ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Simple Lesson Plan: Identification of Similes and Metaphors in Popular Music

Updated on March 25, 2015

A Quick Review of Similes and Metaphors

This lesson plan is meant to be used after your students have had the chance to learn what similes and metaphors are, so it doesn't put a lot of emphasis on definitions.

That being said, if you haven't discussed similes and metaphors at all yet, you might want to give your students some background knowledge before jumping into this lesson.

If your students are anything like mine, they need opportunities to review often, so I've provided an easy way to get things going and refresh your students' memories before you really delve into the lesson.

I would start off my class with a quick review of similes and metaphors by having a few fill in the blank comparisons on the board when my students walked into class. You could use some sentences like this:

  • I was as angry as (a) _______________.
  • She was a wild _________________.
  • He is ____________ like a book.
  • This school is a __________________.
  • I am as _________________ as the ocean.

I would then ask my students to do two things.

  1. Fill in the blanks to create some fun comparisons
  2. Identify each sentence as either a simile or a metaphor.

Once your students have had time to work on this quick review, you can have them share their sentences with a neighbor and then ask for a few students to volunteer to share their creative similes and metaphors with the class.

As you go through each sentence, have the whole class signal whether the sentence was a simile or a metaphor by:

  • showing a thumbs up for simile
  • showing a thumbs down for metaphor

If you feel like your students still need a little more review knowing the difference between similes and metaphors, you can ask them to change each of their similes to metaphors and each of their metaphors to similes.


Setting Up the Activity

Next you will either need to have each student pull out a piece of paper to draw a t-chart on or if you want, you can create a worksheet in advance with several t-charts already on it.

Tell the students that at the top of their first t-chart, they should write the title of whatever song you play, and on each side of the t-chart, they should write down similes and metaphors that they hear.

You can look at my sample t-chart below to see what this might look like. I only made room for three similes and three metaphors, but obviously if you want your students to find more than that, you are welcome to have them find more. My chart is only an example.

I found that sometimes it was hard to find songs that have multiple similes and metaphors, so you might want to tell the kids that for some songs they are listening for mostly similes or mostly metaphors. Just do whatever works best for you.

Song Title


Now For the Fun Part! Identifying Similes and Metaphors in Songs

I found several songs with similes and metaphors in them a few years ago. You are welcome to use some of the ideas that I had or come up with some of your own.

Obviously, the students really like it if you use songs that are currently popular, but I kind of like to throw in a mix of everything.

I usually tell my students that I will only play each song twice, and encourage them to write down as many similes and metaphors as they can the first time through.

It's easy for the students to get distracted and forget what their assigned task was if they start to get lost in the beat of the music.

If I notice that there are a lot of students with blank space on their t-charts after the first time through the song, I'll usually help point out some of the similes and metaphors to them the second time around.

I've included several links to songs below and provided the similes and metaphors in each song, so you can just choose the ones that you like the best.

Do you think your students are more engaged in lessons that have music involved?

See results

Further Applications

After your students have had the chance to listen to several songs and identify the similes and metaphors in those songs, there is still room to take this lesson further if you want.

I have two more extensions to this assignment that you can use, but of course if you can think of something better, by all means do what you think would be best for your class.

The two extensions that I might do are as follows:

  1. Have the students use the similes and metaphors they identified in the songs as templates to start your students off, but have them create some variations on those similes and metaphors. For example: "You make me spin like a record," (from Smile) could be changed to, "You make me spin like a tornado."
  2. Have the students write songs or poems of their own and give them a specific requirement for how many similes and metaphors that they need to use. (You can let them borrow the tune of a different song if it is intimidating for them to think about coming up with a song on their own.)

Similes and Metaphors in Katy Perry's Firework

Katy Perry's "Firework" is full of similes and metaphors and is a favorite with many students. This link takes you to a video with the lyrics so that students can follow along.

  • feel like a plastic bag
  • like a house of cards
  • like the fourth of July
  • you're a firework
  • There's a spark in you
  • like a waste of space
  • like a lightning bolt

Similes in Smile by Uncle Kracker

Here's the link for Uncle Kracker's "Smile." This one also has lyrics included on the video so that your students can follow along.

  • smile like the sun
  • Sing like a bird
  • Spin like a record
  • dance like a fool
  • Shine like gold
  • Buzz like a bee
  • like a flower poking through the sidewalk crack

Similes and Metaphors in Selena Gomez's A Year Without Rain

Here's a video that shows the lyrics for this song that kids love. You'll love it too with so many similes and metaphors.

  • My world is an empty place
  • Like I've been wandering the desert
    For a thousand days
  • A day without you is like a year without rain
  • My heart is yearning
    Like the ocean that's running dry
  • like the ground is crumbling underneath my feet
  • There's gonna be a monsoon when you get back to me
  • let this drought come to an end
  • make this desert flower again
  • It's a world of wonder with you in my life

Similes and Metaphors in Garth Brooks' The River

I do have a link to this song, but unfortunately it doesn't show the lyrics, so your students will just have to listen carefully.

  • a dream is like a river
  • a dreamer's just a vessel
  • each day a constant battle
  • Like a bird upon the wind
  • These waters are my sky

Similes and Metaphors in Better Midler's The Rose

Your students might think this one is a little old school, but "The Rose" has a lot of metaphors in it.

  • it is a river that drowns the tender reed
  • it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed
  • it is a hunger an endless aching need
  • it is a flower
  • you, it's only seed
  • It's the heart, afraid of breaking
  • It's the dream, afraid of waking
  • It's the one who won't be taken
  • And the soul, afraid of dying

Similes and Metaphors in The Beatles' Hard Day's Night

Alright, I admit that Hard Day's Night doesn't have a whole ton of similes and metaphors in it, but it's nice for a change of pace if you plan on listening to a lot of songs.

  • I've been working like a dog
  • Sleeping like a log

Similes in Sugarland's Stuck Like Glue

"Stuck Like Glue" is another one that's nice to add for variety. It doesn't have a lot of similes, but it repeats the ones that it has over and over again, so it's easy for kids to find them.

  • Feel like a bird
  • Stuck like glue

Similes and Metaphors in Ricky Martin's She Bangs

I wouldn't recommend playing "She Bangs" in just any classroom, but if you feel comfortable with it and don't think it will make your class go crazy, it does have a lot of samples of figurative language in it.

  • You blow me off like it's all the same
  • Like a bomb
  • like a Gemini
  • Like a drum
  • she looks like a flower but she stings
    like a bee
  • Like every girl in history

Can you think of more songs that have similes and metaphors? I'm sure that I'm not the only one who would like as many suggestions as possible.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Becca Linn profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Young 

      5 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks! I just know that when I was originally putting this together for my classes, I was wishing that I could have found something like it already put together online.

      Hopefully it will save time for some teachers out there that are looking for a fun way to reach about similes and metaphors.

    • Shane Ilagan profile image

      Shane M. Ilagan 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      this is very informative !


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)