Tag Archives: figurative language

Managing the Differentiation of IXL Assignments in My Classroom

I’ve tried several ways to assign IXL so that the assignments are appropriate and differentiated.

(If I were using IXL for math, I could have students use the Recommended Lessons on the Math Diagnostic, but that isn’t an option for Language Arts.)

I’ve found a good way to assign a series of lessons on a given topic that will meet the needs of my students who range from Beginning Reader to Lexiles in the 1100s.

These tiny IXL tickets get stapled into the student’s agenda books so they have the sequence of lessons with them at all times.  Students mark off each lesson they complete, and then I meet with them near the due date (typically two weeks) to check their progress and award stickers for their iPhones.


Below are the PDF versions of the IXL Tickets I’ve used in class most recently. I plan on going back and tweaking some from earlier in the year.

When you take a look at these files, you will see they cover different grade levels and sequences depending on the skills.

Students have the option of working horizontally or vertically on some tickets, finding just the right place for them. As always, I encourage them to “Level Up!” when they can.

IXL Ticket Author’s Tone and Purpose

IXL Ticket Sensory Details

IXL Ticket Word Relationships

IXL Ticket Sentence Structure

IXL Ticket Figurative Language

IXL Ticket Organizing Writing

IXL Ticket Compare and Contrast Text 6-8

IXL Ticket Compare and Contrast 3-5

IXL Ticket Theme

IXL Ticket Author’s Purpose 3-5

A Padlet of Videos for the Classroom

I finally found a way to organize all of the video clips I like to use on a regular basis in class.  I come back to these videos often, and I also wanted something I could post on Schoology for my students to use as a resource.

Now I can easily add to this Padlet anytime I find a new video, and I can share it with other teachers (and you) as well!

Click HERE for the link. (This is just a screen shot.)

Screenshot 2016-01-13 at 8.44.59 PM.png

Mini Unit: Go, Fight, Win!

As the year begins, one of my co-workers has been assigned a “Plus” class, where she will provide reading instruction to a small group of students who will benefit from an additional period of language arts.

She came to ask me for some ideas, and together we figured out a good starting point.

I figured as we developed the lessons, I could share them here as Mini-Units.

The resource I gave her was from Achieve the Core. (Click here to go to the Fluency Packet for the 6th-8th Grade Band.) The passages are going to be used to work on fluency, but also as a springboard/mentor text for the week’s plans.

We are starting with the first text selection which is a speech by Muhammad Ali called I am Still the Greatest. For an audio, click here.

This is a good starting point for the year because it sends a great message about not giving up.

We liked the Achieve the Core resources because each of the passages comes with  a few extended response questions and some vocabulary to teach, as well.

I then showed her this video, which I was already planning to use on the 2nd day of school.

I just love Mr. Humphrey’s energy, delivery, and message.

At the end of the video he says, “That is what defines who.. .you… are.”

…A perfect lead-in to some positive self-affirmations (an idea I stole from my blogger friend, Miss AuburnChick) and our bulletin board entitled “I Am…” where students will post their affirmations.

Finally, we talked about adding some current music, and I immediately thought of “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and all of the figurative language. Plus it’s just a great song.

Other ideas:

  • Speaking and Listening: Performance Fridays
  • Possible Research Topics: Muhammad Ali, Olympics, Parkinson’s Disease
  • Language skills are hidden throughout the passage for use with mentor sentences
  • Text-to-Media connections

As we come up with more ideas, I’ll add them here.  As always, if you have a great idea to add, share it in the comments!! 

Teaching Figurative Language in 2015

As I drive MJ and Ian around town, or drive the four blocks to work, I always have the radio on. The Language Arts teacher in me hears the figurative language, and if the kids are in the car…I have to shout it out.

I will admit, it is incredibly hard finding lyrics that are school appropriate.  I get nervous every time a student asks me to play a song.

So, nothing fancy, but what I did for you is pull a stanza or so from a dozen songs and posted them here. This could easily be copied into a worksheet, or you could post it on the board for students to identify the figurative language.

Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony

If you could take my pulse right now
It would feel just like a sledgehammer
If you could feel my heart beat now
It would hit you like a sledgehammer

Blank Space by Taylor Swift

New money, suit and tie
I can read you like a magazine
Ain’t it funny rumors fly
And I know you heard about me
So hey, let’s be friends
I’m dying to see how this one ends

Dark Horse by Katy Perry

So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know what you’re falling for
Baby do you dare to do this?
Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse
Are you ready for, ready for
A perfect storm, perfect storm
Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine
There’s no going back

Charli XCX – Boom Clap

No silver or no gold
Could dress me up so good
You’re the glitter in the darkness of my world
Just tell me what to do
I’ll fall right into you
Going under cast a spell just say the word
I feel your love

Ariana Grande – Break Free

I only wanna die alive
Never by the hands of a broken heart
Don’t wanna hear you lie tonight
Now that I’ve become who I really are

Magic! – Rude

Saturday morning jumped out of bed and put on my best suit
Got in my car and raced like a jet, all the way to you
Knocked on your door with heart in my hand
To ask you a question
‘Cause I know that you’re an old fashioned man yeah yeah

Clean Bandit – Rather Be

We’re a thousand miles from comfort, we have traveled land and sea
But as long as you are with me, there’s no place I’d rather be
I would wait forever, exalted in the scene
As long as I am with you, my heart continues to beat

One Direction – Steal My Girl

I don’t exist
If I don’t have her
The sun doesn’t shine,
The world doesn’t turn,
Alright (alright)

But I know, I know, I know for sure

Everybody wanna steal my girl
Everybody wanna take her heart away
Couple billion in the whole wide world
Find another one ’cause she belongs to me

One Republic – I Lived

Hope when you take that jump
You don’t fear the fall
Hope when the water rises
You build a wall

Hope when the crowd screams out
They’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs
You choose to stay

Hope that you fall in love
And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know
Is give it all you have

And I hope that you don’t suffer
But take the pain
Hope when the moment comes
You’ll say…

Taylor Swift – Out of Style

Cause You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye
And I got that red lip classic thing that you like
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time.
Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style

Vance Joy – Riptide

I was scared of dentists and the dark
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Oh, all my friends are turning green
You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams

Oh, and they come unstuck

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat because
You’re gonna sing the words wrong

American Authors – Best Day of My Life

I had a dream so big and loud
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh, wo-o-o-o-o-oh
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh, wo-o-o-o-o-oh

MKTO – Classic

Ooh girl you’re shining
Like a 5th avenue diamond
And they don’t make you like they used to
You’re never going out of style

Related Posts:
Teaching Figurative Language in 2014
Figurative Language in Pop Songs
Teaching Figurative Language with Media

Last Minute Language Arts Cram Session

A few weeks ago I learned about ThingLink, which is destined to become my new favorite thing.

With our Spring Break trip and adjusting to Ian’s new life on an insulin pump, I haven’t had much time to work with it.

But finally, the last few days I’ve been creating a review ThingLink for our 7th grade Language Arts students. I’ve connected it to many of my own Prezis and found some other resources as well. Every little icon you see will take you somewhere new!

Language Arts Review – Are you ready?


This image isn't live. You'll have to click the link above to discover all the goodies hidden behind the icons.

This image isn’t live. You’ll have to click the link above to discover all the goodies hidden behind the icons.

Nerdy Saturday Pick-Me-Up

I was kind of dragging after lunch time considering my early start to the day.

See this post here….Dreaming on a Saturday Morning

So I decided to go to my classroom and do a little cleaning. I ended up making this 6 x 6 ft. poster with figurative language examples from our current novel.

It’s amazing how a little creating can make you feel.


Teaching Figurative Language in 2014

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for some updated figurative language song lyrics. Katy Perry’s “Firework” has run its course.

Here are 13 popular (school appropriate) song lyrics from the past few months full of figurative language examples.  Figurative Language-2014 Songs (PDF)


Just one sample – The song Dee can’t stop singing, and a song that is so appropriate for this winter!

There are thousands of ways to use these lyrics (Ok…that may be a hyperbole.)

Some possible ideas:

1) Blow up and hang around the room as stations for students to visit.

2) Use one song a day for a bell-ringer activity.

3) Post one song on Schoology each night as a discussion.  Only after students reply with their findings, they can view other students’ posts.

4) Create QR-codes to link to videos with song lyrics.  (I will post a few of these here.  I started creating this QR-code activity and realized that our filter or wi-fi or some other technology demon prohibits us from accessing the videos. Maybe you will have better luck .)

Roar QR code

Here is a sample of the QR-code activity. The PDFs are below.

