Tag Archives: metaphor

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon

Schema: Super-heroes

Text-to-Text Connections: Superman

Personification: The eyeball is given human qualities; the jello can slurp
Metaphor: comparing his cape to a red rocket, his mask to a dark night at midnight

Context Clues: Vocabulary in the story: photon: a type of radiation: the character sends heat rays from his eyes
Thermovulcanized: a process that freezes then melts a rubberized object to make it tougher
Orb: ball

Drawing conclusions: we inferred that when he changed to his normal self that he is the man that looks like Superman, but at the end we realized we were stereotyping the hero because he turns out to be the little boy in the illustration. At the end notice his shadow looks like the Superman character though…is the shadow his imagination? Was the man his dad?

Author’s Purpose: To persuade, inform, or entertain?

Peepers by Eve Bunting and illustrated by James Ransome

Schema: fall colors

Author’s POV: third person

Text-to-Self connections: brothers, helping parents with work

Metaphor and similes: bus crawling as slowly as a caterpillar, leaves  compared to boats, bus sleeping through the winter like a bear after tourist season is over, tree limbs like brooms sweeping the clouds away

Cause and Effect: Because the seasons change, the effect is that the tourist season ends.

Drawing Conclusions: Can you draw the conclusion that the boys have changed the way they view the “peepers” at the end of the season as they view the sky? Yes, they are embarrassed that they are in awe of the stars and the sky the way the tourist are in awe of the beautiful fall colors.

Math: The boys are standing by the water and the illustration is showing their reflection in the water.


Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson

Schema: Underground railroad, slaves escaping from the southern U.S.

Metaphor: The quilt as a cover of darkness is compared to the night sky throughout the story as the slaves must hide during the day time and move at night.

Author’s POV: 1st person

Author’s Purpose: to share the history of African American slaves and the people who helped them

Voice: the story is told from an unnamed girls point of view in first person

Mental Images: imagine hiding under a bush in the hot summer and not being able to move much

The story is about a family running to the north for freedom.



Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Schema: Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Text-to-text:  Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford

Metaphor: The story uses an extended metaphor to compare the Civil Rights movement to a recipe throughout the story.  Author’sPurpose: to share a story about the civil rights movement and to teach us about African American history

Author’s POV: 3rd person

Cause and Effect: Because the demonstrators were nonviolent, the effect was that the national news only captured the violence of the angry white people which made Dr. King’s message even stronger.

Mental Images: Imagine having salt, ketchup, and coffee poured on your head and pepper thrown in your eyes and still sitting calmly

Organizational Strategies: the story is organized like a poem

This is the story of the four college men who began the Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, February 1, 1960. The author shares a story in language and illustrations that tell what happened with a positive point of view and a message of hope for the future. The metaphor of a recipe is used to mix the ingredients needed to end segregation.







So Far From the Sea by Eve Bunting

Schema: sea, setting

Questions to activate background knowledge:

Can you think of another time in history where a group of people have been treated unfairly because of the color of their skin?

Can you imagine being taken away from your family because of your ethnicity?

Why is the title so far from the sea when it looks like the sea behind them?

Why does the woman have spring flowers in the winter time?

Have you ever heard of World War II?

Who was locked up and killed during that war?

What is a spy?

Point of View: Who is telling the story?

Text-to-Self Connections: going somewhere that makes you feel nervous, making emotional connections

Inference: I am inferring that it is winter because they are putting on their jackets.  The wind is cold from the Sierra.

Setting: 1942, popular song: Don’t Fence Me In

Drawing Conclusions: Look at the location of Manzanar and draw a conclusion about why the author made the title “So Far from the Sea”

Mental Images: the field bigger than a football field, seeing it empty like erasing a blackboard, imagining he could climb on the mountain’s back and it would become a big eagle to fly him away, boat( a real American scout sail)  moving on as a way to say his grandfather had moved on, and so were they

Cause and Effect: Because Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States, the effect is “the U.S. was suddenly at war”

Metaphor: What could the author mean when he says the grandfather began dying the moment he was put on the bus and taken to Manzanar?  The author is comparing dying to being taken so far from the sea and losing his boat and freedom.

Metaphor: What is “moving on” a metaphor for as the family leaves the cemetery? a boat moving on, the family moving on to Boston, the family moving on and letting the hurt of the grandfather’s mistreatment go

Organizational Strategies: What did you notice about the way the illustrator organized the illustrations with the color pages and the sepia no color ones?  What is he trying to show? Can you think of any other text-to-text connections that show a shift in time?

Compare and Contrast: The way the camp looks before and after the war.

Text-to-Text Connection: Tree of Cranes by Alan Say is set in Japan and a mother is telling her son what Christmas was like in America when she was a child.

Synthesis: Can you think of other groups of people who are thought of as suspicious because of their heritage in our present day time or in the past?–Jewish people during WWII, slavery in the U.S., today’s airport security with certain names, appearances, the Muslim religion, the controversy in NYC about the Mosque being built near the 9/11 site?

Synthesis: Can you think of a time when you had to “move on” and let something go that has hurt you?

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino

Schema: flippers on the cover connect with swimming, title mentions sea

Author’s purpose: to share real information about sea scientist, Jacques Cousteau.

Metaphor: Cousteau’s quote on the first page makes a mental image of the sea a casting spell over him and holding him with “its net of wonder.”   The sea is like a net in that it can capture you.

Cause and Effect: Because doctors told Jacques Cousteau to swim to build up his strength, the effect was that he started swimming and found that he loved the ocean.

Text-to-Self Connections:

Have you ever taken something apart to see how it works?  I had lots of response about this from my second graders such as helping parents repair things such as cars and motorcycles or taking electronic toys apart.

