Game-Changing Figurative Language Anchor Chart Ideas for Elementary School

Figurative language is a powerful tool to enhance a student’s writing and speaking abilities. Using figurative language anchor charts for 2nd grade, figurative language anchor charts for 3rd grade, and figurative language anchor charts for 4th grade, you can help students understand this broad concept. (Plus, scroll to the bottom for some free printable figurative language anchor charts!)

Understanding Figurative Language

Before delving into specific teaching methods, let’s ensure we’re on the same page about what figurative language is. Figurative language adds depth and color to writing by using words in imaginative ways beyond their literal meanings. I tell students the definition is ‘ when the words mean something other than their literal meaning’ It includes similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, personification, hyperbole, and more.

Figurative Language Anchor Charts

Anchor charts are a great way to introduce and reinforce figurative language concepts in the classroom. Using visual aids like anchor charts can help students remember the different types of figurative language, and they can also be used as a reference tool throughout the year.

Grab some figurative language anchor charts here:

Examples for 2nd Grade Figurative Language Anchor Chart

  • Simile: The clouds were fluffy like cotton candy.
  • Metaphor: My heart is a rainbow bursting with happiness.
  • Personification: The sun smiled down on the playground.
  • Onomatopoeia: The bees buzzed around the flowers.
  • Hyperbole: I’m so hungry I could eat a million sandwiches!
  • Alliteration: Sally sells seashells by the seashore.

Examples for 3rd Grade Figurative Language Anchor Chart

  • Simile: The stars sparkled like diamonds in the night sky.
  • Metaphor: Time is a thief stealing moments from our lives.
  • Personification: The trees danced in the wind, swaying back and forth.
  • Onomatopoeia: The thunder rumbled loudly in the distance.
  • Hyperbole: My backpack weighs a ton with all these books!
  • Alliteration: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Examples for 4th Grade Figurative Language Anchor Chart

  • Simile: Her smile was as bright as the sun on a summer day.
  • Metaphor: The classroom was a zoo during recess, with students running wild.
  • Personification: The wind whispered secrets through the trees.
  • Onomatopoeia: The fire crackled and popped in the fireplace.
  • Hyperbole: I’ve told you a million times to clean your room!
  • Alliteration: The slippery snake slithered silently through the grass.
Want to grab this anchor chart for free?! Click here to download.

Tricks to Help Students Memorize Each Type of Figurative Language

One of my favorite ways to teach figurative language is with little brain helpers (as I call them). Here are some to try with your students!

  1. Simile:
    • “You Smile When You Say Like or As”: Draw a smiling face with the words “like” and “as” to illustrate the comparison.
    • Example: “Brave as a lion.”
  2. Metaphor:
    • “May the Force Be With You When Saying Something Is Something Else”
    • Example: “Her voice was music to his ears.”
  3. Onomatopoeia:
    • When you say this to students- say Onomotao-peeeeiaaaaa! “Makes a Weird Sound”
    • Example: “The door creaked.”
  4. Personification:
    • When you write personification, write PERSON-ification. “Bring Characters to Life”: Draw everyday objects with human-like features to represent personification.
    • Example: “The wind whispered secrets.”
  5. Hyperbole:
    • “You Are So Hyper When You’re Exaggerating”
    • Example: “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”
  6. Alliteration
    • When you teach this to students, chant: Double LL Alliteration
    • Example: “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”

How To Teach Figurative Language in Elementary School

Mnemonics: Use catchy phrases or mnemonic devices like those mentioned earlier to help students remember each type of figurative language.

Contextualize Examples: Provide real-life examples from literature, songs, or everyday language to show how figurative language is used in different contexts.

Interactive Activities: Engage students in hands-on activities such as creating their own metaphors or similes, identifying figurative language in texts, or acting out scenarios involving personification.

Differentiated Instruction: Tailor your lessons to accommodate diverse learning styles and abilities, ensuring that all students can actively participate and grasp the concepts.

Figurative Language Lesson Idea

To begin your lesson, introduce the concept of figurative language to students by asking them what they think it means. Then, provide examples of different types of figurative language such as similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, alliteration, idioms, and onomatopoeia.

Use examples that are familiar to students, such as “The sun was as hot as a stove” or “Her smile was as bright as the sun.” After providing examples, have students work in small groups to create their own examples of figurative language. Encourage them to use their imagination and creativity. Once they have created their examples, have them share their work with the class.

As they share, create an anchor chart that includes their examples of figurative language. Next, read a book with figurative language to the class. As you read, point out the different types of figurative language used in the book. After reading, have students work in pairs to find examples of figurative language in the book. They can write down their examples on a sheet of paper or a digital tool like Google Slides.

Finally, have students use their newfound knowledge of figurative language to write a short story or poem. Encourage them to use as many types of figurative language as they can. Once they have finished writing, have them share their work with the class.

You could even create a class book with all of their stories or poems. By using anchor charts, reading books with figurative language, and having students create their own examples, you can help your students understand and appreciate the power of figurative language.

Not only will this lesson enhance their writing and speaking abilities, but it will also help them become more creative and imaginative thinkers.

Freebies… freebies… who wants some freebies?! Click here or the button above for some free figurative language anchor charts for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students.

Did you know that there is a magical place with printable anchor charts for every standard you teach? Learn more here!