ALEX Lesson Plan


Similes and Metaphors in Pop Culture Music

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Capri Day
System: Tuscaloosa City
School: Southview Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33047


Similes and Metaphors in Pop Culture Music


This interactive lesson allows students to practice identifying and interpreting similes in metaphors in pop culture music. The lyrics from pop culture songs like, "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes, "Firework" by Katy Perry, and "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus make identifying similes and metaphors exciting for students. Students will take the similes and metaphors and work in small groups to determine meaning and analyze their overall impact on the songs.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (7)
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama. [RL.7.4]
ELA2015 (7)
13. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone. [RI.7.4]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will be able to identify similes and metaphors in pop culture songs.
  • Students will determine the meaning of similes and metaphors in pop culture songs.
  • Students will analyze the overall impact of similes and metaphors in specified pop culture songs.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • Similes and Metaphors in Music Graphic Organizer
  • Pop culture music selections ("Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes, "Firework" by Katy Perry, and "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus)

  • If YouTube is unavailable at the work location, teachers may go to and download the video to a flashdrive or other device to use for instruction.

Technology Resources Needed:

  • YouTube Videos

  • Interactive whiteboard or projector for projection of music lyrics for student visibility.
  • Audio capabilities via projection device.


  • The students will need to have thorough knowledge of similes and metaphors and be able to make distinctions between the two.
  • Students need to be familiar and confident with rules for small group and class discussion.
  • For effectiveness, teachers should review the concept that similes and metaphors not only contribute to music in big ways, but these devices also contribute to our understanding and enjoyment of literature.

1. As students enter the classroom, there will be a quickwrite available to answer. (This can be either written on an interactive whiteboard, read aloud, or available on a handout.) Students will answer the following question by filling in the blank. A simile uses the words _like_ or __as__ to compare two things. A metaphor does not use _like__ or _as__ to compare, it just says that something _is__. Teacher will allow students 1 minute to turn and talk to a partner to review their answers. Teacher will review answers and then tell students that similes and metaphors not only change the way we think about literature, but they also influence our everyday life through music.

2. Teacher will hand students the similes and metaphors in music graphic organizer. (attached) Teacher will explain that the graphic organizer will be filled out as we move throughout the lesson. Teacher will play "Firework" by Katy Perry (attached) once, allowing students to listen and read the lyrics on the screen. At the end of the selection, the teacher will demonstrate writing one example of a simile or metaphor that he/she discovered in the song. After writing, the teacher will lead the class in a discussion of the literary device and discuss its meaning. The teacher will lead the class in filling out the second column on their graphic organizer. Finally, the teacher will solicit class responses concerning how the device makes the song more interesting. These responses will be recorded in the final column of the graphic organizer. The teacher will then allow students to work in small groups to repeat the process on the next two songs, "Stereo Hearts" and "The Climb." (attached)

3. Students will complete a 3-2-1 exit card in which they list three similes or metaphors that they found in the music selection. They will list 2 ways that those devices work to make the music more interesting. Finally, they will create one simile or metaphor of their own that could productively be added to the song.

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Assessment Strategies

Formative assessment of discussion and student comprehension will be conducted through analysis of the discussion, graphic organizer, and 3-2-1 exit slips may be taken up and graded for accuracy and/or effort.


Students can use the beat of a familiar song or tune to create their own song about school (or any given subject). This created song should include at least 5 meaningful similes or metaphors, one of which should exist within the chorus.


For students who need extra assisstance, printed lyrics from selected songs and highlighters may be provided.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.