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


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Related pages

  • Figurative language: Metaphor: This lesson is a part of a unit on poetry and figurative language. It is designed to teach students the characteristics of metaphor within the context of poetry.
  • Singing the "Song of Life": This lesson requires students to use their reading, comprehension, and analysis skills to analyze a poem and respond creatively to the selection.
  • Using extended similes to elaborate and add style: Students will analyze a series of extended similes, develop criteria for strong and weak extended similes, and begin using extended similes as a tool for elaboration in their own writing.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • define and identify similes.
  • evaluate the use of similes in the poem, “The Base Stealer” by Robert Francis.
  • create or find their own examples of similes.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes


Copies of the poem, “The Base Stealer” by Robert Francis

Technology resources

Overhead projector and transparencies


Review the concept of compare/contrast. Make a list of various objects focusing on similarities and differences (crayon/pencil, desk/table, etc.) Identify all of the similarities and stress that these are comparisons. Explain to students that they are going to be working with a special type of comparison: similes.


  1. Have the students define SIMILE (textbook definition). Place the definition on a transparency or the board stressing LIKE and AS.
  2. Underneath the definition write the format for a simile:
    __________ like _________
    ______ as ______ as _____
  3. Provide examples to fit the format:
    • “Life is like a box of chocolates…”
    • “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
    • “He was as happy as a clam.”
    • “She is as cool as a cucumber.”
  4. Provide a copy of “The Base Stealer” by Robert Francis.
  5. Have the students read the poem independently and circle the word LIKE every time they see it in the poem. When they have completed this task they are to place the phrases that contain the word LIKE into the model and decide if they are similes.
  6. Have the students create 5 to 10 of their own similes. Encourage students to look for similes in their reading and to continue to use this technique in their own writing!!


  • Check if they have found all of the similes in the poem.
  • Were they able to create examples of their own?

Supplemental information


Any poem that contains numerous similes can work just as well.

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

        • Grade 3
          • 3.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings. 3.L.5.1 Distinguish the literal and nonliteral meanings of words and phrases in context (e.g., take steps). 3.L.5.2 Identify real-life connections between...
        • Grade 4
          • 4.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 4.L.5.1 Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context. 4.L.5.2 Recognize and explain the meaning of common...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.04: Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction and support by referencing the text to determine the:
      • author's purpose.
      • plot.
      • conflict.
      • sequence.
      • resolution.
      • lesson and/or message.
      • main idea and supporting details.
      • cause and effect.
      • fact and opinion.
      • point of view (author and character).
      • author's use of figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor, imagery).