PDF files:

If you have any other song suggestions or activities, I’d love to hear them! Share in the comments.

Simile Search

So here is something I accidentally stumbled upon with the iPads and iBooks.

As I was reading through our novel for class, looking for examples of figurative language, I used the search tool and typed in “like.”

And a list popped up…of every use of the word “like” in the novel. Wow. That was easy.

I was going to make a worksheet with these examples, but decided to go a different route.

I had the students work in pairs. They typed in the word “like” and did their own search, clicking on each example to read and determine if it was a simile.


The first page of hits when you type in “like.” It’s easy for us to pull out the similes just from these small excerpts, but a little challenging for my class.

When I realized that they were struggling with the various uses of “like” and this was too broad, I had to adjust my plans.

Instead, I had them search for a particular word. For example, I had them type in “spaghetti,” read the surrounding text, and explain the simile to me. Instead of identifying, we were observing, noticing, imagining, and connecting with great examples of figurative language.


We spent some time recording the best similes, acting them out, and talking about the images they created in our minds.  For homework, they had 6 mentor sentences to imitate – all of which had similes.

The first example we did in class.


The students simply changed it to:

My arms and legs get all tight and lash out like tree limbs

in a hurricane. 

Not a huge variation from the original, but they were headed in the right direction.

This activity opens the door to hundreds of fresh, new examples of figurative language.  Let’s face it, every teacher uses this worksheet on similes and metaphors. You know the worksheet I’m talking about. The first example reads:

“The baby was like an octopus, grabbing at all the cans on the grocery
store shelves.”

It pops up on the first page in a Google search.  The copyright is 2002, with a revision in 2004.   Kids have probably seen this worksheet more than a few times in their life.

And even if they haven’t, these sentences are pretty generic and certainly not authentic.  They don’t really demonstrate, in context, how an author is trying to create a mental image. Using examples from the text we are reading shows how figurative language can make our writing more interesting.

As always, this activity lead me to think of other possibilities…..

  • How about providing students with a list of vocabulary words and have them perform the search to see the words used in context?
  • Students could go a step further and use the “look up” or “define”  tool to write the definitions.
  • Students could take turns finding interesting words or examples and share the key search term with the class and students could easily find the specific example.  (If more than one hit comes up, it become a lesson in skimming and scanning.)

I am sure there are other ways to use this tool.  My students will probably teach me a few of their own!

Have you tried this before?

Do you have any suggestions for activities?

Share your ideas in the comments!

Figurative Language in Pop Songs (Prezi)

When I am in my car I am always listening to music. And not only am I always singing rather badly, I am listening for examples of figurative language.

Yes, I am a nerd. My boyfriend is a nerd, too. We’ve actually had arguments over the use of figurative language in songs.

Anyway, one song that recently seemed to be screaming “USE ME FOR A LESSON ON FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE!!” is a newer song called “Gold” by Britt Nicole. So, I made another Prezi…. Figurative Language Prezi

Teaching Figurative Language with Media

I found a few video clips from YouTube that help advertise different types of figurative language and literary terms in class.  To read more about my philosophy and approach to using media and visuals, read this post.

With SMARTBoards and Edmodo, it is easy to share these videos with students during class or at home.

Onomatopoeia is usually pretty easy for students by the middle school level. As part of my effort to reach all learners with visuals and a media tie-in, I love to introduce onomatopoeia with this seemingly unrelated, but ironically related, video.

Nothing says personification like talking teapots, dancing silverware, and frisky feather-dusters.

This YouTube video covers the following: symbolism, foreshadowing, flashback, atmosphere, and plot twists with Disney clips. There is a short “quiz” at the end.

You could also use BYOT to have students create their own videos on these concepts.

For example, this video featuring “Hyberbole Man” would work for older students 7th grade and up. It is full of hyperboles and is probably pretty funny to teenagers. Better yet, it might be a nice kick-off for a project where students create their own hyperbole movies.

Lastly, this video links figurative language to pop music lyrics.  With examples of Katie Perry, Selena Gomez, Green Day, Uncle Kracker, and Taylor Swift…this should be pretty easy for students to relate to.  I think students would enjoy listening to music and finding lyrics using figurative language, as well as making their own videos.

How do you teach figurative language in your classroom?

Do you have a favorite app for making videos?

Please share your ideas!

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