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Lesson Plan

Writing about Writing: An Extended Metaphor Assignment

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Writing about Writing: An Extended Metaphor Assignment

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Useful at key points in a term, such as the beginning or end of the term, this lesson asks students to reflect on their writing process, and helps the teacher learn more about students' habits and techniques as writers. Students begin by reading and analyzing the poem "The Writer" by Richard Wilbur, particularly discussing the use of extended metaphor. Students then reflect on their own writing habits, compare themselves as writers to the writer in the poem, and brainstorm possible metaphors for themselves as writers. Finally, students complete one of several recommended projects to extend the metaphor describing themselves as writers. Throughout the process, students share their work in small groups.

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"The Writer" by Richard Wilbur: Analysis of this poem sets the stage for students' work with extended metaphor.

Writing Habits Journal Questions: Use these questions to help students reflect on their own habits as writers.

Writing Metaphor Assignment: This assignment offers several projects that students can choose to extend a metaphor describing themselves as writers, including creating a scrapbook, designing a CD cover, writing a paper, or writing a short story.

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This project asks students to think deeply about their writing and how they work as writers. This process of deep reflection helps students improve as writers. Dawn Swartzendruber-Putnam explains:

"Reflection is a form of metacognition-thinking about thinking. It means looking back with new eyes in order to discover-in this case, looking back on writing. As Pianko states, ‘The ability to reflect on what is begin written seems to be the essence of the difference between able and not so able writers from their initial writing experience onward' (qtd. in Yancey 4)" (88).

Rather than reflecting on a single piece of writing, this activity asks students to analyze the trends and patterns in their own writing. By exploring their work, they identify the habits that work well and those that need rethought.

Further Reading

Swartzendruber-Putnam, Dawn. "Written Reflection: Creating Better Thinkers, Better Writers." English Journal 90.1 (September 2000): 88-93.

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