Monday, 27 August 2012

Fun With Food/Simile

A couple of fun, interactive lessons here, inspired largely by Trevor Wright's How To Be A Brilliant English Teacher - a book which I'd highly recommend to prospective and practising teachers alike. A rough overview of the lesson is here, and at the foot of the article there are links to download the full lesson plans and associated resources.

Lesson One: An Introduction to Similes
Just get on with lesson – no messing. Draw a large circular shape on the board and label it – “head like an orange” will suffice. Stick an ear on it and label it – “ear like a cauliflower” will do the job. Offer the pen to a pupil to have a go. Repeat until you run out of steam.

Discuss your character. Give him a name. Why is better to say he has “spots like baked beans”? Get to a point where the word ‘simile’ is mentioned. The kids will hopefully now understand the concept – get them to prove it... Each pupil has a post-it note. They have to write what they think a simile is. Collect them, discuss them, arrive at a definition and get them to copy it into their books.

In their books, pupils are to complete this sentence: I think the poet has used lots of similes because... Feed back and hopefully someone will come close to answering today’s LO: To explore why writers use similes.

Head like a potato
Show the kids the a picture of a someone with an interesting face. They must describe them without using any similes at all. Feedback – and be critical. Ask them to do the same task again – this time they must use loads of similes. Feedback – there should be much to praise. Pupils swap books and make one positive comment on how the description has improved from the first version to the second.

To wrap things up, pupils must work with the person next to them to produce a definition of simile – without using the word ‘as’ or ‘like’. Once you've got a definition you're happy with, let them pack up!

Lesson Two: It Tastes Like...

First, pupils must unscramble the red words in the learning objective and copy it into their books.
LO: To lime issues to describe food.
LO: To use similes to describe food.
Following the last lesson on simile, pupils should have a good idea what it is and how it works. So just launch into this lesson and they’ll hopefully follow enthusiastically...

You need some foodstuffs. My suggestion would be some Chilli Heatwave Doritos, some pineapple and some chocolate – enough for everyone to have some. Pupils will take it in turns to eat an item before writing a suitable description in their books. Initially they must begin “it tastes like...”
  1. For the first item (Doritos) there are no restrictions on what they can write. It could ‘taste like’ anything they want.
  2. For the second item (pineapple) they are not allowed to describe it in terms of another foodstuff.
  3. For the third item (chocolate) encourage them to describe it in a way which doesn’t mention taste at all: it feels like, melts like, etc.
After each stage, discuss which descriptions were the best and why. Hopefully you’ll get some really creative ideas and can make a record of the best ones on the board and in books. Have the kids realised that in saying ‘it tastes like’ they have created dozens and dozens of similes?

Hand out and read Thorarinn Eldjarn’s Froots & Vegedibles (link below). Pupils are to pick three of the absurd foodstuffs and describe them using similes. Pupils should describe taste, appearance, texture or anything else that tickles their fancy. Feedback, sharing descriptions and maybe try and guess which fruit/veg they are describing.

As a quick plenary, ask the class to use a simile to describe what today’s lesson would’ve tasted like if it were edible! 

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