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by Shannon Browne and Bernadette M. López-Fitzsimmons | 21 Dec 2017
Resource Description:

This is the first lesson of the Unit.  Students will read [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] by e.e. Cummings. Students will learn about metaphors and how to create their own so that they will be able to write their own poem at the end of the unit.

The final poem can be accompanied by an art project depicting the poem's meaning.  Emphasis is on reading, writing, and creativity.

Audience: Adult, Secondary, University
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: one 50 - 60 minute class
Language Skill: Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Content Area:

Students will learn what metaphors are and how they are used in poetry. They will learn how to identify them and create them.

Important vocabulary includes

  1. metaphor
  2. rhythm
  3. poem
  4. poetry
  5. poet
  6. lyrics
  7. rhetoric
  8. rhetorical device(s)
  9. comparison, verse(s)
  10. voice’s pitch or cadence (intonation)
  11. musical tone.


Materials and Technology:

The poem “I carry your heart with me [I carry it in my heart]” by E.E. Cummings

(typed on a paper handout), pens, sheets of paper, leveled and differentiated

 graphic organizers, index cards, etc.


          Linguistic Objective

          Students will be able to (SWBAT) identify the rhythm of the poem                    by reciting it aloud after the teacher reads it to them.

  1. Though reading is the main focus skill, students will also practice listening in pair-share or turn-and-talk activities, whole-class share and as individual students present metaphors and their meanings aloud. 
  2. Speaking will be practiced in pair and turn-and-talk activitiesStudent will also practice speaking during the whole class recital of the poem.
  3. Writing will be practiced on leveled and differentiated graphic organizers.   Students will also write the meaning of a metaphor on an exit slip.   
  4. Therefore, the four language-learning skills will be practiced even though the main focus of this lesson is reading.
  5.  This lesson will lead up to the unit’s final project in which students will create their own poems accompanied by an art project.

         Instructional Objective

          Students will be to identify metaphors in e.e.cummings' poem, i will                carry your heart with me [i carry it in]


   The teacher will distribute the handout with the typewritten lyrics of       “Firework” by Katy Perry.

     The teacher will play this song for the students.

      The teacher will highlight a metaphor and ask the students what this               means.

       The teacher will explain that a metaphor compares a person or thing to            an object without using the words “like” or “as”.

  The teacher will explain this type of comparison called a metaphor (rhetorical device) in more detail.

The teacher will invite students to Turn and Talk to a partner.  Each pair will find three or more metaphors in the song “Firework”.

The teacher will have students share what they found in all class share.




  1. The teacher will distribute the handout with the typewritten poem “I carry your heart with me [I carry it in my heart]” by E.E. Cummings to each student.
  2.  The teacher will read the poem aloud having students listen carefully to the varied intonation—varied intonation (pitch or cadence) of her voice adding musicality to the poem.
  3. The teacher will ask students what they notice about the way she reads the poem.
  4. The teacher will then explain that she uses a musical tone in reading poetry aloud by altering the pitch or cadence of her voice.
  5. The teacher will explain that this is known as intonation which is important in noting the rhythm of verse in poems and lyrics of songs.
  6. The teacher will invite all students to read the poem aloud in whole class share in order to experience the rhythm.  
  7. Students will then be able to experience the varied intonation and rhythm by listening to the whole class recital of the poem.
  8. Students will also experience how to vary their voice’s pitch or cadence (intonation) in order to have a musical rhythm in reciting the poem.
  9. The teacher will review the poem line-by-line, analyzing the meaning with students.
  10. The teacher will ask the students what they notice about the poem.
  11. The teacher will explain that the poem is made up of many metaphors.
  12. The teacher will ask students to find the metaphors with their partners (from the earlier Turn-and-Talk activity). She will ask students to explain what they think each metaphor means.
  13. The teacher will give a graphic organizer (leveled and differentiated) to each pair of students.
  14. The teacher will demonstrate this activity by doing the first one as an example. She will write the example on the board.
  15. The teacher will ask students to write the metaphor on one side of the graphic organizer and the meaning on the reverse side of the graphic organizer.
  16. The teacher will also have a graphic organizer with the metaphors and meanings listed for students who are not as advanced and need more help. 
  17. The teacher will demonstrate this activity by doing the first one as an example for
  18. The teacher will have each pair share aloud a metaphor and its meaning.
  19. The teacher will ask the pairs to create their own metaphor.
  20. The teacher will provide an example before students work in pairs creating their own metaphors.
  21. Each pair will have to explain the meaning of their metaphor.
  22. Each pair will change the pitch or cadence of their voice to develop a rhythm.
  23. The teacher will invite students share their metaphors aloud. She will invite students to play with the intonation so that they develop a rhythm in the oral presentation of their metaphors.
  24. The teacher will write a metaphor on the board at the conclusion of the lesson.
  25. The teacher will ask students to write the meaning of the metaphor on an index card (exit slip) before leaving.
  26. As students exit the classroom they will submit their index card (exit slip) to the teacher. 
  1. The students will recite the poem aloud to show understanding of the rhythm.
  2. The students will analyze and explain the meanings of metaphors.
  3. The students will identify metaphors in the poem (E.E. Cummings) and the song (Katie Perry).
  4. The students will create metaphors and explain their meanings. 

The students will explain the meaning of a metaphor on an exit slip.  They will submit the exit slip to the teacher as they exit the classroom.

At the end of the unit, the students will create an original poem using their own metaphors.  Students will also create original rhythms to their own poems.


   An art project could be added to accompany the original poems students create.  Some students might choose to put their poems to music.  Other might want to dramatize their poems in a campus poetry reading.


Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1991).


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TESOL Interest Section: Adult Education, Bilingual Education, Intensive English Programs, Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL