More Than Rhyme: Poetry Fundamentals   Western Reserve Public Media
Why Teach Poetry? Resources Teacher Materials Watch Online Introduction to Poetry Tools Used in Poetry Applying the Tools
Tools Used in Poetry




Students will begin with a review of imagery using “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger. They will then be introduced to simile, metaphor and symbol. They will write a bio-poem using double denotative meanings.


Standards Addressed

Reading Standards for Literature 7-12

  • 7th/8th grade Craft and Structure, number 4

  • 7th/8th grade Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity, number 10

  • 9th/10th and 11th/12th grade Craft and Structure, number 4

  • 9th/10th and 11th/12th grade Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity, number 10



  • Class sets of note sheets to help students follow lesson (distributed earlier)

  • A chalkboard, overhead transparency, Elmo or Smart Board to help with note-taking

  • Copies of the poems



  1. Pass out note-taking materials.

  2. Review the lesson about imagery by looking at the lyrics to the song “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger. What images does the author use to impart the feeling of being a band member on the road? Are they effective?

  3. Introduce the idea of a poetic comparison by displaying the lyrics from TLC’s “Waterfall.” Make a list of the qualities of a waterfall (dangerous, fast-moving, beautiful) and rivers or lakes (slow, safe, calm). Decide which adjectives from the list are being used by the author of the song and what that author is probably telling his audience (be careful or don’t rush to grow up).

  4. Look next at the lyrics from Smash Mouth’s “All That Glitters.” Do the same listings for “all star,” “rock star,” “shooting star” and “mold.” Can the class come up with a consensus about what the author was saying? Is it tougher?

  5. Lead students to the idea that comparisons allow someone to say something in an interesting and powerful way, but that they have a danger: They can be misunderstood. Discuss whether or not the possibility of being misunderstood is worth the mind-stopping attention a good comparison can cause. Students can have any answer as along as it is justified with reason and example.

  6. Review the three types of comparisons — similes, metaphors and symbols:

  7. Simile: A direct comparison using like or as. Example: She’s as orderly as a telephone book.

    Metaphor: An implied comparison. Example: That professor is a reference book.

    Symbol: Means what it actually says denotatively, but means something else as well. Example: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

  8. Look at the sample poems together. They can be presented one at a time or assigned to groups who will present them to the class after preparation time. (Note: song lyrics to “Drops of Jupiter” by Train are included as an example of confusing comparisons.)


Formative Evaluation

Look at the sample bio-similes included. Have students try their own following these steps:

List adjectives to describe you.

Think of an object with one or more of those adjectives.

List out the qualities of the object chosen to see if there are any that also apply to you.

Write out the bio-simile paying special attention to words with double denotative meanings.

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Imagery Comparisons Enjambed Lines and Word Placement Hyperbole and Understatement Personification Sample Bio-Similes “Turn the Page” Lyrics from TLC’s “Waterfalls” Lyrics from Smash Mouth’s “All That Glitters” “The Road Not Taken” “The Rose” “Persephone, Falling” “Drops of Jupiter” “Mother to Son”