I was teaching similes and metaphors to my fifth graders this morning. It was a rather difficult concept for them to grasp because of vocabulary and overall language issues. But I tried my darndest. I had a wonderful PowerPoint presentation complete with response cards that the students held up to identify which sentence was a simile, and which was a metaphor.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself and my kick-butt lesson.
And then we got to the end. The last slide said to get with a partner and come up with as many metaphors and similes about chocolate as they could. When the timer beeped, I checked their papers and it was pretty disastrous.
Exhibit A: "The chocolate is melty as a cow"
Exhibit B: "The chocolate is so good I like it and I also like chips and cookies and pizza and hamburgers...."
You see what I was dealing with here. I overestimated their readiness for this kind of activity.
So I quickly backtracked and explained in detail how to create a similes and metaphors. First, we made a list that described chocolate. We came up with: yummy, hard, brown, smooth, melty. Then we took the words one by one and thought of something else that was also smooth (for example) that we could compare it to. Then we made a simile: "This chocolate is as smooth as a feather".
Then we got to "brown".
"Okay", I told my kiddos, "think of something brown". All of my students looked around the room. Then I said: "Okay, now let's fill in the blank: 'This chocolate is as brown as....."
Then my whitest kid turns to my blackest kid and (very innocently and triumphantly) points at him and says "YOU!"