SOS: Figure it Out Together

Welcome to the Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

Figure it Out Together

PDF Version


Figurative language helps make writing come alive. Students’ capacity to understand and apply figurative language is a key ingredient in language arts instruction and is particularly prominent and pervasive (alliteration intended) in the Common Core State Standards (e.g., Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings). We can use images and videos to provide context for helping students apply a variety of figurative language devices.


  • Introduce or review one or more types of figurative language/literary devices such as simile, metaphor, alliteration, hyperbole and personification.
  • Challenge the students to think of different examples of figurative language as they watch the Polar Bears in the Arctic Circle video segment with the sound muted.
  • Share several examples as a class to get the creative juices flowing.
  • Now, have students identify a writing partner.
  • Assign, or allow the students to self-select, a literary device.
  • Display the Pair of Polar Bears image.
  • Give the students time to work with their writing partners to create an example of their literary device as it applies to the image. For example, the alliteration group might come up with “Polar bear pair patiently peering.”
  • After the students have created one or more examples, have them design a figurative language poster by overlaying their text onto the image.
    • Pro Tip: Students can use the Discovery Education Board Builder, PowerPoint or Keynote, or one of many free photo-editing tools like iPiccy to create their figurative language posters


  • Have students search Discovery Education for images around a certain topic or theme (e.g., polar bears).
  • Challenge the students to create a set of 3-5 different figurative language posters using distinct literacy device examples on each.
  • Print the posters and give them as a gift to another class and/or hang them in the hallway or library media center for everyone to see.

You can take the challenge by:

  • Implementing this strategy and letting us know how it went by posting a comment below.
  • Using this strategy in your grade level planning discussions and/or professional development and reporting your events. (Remember we consider an event any time 3 or more educators gather together… doesn’t have to be in a computer lab… could be sitting around the lunch table)
  • Photocopying the flyer and distributing it in your colleague’s mailboxes and/or posting it to your own BulleDEN board.

To see other strategies in this series click here.  For a link to all the PDFs in this series click here.


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