Car Accidents-many kids have been in one

Things that Change your life forever: Jacques had the goggles that changed his life.  Students shared things such as art, being baptized, having surgery, losing a loved one, having a new sibling, going to a certain school, pets dying, learning to play soccer, reading a book from a dog’s point of view, and technology.

Sometimes something changes our lives forever and we don’t realize it until later, but Jacques says he knew that very day when he used the goggles for the first time.

Characterization:  Use the Describing Wheel to list the traits of  Jacques Cousteau: inventor, scientist, explorer, humanitarian, writer, and film maker.

Drawing Conclusions: Jacques Cousteau was curious.  What text evidence supports this conclusion?  tinkering with gadgets, trying ways to make a snorkel tube, inventing the aqua lung, taking the camera apart, testing his hypothesis about living under the sea, inventing the saucer and sea flea

See the Jacques-Yves Cousteau website.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Schema: civil wars, traveling alone, the title which is a phrase from the U. S. National Anthem

Before beginning, read the guide produced by the publisher which provides a background for understanding:

Author’s purpose: The author takes us into the world of a refugee and helps refugee’s to see that they are not alone.

POV: The story is told from Kek’s point of view.

Voice: We hear Kek’s voice throughout the story as we experience his situations from his POV.

Text-to-Text Connections: 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

Drawing Conclusions: We quickly draw the conclusion that Kek is new to the United States.  What text evidence leads you to this conclusion?

Mental Images: The reader is forced to make a mental image of Kek’s description in order to follow his thoughts.

He describes common things in unique ways without using the common name for it such as the flying boat for the airplane.

Characterization: Use the Describing Wheel to list Kek’s traits: Eleven years old, maybe an orphan, afraid, sad, brave

Symbolism: How is the title a symbol for the way Kek thinks of America?

Note about an African custom from Alan Cohen’s “Eyes on Africa” page on Facebook

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: an Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston

yearSchema: Christmas trees, theme of the White House Christmas tree

Text-to-Text Connection: That Book Woman by Heather Henson and Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile ( historical fiction using cause and effect and drawing conclusions) by Gloria Houston

Author’s Purpose:   Gloria Houston and her family grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina; the historical fiction story depicts what life was like in the early 1900’s during World War I.

Characterization: Characterize the mother in the story and use example from the text as evidence to support your depiction.

Loyal: She went to the rocky craigs to cut the tree that her husband promised to deliver to the church saying her husband was as good as his word.

Self-sacrificing: She cut up her wedding dress to make a dress for Ruthie to wear in the Christmas play at church.  She also used the nylons her husband mailed to her from Europe to make the doll for Ruthie that became the family heirloom.

Sense of humor:  She went along with the preacher about inferring that the people in the holler were hearing the heavenly angels singing on high the night they cut the tree.

Strong: She used the big saw to cut the tree and then loaded it on the sleigh.

Brave and Courageous: She knew how to “make do” with what they had by using honey instead of sugar, herbal tea instead of coffee, embroidering flowers over rips and tears and lowering the hems of Ruthie’s dresses.

Creative: She designed Ruthie’s dress and created the doll who looked like Ruthie.

Organizational Strategy:  the Flashback:  The story begins with the narrator saying the story happened the way that Ruthie told her.

Metaphor: The old woman was picking her geese for the snow

Simile: the road wound like ribbons

There Is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems

Schema: Tell me about times you have been upset because someone is bothering you in some way?

Text-to-self connections: Think about how you deal with someone bothering you.  Do you tell on them to someone else like your teacher or parent?

Metaphor: For older children, this book is a great example of metaphor.  The bird on Gerald’s  head is a metaphor for obstacles in our life.

Cause and Effect: Because the bird is on elephant’s head, the effect is that elephant is very unhappy.

Drawing Conclusions: Piggie draws the conclusion that Gerald could just ask the birds to leave.  This is such a simple solution to the problem, but one that many children and adults forget to do when we are bothered by others.

Predicting: What do you predict that Piggie will do after the birds put their nest on his head?

Sequencing: Discuss the sequence of the bird activities on Gerald’s head.

Synthesis: Tell about a problem you are having and what you might do to solve it.  What is someone is bothering you such as pushing you in the line?  What do you think Piggie would do?

Text-to-text connections: other Elephant and Piggie books

The Trouble With Dragons by Debi Gliora

trouble-with-dragons Schema: dragons, trouble, earth, Earth Day

Things to wonder about: On the cover there is a dragon holing a globe.  What kind of trouble could dragons cause?  Are dragons real?   What will be invented to replace plastic?  Do you know a dragon, a person or company that does not respect the earth?
Is there any evidence that dragons ever existed?

Mental Images: Look at the illustrations of the trash along the bottom of the pages.  Also look in the sky in the illustrations.  The air looks smokey.  The dragons are chopping down trees.

Cause and Effect:  Because there are less trees the effect is that there is more carbon dioxide.
Because we have more carbon dioxide the effect is that the blanket around the earth becomes thicker and holds in the heat.

Metaphor: Comparing two things that are alike in only one way without the use of like or as:  The idea of the trouble with dragons is a metaphor for humans who do not take care of the earth.  The dragons are personified.

Text-to-World connection with the movie: Wall-E.

Text-to-self connection: recycling

Text-to-Text connection with 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World: Fun and Easy Eco-tips by Melanie Walsh

Synthesis: Students might say the story makes them think about things they can do to help the earth be unpolluted.  Many of my students wanted to share about how they recycle.  We had a good discussion about “reducing” which seems to be a problem that is going to continue if new products are not invented to replace plastic.