the poem.
  • The teacher will assess students’ understanding of these concepts during the oral discussion of these questions.
  • The teacher will assess each individual’s understanding of these concepts when the responses are collected after the discussion.
  • The original extended metaphor poem will prove to be a valid assessment of each individual’s understanding of the literary devices/concepts presented in this lesson.
  • This Rubric will help guide your assessment.

Supplemental information


Modifications for ELLs:

  • Work with a partner or in a small group.
  • Modified literary analysis/device questions.
  • Modified poem with fewer lines.
  • Supply a word bank for creating the poem.
  • Use bilingual dictionary or picture dictionary.
  • Use highlighters to identify literary devices in the poem.

Alternative assessments

Modify literary analysis/device questions by highlighting the questions that limited English students are expected to answer. For example, a novice low student they would only answer question #1.

Give the student a copy of the poem“Identity” and have him highlight literary in the poem and label each.

Critical vocabulary

extended metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor, personification, imagery, speaker, tone, mood, theme


This lesson is designed for a class on block scheduling. Each class is 90 minutes. The lesson can be modified for a traditional setting as well.

The length of this lesson could also be extended depending on the rate of the class discussion and the allotment of class time given to create the original poem.

The modifications in this lesson can also be used for intermediate level English Language Learners (ELLs).

This lesson plan was developed during the English Language Development Standard Course of Study lesson planning institutes hosted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and LEARN NC, June and July, 2004. It includes specific strategies, instructional modifications, and alternative assessments which make this lesson accessible to limited English proficient students. Please note that this lesson has been aligned with the goals and objectives of the N.C. English Language Development standards.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 9-10.L.5.1 Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text. 9-10.L.5.2 Analyze nuances in the...
        • Reading: Literature

          • 9-10.RL.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 10

  • Goal 4: The learner will critically interpret and evaluate experiences, literature, language, and ideas.
    • Objective 4.02: Analyze thematic connections among literary works by:
      • showing an understanding of cultural context.
      • using specific references from texts to show how a theme is universal.
      • examining how elements such as irony and symbolism impact theme.
  • Goal 5: The learner will demonstrate understanding of selected world literature through interpretation and analysis.
    • Objective 5.01: Read and analyze selected works of world literature by:
      • using effective strategies for preparation, engagement, and reflection.
      • building on prior knowledge of the characteristics of literary genres, including fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry, and exploring how those characteristics apply to literature of world cultures.
      • analyzing literary devices such as allusion, symbolism, figurative language, flashback, dramatic irony, situational irony, and imagery and explaining their effect on the work of world literature.
      • analyzing the importance of tone and mood.
      • analyzing archetypal characters, themes, and settings in world literature.
      • making comparisons and connections between historical and contemporary issues.
      • understanding the importance of cultural and historical impact on literary texts.

English Language Development (2005)

Grade 9–12

  • Goal 0:
    • Objective 0.05: Write with guidance following a model on personal and familiar topics.
    • Objective 0.09: Engage in basic one-to-one conversations.
    • Objective 0.11: Respond to simple questions on academic and non-academic topics through non-verbal responses.
    • Objective 0.11: Use prior knowledge to facilitate comprehension.
    • Objective 0.12: Recognize some academic language conventions across the content areas when spoken slowly with modeling and prompting.