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Metaphors: Writing — Grade 5

Lesson Plan

Subject: Writing and Language

Grade Level: 5

Lesson Objectives: The students and the educators will cooperate together to learn more about figures of speech, specifically on the use of metaphors. At the end of the lesson, the students are expected to:

  • Be able to identify the difference between metaphors to other figures of speech
  • Use metaphors properly to compare objects correctly
  • Familiarize the use of metaphors

Common Core StandardsCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.A - Understanding metaphors, familiarize metaphors, locating metaphors, and identifying the difference and similarities between metaphors and other figures of speech




  • Make enough copies of the Metaphor Activity Worksheets for your class.
  • Pass out the Pre-Test on Page 1 and allow time for students to complete it. They don't have to share their answers, but they can make notes and correct their answers during the lesson. 


  • In language, we use many terms and factors to convey what we are trying to express to each other. Metaphors are one of them.
  • But, let's ask first, what are metaphors?
  • Metaphors are basically a figure of speech that individuals use to compare things that aren't alike but do have one or more similarities.
  • Unlike similes which describe two things directly (e.g. brave as a lion), metaphors' comparison is indirect and is usually stated as "something is something else."
  • An example of a metaphor is when you state "It's raining cats and dogs." This statement wouldn't mean that dogs and cats are literally falling from the skies but it's raining heavily.
  • Let's look at a few other examples of metaphors: 
    • "Throw the baby outside the bathtub" - to get the infant out of the water
    • "Heart of gold" - someone who is kind
    • "The test was murder" - the test was difficult
    • "Couch Potato" - someone who doesn't do anything except sit and watch the television.



  • As we talked about before, a metaphor is a figure of speech that describes two objects that are not alike but have something in common.
  • Basically, metaphors are not true in a literal way. They are more of the comparison that we use to state that even two things that are not alike can be similar in one way or another. Metaphors are figurative words that tell the listeners what someone or something is like.
  • For example, your friends could have told you that you're the "black sheep" in the family. Unless you're really a black sheep, you are using the statement as a metaphor to state that you don't act the way your parents want you to or you're a troublemaker in the family.
  • Metaphors are frequently used in pieces of literature such as poems, novels, or stories. You can also use metaphors in your everyday speech. Metaphors are important since it helps us identify which objects or actions are similar with another thing/action in some way. Metaphors also help us convey our ideas more easily. 
  • Types of Metaphors - There are different types of metaphors that we use: implied, sustained, dead and mixed. They are defined as follows:
    • Implied Metaphors
      • Implied metaphors are metaphors that talk about a [thing]'s abilities or actions that it got from or another [thing]. We can simply use it as stating that the object acts like something that it isn't. Take this sentence for example: "John is a bookworm. He goes to the library every day to read books". This sentence does not mean that John literally eats books but enjoys reading books. 
    • Sustained Metaphors
      • Sustained metaphors are metaphors that are used continuously or in succession. This kind of metaphor is usually used in novels and in poetry.
      • One example is the statement that  "Life is like eating a grapefruit. First, one breaks its skin; then one takes a few bites to get used to its taste, and finally one starts enjoying its flavor".
      • This does not mean literally that life is about eating grapefruits or any fruit but talks about how we adapt to our life as we go on, facing hardships and challenges on our journey. 
    • Dead Metaphors
      • Dead metaphors are metaphors that are, well, "dead' because of their popular usage over the years. They are usually ones that were used or invented years ago.
      • Dead metaphors are also easy to understand since people can understand these metaphors without knowing their real meaning due to their popularity.
      • Examples of dead metaphors can be heard in our daily conversations like "whirlwind of emotions" or "Put yourself in my shoes". 
    • Mixed Metaphors
      • Mixed metaphors, also known as "mixaphor," are combinations of two or more types of metaphors. They are what we commonly call "cliches."
      • Mixed metaphors are present when more than one metaphor is jumbled or used in a sentence. To further understand mixed metaphors, take these examples for reference:
        • "I can’t make these split-minute decisions" - A mixture of the metaphorical phrases "split-second" and "minute decisions".
        • "You hit the nail right on the nose" - A combination of the metaphors "You hit the nail straight to the head" and "That's right on the nose".


  • Hand out copies of the Metaphor Activity on page 2 of the Metaphors Activity Worksheets. Allow students time to complete, then go over answers together as a class. Allow time for students to share their metaphor examples. 


Once the lesson is over, you want to make sure the students feel comfortable and confident using metaphors in their writing. Invite your class to ask questions about metaphors and encourage them to use a few in their next writing assignment. 


Written by Andrew Abano

Education World Contributor

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