Writing Activity: Figurative Language

Using art to create metaphors and similes 

  1. Teachers and docents find that writing with art is an exciting, productive activity. Whether you are in a museum or a classroom, the following ideas and prompts can be springboards to writing for many purposes.  

    Engagement Strategies: Have you ever looked at something unusual and the only way you could describe it to someone was to say ”This reminds me of...” Poets do this all the time when they use a metaphor or simile. Ex. Bare branches –fingers reaching for the sky. 

    Questions/Talking Points:

    Abstract art doesn’t always look like anything in real life. But it often reminds us of something that gets us thinking or having a certain feeling.

    Take some time observing one piece of abstract art from modern and contemporary gallery as a model. What do you see? Does it remind you of something, even though it might not look like anything you’ve seen in the real world? Let’s give it a title.

    Do you have a sense of movement when you look at this? Let’s use action verbs to describe what we see.

    A metaphor (or simile using ”like”) is a comparison between what we know and what we want to understand or describe. Let’s make one for this piece. “A rainbow snake” “River of color”

    Let’s end by giving it another title. 

    Possible Props: 

    “Something like a Poem” handout: a template of a 4 line poem with two examples

    Create a poem together then invite students to roam the gallery and repeat the activity with a different work of art. 


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Description — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 14 2017 @ 1:20 pm)
Metaphor — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 14 2017 @ 1:20 pm)
Simile — by Margaret Grace VanderVliet (April 14 2017 @ 1:20 pm)

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Last Updated

May 18, 2017 1:54 p.m.


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