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Teaching Figurative Language through Music

Lesson title :

Figurative Language/ English/ Division 4 (Grade 10-1)

90 minutes

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aly Wilson

ResourcesThe resources needed for this activity are:

Laptops (One for each student)

Smart board (used to pull up song lyrics and have teacher, students underline/ circle figurative language)


Google. Docs

I-Pod (which will contain a song list with these songs: Holiday -Green Day, Take a Minute - KNaan, Rockin in the Free World - Neil Young, Tom Sawyer -Rush, Hey, Soul Sister -Train, Come As You Are- Nirvana, Life is Beautiful -Nirvana, Time- Chantal Kreviazuk, Grey Street- Dave Matthews Band, Time- Pink Floyd

Internet connection

The Websites URLs that students will be using are:

Lyrics Freak: www.lyricfreak.com

A-Z Lyrics Universe: www.azlyrics.com

Song Lyrics: www.songlyrics.com

The URLs for the different song lyrics are:

- Holiday by Green Day: http://www.songlyrics.com/green-day/holiday-lyrics/ - Take a Moment by KNaan: http://www.songlyrics.com/k-naan/take-a-minute-lyrics/ - Tom Sawyer - Rush: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/rush/tom+sawyer_20120001.html

- Rockin in the Free World - Neil Young:


- Hey, Soul Sister - Train- http://www.metrolyrics.com/hey-soul-sister-lyrics-train.html

- Come As You Are -Nirvana:


- Life is Beautiful - SIXX:A.M.: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/sixxam/lifeisbeautiful.html

- Time -Chantal Kreviazuk:


- Grey Street - Dave Matthews Band:

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/grey-street-lyrics-dave-matthews-band-and-dave -matthews/67528c81c41841ff48256bd10014c726

- Time - Pink Floyd:



The teacher will open up the lesson by playing a song that most of the students have probably heard before and have the lyrics of the song on the smartboard, so that students are able to follow along. The song that the teacher will present is Green Days Holiday. After the song has finished the teacher will lead the students into a discussion of what constitutes poetry and then guide them into a discussion of figurative language, which will lead into the pre-assessment.

Learning outcomes :

The point of this lesson is to re-familiarize students with types of figurative language that they have been introduced to before(e.g. simile, metaphor, etc.) and then expand their knowledge of figurative language using music that students should be familiar with. At the end of the lesson, students should have an expanded, more sophisticated list of figurative language and an expanded definition of poetry. The students should become more conscious of the figurative language used in the songs that they have heard or listen to, and they will realize how prevalent figurative language is used to convey a concept or ideas in lyrics/ poetry.

I will re-familiarize students with figurative language: simile, metaphor, hyperbole, alliteration, onomatopoeia, imagery, tone, alliteration,

I will introduce new concepts, such as assonance, paradox, connotation, denotation, personification, irony, allusion

In relation to the students use of technology throughout the lesson plan, the teachers Alberta Learner Outcomes in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) objectives will be:

C5 (4.2)- Participate in a variety of electronic group formats

C7 (4.1)- Use appropriate strategies to locate information to meet personal needs

Pre-assessment :

After the teacher has played the song once, he/she will then initiate a discussion with the class about poetry, what qualifies as poetry and then what elements, like figurative language, are used to convey thoughts and ideas in poetry. This initial discussion should lead into figurative language, types of and how it is used in poetry, like music. Next, the teacher will guide students to listen to the song again and identify figurative language within the song. After students have listened to it again for the intention of seeking examples of figurative language, they will then be divided into groups of 2-3 and on Google.Docs have to list the type of figurative language, like simile, and then the example from the song. By having students discuss material through Google. Docs, it fulfills part of the requirement of C5 (4.2), and it allows the teacher to see the students pre-existing knowledge and the students will be able to see other examples from their classmates. The teacher will then, briefly, go over the classes examples with all the students.

Participatory learning :

Teacher Activities

1) The teacher will play Green Days Holiday from his/ her I-Pod station with the lyrics pulled up on the smartboard (5 minutes)2) The teacher will then start a discussion about what exactly is poetry? Are songs we hear on the radio forms of poetry? What are elements used in various types of poetry? What is figurative language? What are the different types of figurative language and the definitions? (10 minutes)3) The teacher will then replay the song and direct students attention to observing the figurative language used in the song (5 minutes)4) The teacher will then direct the students to form groups of 2-3 and have them go on Google.docs to discuss the types of figurative language they saw within the song. The teacher will go around and assess students existing knowledge and aid them if struggling (10 minutes).5) The teacher will then review the answers on google.docs with the class and go over all the answers with the class. (5 minutes)6) The teacher will introduce new figures of speech with the students by having them listen to bits and pieces of music, stopping, identifying that a phrase is an oxymoron, etc. and then with the example have the class come up with a definition while the teacher asks helpful questionsThe songs I have selected contain elements of the desired figurative language that I want the children to learn:

KNaans Take a Minute -within the first stanza has three examples of allusion (Mandela, Ghandi and Babylon)

Rushs Tom Sawyer- this song, obviously from the title is an example of allusion. If the students are still unable to come up with a definition of allusion this song can be played till after the first chorus

Neil Youngs Rockin in the Free World- this song will be used to demonstrate irony, and it will be played till the end of the first chorus (Rockin in the Free World is obviously ironic to the state of America he portrays).

Trains Hey, Soul Sister- this song demonstrates assonance. It can be played till end of the first chorus (assonance can be seen through the lyricists repetitive usage of vowels).

Nirvanas Come As You Are- this song demonstrates paradox. This song will only be played for the first stanza (paradox is seen in the examples: As a friend/ As an old enemy...Dont be late/ Take a rest).

SIX: A.M.s Life is Beautiful is another

song that contains paradoxes. The song is only played till the first chorus (Examples of paradoxes: You can't live until you die/ You can't learn to tell the truth/ Until you learn to lie)

Chantal Kreviazuks Time is a song that uses personification to get her point across. This song is only played for the first stanza (examples: Time, where did you go?/ Why did you leave me here all alone?)

Dave Matthews Bands Grey Street is a song that its lyrics connote depression (example: But all the colors mix together- to grey). It will be played to the end of the first chorus

Pink Floyds Time is a song that connotes time without giving the denotative definition of time. This song will be started two minutes in and will play the first few stanzas.

(35 minutes)7) The teacher will then direct the students into groups of 2-3 again with different people and have them complete an assignment. The teacher will circulate the room and help students find a song, figurative language or clarify a concept. This is part of the post-assessment (15 minutes).

Learner Activities

1) The students will be required to listen to the song and follow along with the lyrics (4 minutes)2) The students will be immersed into a discussion about the nature of poetry, and they will come up with a list of the different types of figurative language that they already know and definitions/ examples.

3) Listening to the song again and identifying the types of figurative language used

4) The students will form their own groups and on google.docs share their knowledge of figurative language by using examples from Green Days Holiday. They will write the type of figurative language used and then the examples immediately afterwards.

5) Students listening and discussing with the teacher what they came up with within their groups. 6) After the teacher has played a section of a song, the teacher will identify a new type of figurative language and point out an example from the song. The students will have to collectively come up with a definition of the figure of speech identified, and the teacher will ask appropriate questions that will point the students in the right direction. While the students are introduced to new figures of speech, they will have to come up with a definition of the figure of speech identified. If the students have a hard time, the teacher can provide a couple other examples to lead them in the right direction. The students will be expected to take notes of the new types of figurative language. On their own laptops, they will have to write down the definitions and examples on a Word document. Then, the teacher will have a student go up to the smartboard and identify another way this song incorporates the particular figure of speech within it.

7) Within these groups, the students will complete the assignment: Students will have to use their laptops and use one of the URLs that the teacher has indicated to look up the lyrics of a song(s) that they like. The students will then have to identify figurative language, and the students will be expected to find at least three examples of the new figurative language introduced. On Google.docs, they will write their own findings. This section of the lesson plan will encompass the ICT objective: C7 (4.1).

Post-assessment :

The post-assessment with consist of the learners within their groups identifying the different figures of speech that were introduced today by using URL that the teacher has made accessible, looking up a song on the website and writing on Google. Docs what they noticed in the song. In the Google. Docs, the students will have to put the artist, song title and the examples of figurative language that they identified. This way the teacher identifies what they have learned, and the students will be able to look at other students examples and learn/ study from them. The marking scheme that the group will be evaluated on is:

Marking Scheme

- Appropriate Song /1 - Participation /2- Knowledge of figurative language /4Total /7Summary/closure :In the summary/ closure section of the lesson, the teacher will have the students for homework write on their blogs within their E Portfolios, which only the teacher and their parents have access to. They will have to answer questions like: What did you learn today? What was unclear? What do you think qualifies as poetry? Many students do not like to verbalize within the classroom their concerns, so through students blogs it will help teacher and students identify what they know, what they are still struggling with, their personal growth and ever-changing likes/ dislikes.This is a great way for the teacher to give qualitative feedback and not quantitative. Concludes and wraps up the learning experience, creating a sense of closure and completion. It also helps the learners reflect on their learning and sets the stage for future lessons.


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