Metaphors Be With You.

Fox MapleLast week, metaphors tiptoed into Room 204.  They snuck into our third grade last Tuesday with Emily Dickinson, honored guest.  We were reading one of her poems.  Emily Dickinson wrote,  “The morns are meeker than they were; the nuts are getting brown.”  This is straightforward. But then she tells us, “The maple wears a gayer scarf.”  This is less straightforward.  We threw on our jackets and set out to find out what our new friend Emily was talking about.  On the right October day this is not hard to do.  Tuesday was the right October day.

We stood in front of Fox School and I pointed to a maple with a swath of orange color. “There,” I said, “I see a maple scarf, do you?”  A few hands slowly went up.

“I think I do!”

We moved to another tree. More hands went up.

“I see the gayer scarf, too!”

And then…

“Look across the street, Mrs. Campbell!  There is a scarf on that tree, too.”

We walked for a couple of blocks and found more “scarves” on maple trees.

“So,” I explained.  “The maple tree doesn’t actually have on a scarf.  That’s a metaphor for the swath of color on the maple tree in October. A metaphor sounds like it is one thing, but it is really telling us and helping us see something else.”

We picked up fallen leaves from the maple’s pavement collage beneath our feet.  When we got back to school, we slipped into the Teachers Lounge (after I determined that the coast was clear), and made our own scarf of color by slipping our leaves into the laminator.

Metaphors tiptoed in with Emily Dickinson last week.  They snuck in quietly, but we’ve invited them to stay.  We stumble on them all the time, but they are never in the way. Welcome, Emily Dickinson.  And welcome metaphors, we are glad you are here.

Autumn

by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown,

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown,

And lest I be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

About Annie Campbell

Annie Campbell is a National Board Certified third grade teacher and loves her work. She especially enjoys teaching children how to be enthusiastic readers, writers, and problem solvers. Every year, she hopes to inspire her students to be committed citizens who know they can make a difference in the world around them. When she is not teaching, Annie enjoys cooking for family and friends; she likes to lose herself in a good book; she loves discovering new ideas, restaurants, perfect picnic places, and movies with her husband, Ben.
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10 Responses to Metaphors Be With You.

  1. Libby says:

    Mariah (and I) can still recite this poem! So glad you are still passing on metaphors–and a love of Emily D–this way!

  2. Stacey says:

    How lovely that you captured their voices in your piece! I’m sure this is something they treasured!

  3. Maddi Mitchell says:

    “Metaphors Be With You” makes me laugh out loud! I miss you, your poetry, and your metaphors!!! I still remember, Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright…..Can’t wait to see you soon.

  4. Lisa Mitchell says:

    …and also with you! (I just HAD to) xo

  5. Brittny Hamilton says:

    I never really saw the importance of metaphors until having Mrs. Belcher for a professor and you too just put everything into perspective. Metaphors are a great teaching tool. I only have a few teaching metaphors currently, but I can’t wait for my list to grow! By the way, I loved the imagery with metaphors “tiptoed in!!!!!”

  6. Mallory says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I look forward to hearing you speak in class today. We have learned a little about imagery in our writing and I was excited in seeing it pop out in yours. I look forward to learning how to be subtle with my imagery as you were.

  7. Antionette says:

    “So,” I explained. “The maple tree doesn’t actually have on a scarf. That’s a metaphor for the swath of color on the maple tree in October. A metaphor sounds like it is one thing, but it is really telling us and helping us see something else.” This is a GREAT Metaphor. The description of the colors on a tree using a scarf of colors is tasty.

  8. Gloria Maldonado says:

    The first line caught my attention “metaphors tiptoed”; it’s a very creative form of starting this entry. Sometimes metaphors can be hard to understand and specially to teach to little kids but your students are very smart and quickly understand the concept.

  9. Lisa Benson says:

    Metaphors are an awesome tool to help students make a cool connection with what they are reading. I am discovering how much they can liven up a sentence and engage the reader. I like your idea of allowing them to identify the metaphor. I would love to create a list of metaphors for things outside and go around and have students try to identify each one. Then I could have them make a few of their own comparisons.

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