Discuss the term and definition of metaphor and how the use of metaphors in literature helps make stories and poetry more interesting and fun to read. To ensure that students understand the concept of a metaphor, give them a few minutes to think of some examples. Stress that the metaphors can be about anything in their lives or personal experiences or can even center around their subjects in school, such as language arts, science, and math. Therefore, students may create metaphors:
Next read the poem "Song of a Dandelion Pushing up Through an Urban Sidewalk Crack." Ask the students if they think the author was writing about dandelions only, or could this poem be a metaphor about something or someone else?
Call their attention to specific lines in the selection ("No other flowers can mimic our style") or ("atmosphere") and others you think are significant. The students will likely be able to conclude that this poem could be about people such as the homeless or those who are economically disadvantaged or about students who are not considered smart, attractive, or popular.
Song of a Dandelion Pushing up Through an Urban Sidewalk Crack
We sprout up boldly through the crack to offer beauty that the sidewalks
After reading and discussing this selection, have the students, in their cooperative teams, brainstorm about some social issue, problem, or concern and develop a metaphor to write about their topic. The completed works of each team will be shared with the class.
Have the students read the quote by Lewis Carroll: "You see it's like a portmanteau--there are two meanings packed into one word."
Have the students research the life of Lewis Carroll to determine the following:
Excerpted from Beyond Rhetoric and Rainbows: A Journey to the Place Where Learning Lives ©1996 University of Illinois Extension.