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Monday Morning Ready10.16.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

English is a language rich in metaphor. Take, for example, the many ways that human behavior can be linked with birds. Someone who is fearful is a chicken. A show-off can be called a peacock. And a prideful person can be said to preen. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Does learning about the history of metaphors help you understand what they mean? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think the English language has so many metaphors that link human behavior with birds? Can you think of another bird metaphor that wasn't mentioned in the article?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, many metaphors arise when people link something concrete with something more abstract. What does this mean? Why do you think people do this?

Grade 9-10

In the article, Wendy Anderson, the project's principal investigator, said, "The connections we make between different areas of meaning in English show, to some extent, how we mentally structure our world." Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

LESSON PLAN
Say It/Search It/Map It

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, discuss the difference between a metaphor and a cliché. (A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as or similar to something else. A cliché is a saying that often starts out as a smart remark but quickly becomes so overused that it's no longer catchy or even interesting.)
  2. Point out that sayings like these are common in the English language. Although it might not be easy to figure out how or where the sayings began, tracing their roots could be an enlightening experience. For example, is there a direct link between the phrases people use and where their ancestors came from? Why are some sayings only used in certain geographic regions? Why are some sayings interpreted differently from one region to the next?
  3. As a class, identify effective ways to learn how and where sayings began. For example, students could conduct research online, interview a family member or talk with another knowledgeable source in the community. 
  4. Instruct students to identify local or familial metaphors or clichés they've heard. Give them time to conduct research. Challenge students to identify the origins of one or more sayings. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Display a world map. Provide sticky notes and have students write one saying on each note. As students present their findings, encourage them to post their notes to identify the best-known origin of each saying. Analyze the results to determine what they reveal about the people living in your community.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Encourage groups to do their best to identify the origins of one metaphor or one cliché. Provide assistance as students complete their research. 

Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the project in small groups. Encourage groups to do their best to identify the origins of one metaphor and one cliché. Challenge groups to identify logical links that explain what each saying means.

Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct each pair to identify the origins of one metaphor and one cliché. Challenge students to pinpoint where each saying is used and give examples of how its meaning varies from one culture or region to another.

Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct each pair to identify the origins of two metaphors and two clichés. Instruct students to pinpoint where each saying is used and give examples of how its meaning varies from one family, culture or region to another. Challenge them to explain why the meanings change.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Word Play: Contemporary Art by Xu Bing
This interactive activity is based on the artwork of contemporary Chinese artist Xu Bing, who focuses on mixing language with fine art. The online exhibit includes images and animations highlighting stand-out installations and interviews with the artist.

Symbols in Art: Who's Who?
In this interactive activity, students will try to match three figures from classical mythology with the visual symbols of their stories.

Share Your Story
In this lesson, students will discuss, investigate, reflect and make a photograph connected to the American flag. They will write a detailed description that responds to one or more prompt questions and share both the photographs and descriptions online.

Cultural Logo Design
In this lesson about identity, culture and symbols, students will learn to recognize prevalent cultural and commercial symbols. After discussing how these symbols have an impact on their lives, their consumer impulses and their perceptions, students will design a logo to represent their personal identity.

Symbols in a Story: What's What?
Students will read a myth and write down anything that they think might be symbolic. Then they will look at a mural, selecting areas to examine more closely to learn about the painting.
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