Student Handout

Content Area(s): Language Arts, Science
Grade(s): 3, 4


How can the teacher guide students to use figures of speech to enhance their writing? In what ways can students integrate similes into writing about nature? The effective use of elaboration is a major part of successful writing and one form of elaboration is the use of similes. This unit gives students fundamental knowledge of the structure of similes and gives them the opportunity to use similes in their writing.

Computers, printer, word processing software; Template: Simile Planning Worksheet; items found in nature, glue, large pieces of black construction paper, colored string, Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, Quick As a Cricket by Don and Audrey Wood

Learning Environment

This unit occurs both in the classroom and outdoors. The simile activity requires one class period for the nature hunt and collection, one period for drawing the nature item and drafting the simile, and one period for publishing the similes and sharing them.

The students use a combination of reading skills including read aloud, guided reading, shared reading, and buddy reading to complete the novel and other stories and poems about similes and nature. They conference with peers about their similes. The teacher leads a nature hunt, and guides students to come up with similes as they walk, e.g. "The clouds are as fluffy as __________". "The wind blows like __________". Back in the classroom, she models some basic word-processing skills such as centering the title of the simile, changing line spacing, and choosing the font size.

Unit Description

Standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills)
The students generate, organize, connect, and express ideas in a variety of ways. The students interpret, produce, and evaluate visual images for meaning. The students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. The students recognize the features of familiar genres, including poems.

The students read The Sign of the Beaver and Quick As a Cricket.. They take a nature hunt around the school grounds and gather nature items. They draw pictures based on the nature items and write a simile using "like" or "as" to go with their pictures. They type their similes, print them, cut them out, and glue them to their books. They share their books with the class.

The teacher assesses similes based on the use of "like" or "as" and the appropriateness of the comparison used.