Tag Archives: Figurative Language

Working with Shapes

**See the update at the end of the post.**

This week I created a graphic to teach the idea that figurative language used by a writer helps readers create a picture in their mind.

Image #1

Figurative Language Types and Definition

My intended audience is 7th grade students at the beginning of the school year. These students will include English Learners as well as students with IEPs. Based on reading tests administered over the past several years, about half of the 7th grade students at my school read at 4th grade level of below. 7th grade students generally know the terms for simile, metaphor, and personification, but are not always sure why writers use these devices.

I chose to use a paint palette as the organizing tool for figurative language, because ovals often show unity of ideas (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). Writers use all of these devices (allusion, analogy, hyperbole, metaphor, personification, and simile) to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Each device can be used alone, or with other devices, just as a painter can use individual colors from the palette, or mix them with each other. I chose a square as my underlying display shape because it allowed me to show cause and effect between the reader and the writer. This essentially gave me two triangles for my images. I used a stick figure, rather than a cartoon figure simply because I could not draw an acceptable cartoon figure; I tried because I really wanted a cartoon figure, but none of them turned out. The stick figure allows me to use a thought bubble to show the effect of the writer’s use of figurative language on the reader.

From my user test, I learned that the message wasn’t completely clear because I had “writer” in the top left corner and “reader” in the bottom right corner. I made these changes and the revised image is the one shown above. My user also informed me that the purple behind personification was too dark, so I lightened that as well.


Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Van Gogh, Vincent. Starry Night. Accessed at wikimedia.org.

Update 2/25/2016: A couple of my friends reported that they had a hard time reading three of the paint splotches, so I lightened the color and tripled the resolution.

I also received some criticism that my stick figure doesn’t really match the rest of the image. Since I learned that I could, in fact, use clip art for this assignment, I tried a couple of different figures. Check out my additional images and let me know which one you think works best.

Image #2

Figurative Language Types and Definition 2nd try.fw

Image #3

Figurative Language Types and Definition 3rd try.fw