A Literature-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Teacher's Guide:

A Monster of a Metaphor

creating an extended metaphor with sentences that flow

This lesson was built for WritingFix by NNWP Teacher Consultant Tamara Turnbeaugh and then presented during an AT&T-sponsored in-service class for teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from chapter 5 of the book.

Check out The Grapes of Wrath at Amazon.com.

If you are a Washoe County teacher, click here to search for this book at the county library.

A note for teacher users: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Pre-step (before you share the published model): First, your students should be familiar with basic figurative language—specifically metaphors and personification.  Review or introduce this topic with your students.

One great way to discuss this is to go to the attached Jeep advertisements; this is an off-site link, and we cannot guarantee it'll always be there.  If you don’t have the ability to clearly show students computer images, print out one of the pictures on an overhead—preferably in color. Ask the students to what is the Jeep compared? (A: various insects.)  Why did the company make that comparison? (A: insects are outdoors; they can go anywhere) Why is this image particularly effective as an advertisement? (A: it caters to outdoors people with the gear.)

Step one (sharing the published model):  Second, read chapter 5 in the Grapes of Wrath. Stop after the rape of the land, just before the driver eating lunch.  To promote active listening/reading, use the attached graphic organizer and have students track the various things that are compared to the monster.  Have students use this to record words and phrases from the text.  Possible answers for the graphic organizer: the banks eat money, breathe profits, suck the blood of the land….. The driver is goggled, muzzled, inhuman, part of the tractor…The tractors crawl like insects, dig snouts in, have iron teeth, rape the land…

You might your ask the students the same questions you asked with the Jeep image(s).

Step two (introducing student models of writing):  In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups should certainly talk about the idea development, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's sentence fluency as well.

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.

Step three (thinking and pre-writing): Finally, have your students use the interactive buttons on the Student Instruction Page to launch ideas for their own extended metaphors.  Let students play with the interactive buttons , or write some of the choices on the chalk or white board for them to choose from.

Before they start drafting their extended metaphors, request that they strongly think about sentence fluency and sentence rhythm as they write.  Their sentences might start with different words, and they might attempt to create sentences with different lengths to achieve this rhythm.  To ensure that they are thinking about sentence fluency tricks, have them use the sentence fluency drafting sheet, which can be found just below.  This sheet's embedded Post-it® Note-sized template requires the students to revisit their own writing and rank their use of sentence fluency skills.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):  The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.


Learn more about author John Steinbeck by clicking here.

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