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Magazine Issue 37: Similes, Analogies & Metaphors
July 2013

This month ideas around Similes, Analogies & Metaphors and how they can be used across the curriculum to deepen understanding and improve recall.

Article: Similes, Analogies & Metaphors
New Resources
Mike's Books
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Similes, Analogies & Metaphors

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Similes, Analogies & Metaphors An Article explaining how the use of comparison through Simile and Analogy can deepen understanding and improve recall.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Change Similarities Metaphor Simile Analogy
Similes, Analogies, Metaphors

Educational change for teachers is like popcorn jumping out of a pan of heated oil. First one, then then next, then a few more and soon a fountain of fluffy balls shoot out in a noisy display. Eventually the stragglers break free leaving a few corns, stubborn and unpopped, at the bottom of the pan.

Does this describe teachers responding to classroom innovation? When presented with a new idea are you the first to adopt it (pop)? Maybe you wait a while to see how it works. Possibly it's not the change you want/need so you stick with what you know (in the pan).

Images & Connections

Wherever you end up landing (your response to change) did I put an image in your head and sounds in your ears? Did I give you a feeling and a memory of popcorn? Did the comparison between change and popping corn help you deepen your understanding of how teachers behave? That was the plan.

Simile, metaphor and analogy work because they conjure up interesting and novel images to which we can connect other concepts. They cause us to notice the similarities between the thing and what we are using to explain it. Connected, meaningful images can be more memorable and can deepen our understanding.

In the popping example, will you ever now look at popcorn without linking it to the latest government classroom initiative? And when a colleague says to you, "I just don't get why everyone's for this new government classroom initiative." then you can reply, "Well, it's just like popcorn jumping out of a pan of heated oil...."

Using Similes, Analogies & Metaphors - Which Ones?

Teachers making changes in their teaching are like popcorn - Simile
When it comes to change, teachers pop out of the pan at different speeds - Metaphor
It can be helpful to think of the process of educational change in terms of popping corn - Analogy

Three different types of comparison, all seeking to connect one concept to another, each prompting a different reaction and offering a different type of thinking:

Simile: teachers are like popcorn offers an implicit question, "How are teachers like popcorn?". Therefore use similes to get pupils thinking and creating their own connections.

Metaphor: when it comes to change, teachers pop out of the pan at different speeds invites deeper thinking and challenge. Just how well does the comparison of teacher behaviour and popcorn hold? Therefore use metaphors to get pupils to challenge an existing connection.

Analogy: the popcorn system describes the teacher change system is a more formal and explicit comparison of two concepts. Therefore use analogy to get pupils analysing by connecting the various aspects - the details - of two things.

Use Simile to create connections, Metaphor to challenge connections and Analogy to analyse connections.

Using Similes, Analogies & Metaphors - Teacher Progression

Initial use of  Similes, Analogies & Metaphors (SAMs) will be planned and explicit, for example introducing new subject concepts by saying what they are like, or by asking pupils to say why certain ideas or objects are like others.

As you develop your style and confidence, you may then begin choosing which method of comparison is most appropriate for subject, topic, class or even individual.

Hopefully you will then aspire to the real-time reactive use of SAMs during lessons, responding instantly to pupils and situations with appropriate and helpful comparisons that bring learning to life, dispel misconceptions and embed visual memories.

However you choose to move forward with SAMs, take one step at a time and choose your comparisons with care. The best SAMs are interesting, new and invite pupil thought and engagement. But at the end of the day, overused and recycled ones run the risk of cliché and bring very little new to the table. ;)

New Resources:

Heave Scale Thinking

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Heave Scale Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to give pupils and their teachers a language for talking about effort and for mapping the changes of effort needed at different parts of a lesson/week/term. Uses simile by comparing to a well know physical effort scale.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Meta Cognition, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary, Tertiary

Tags: Effort Hard Work Simile Comparison
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Heave Scale Powerpoint

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Heave Scale Powerpoint A Thinking Skills Template in Powerpoint, to help you implement Heave Scale.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Meta Cognition, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Effort Hard Work Simile Comparison
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Simile Think Sheet

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Simile Think Sheet A Think Sheet offering challenging prompts for creating similes and metaphors. Can be applied in different subjects or as a stand alone thinking activity.

Categories: Think Sheet, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, English, Secondary, Tertiary

Tags: Simile Analogy Metaphor Comparison
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Mike's Books:

Stories can provide extended analogies to help describe real situations. Try these for size!

Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind
by Mike Fleetham

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Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind <br>by Mike Fleetham A Book containing 27 original tales with follow-on currciulum-linked activities for Primary and Lower Secondary. Literacy infused with the full range of Thinking Skills inspired by Bloom's Taxonomy. Classroom tasks with photocopiable worksheets that will save you planning time and embed Thinking firmly into everyday lessons. 

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Thinking Skills, English, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Assemblies Bloom's Taxonomy Thinking Stories

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Simile Thinking

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Simile Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool providing a template for constructing subject-based similes. Creating similes can deepen understanding and enhance recall.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Analytical Thinking, Memory Skills, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Simile Metaphor Analogy Comparison
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

Expert Thinking

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Expert Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool using different perspectives to improve problem solving. How does an architect think? Which skills of a nurse could solve problems in space? 

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Creativity, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Problem Solving Careers
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Random Prompt Thinking

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Random Prompt Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for kick-starting creative thinking for deeper understanding. Prompts pupils to connect what they know to random ideas which can also help with recall.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Creativity Memory Understanding
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Random Prompt Powerpoint

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Random Prompt Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint, providing three different levels of grid to help customise the Random Prompt thinking tool, a tool for kick starting ideas.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Creativity Memory
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Books:

Similes Dictionary

Similes Dictionary A fun and comprehensive resource book of similes. Use it to stimulate discussion, encourage thinking. And to inspire children to invent their own similes.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Language

Tags: Comparison Simile

Websites:

Metaphors

Metaphors A non-nonsense site providing quick and clear descriptions of popular and lesser know metaphors.

http://metaphors.com/

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Websites, Language

Tags: Comparison Metaphor



Next month we think about... Advance Organisers