Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

My Love Is Like Figurative Language

Figurative Language in Romeo and Juliet

Chelsee Wilson | Published: November 4th, 2022 by K20 Center


Is love really like a red, red rose? Or is that just a way to describe how someone feels about love? This lesson explores different types of figurative language used by Shakespeare in "Romeo and Juliet." Students will play a short game to identify types of figurative language, develop their own definitions of figurative language, and highlight excerpts from "Romeo and Juliet" before creating their own Anchor Charts.

Essential Question(s)

How might being able to recognize literary features help us in appreciating literature? 



Students play a game where they identify types of figurative language in popular song lyrics.


Working in groups, students select one of four types of figurative language, write their own definition, and cite examples.


Students read an excerpt from the play "Romeo and Juliet" and use categorical highlighting to identify examples of figurative language.


Students work in groups to create Anchor Charts illustrating figurative language examples from the play.


Students revisit the figurative language game to check their understanding and submit their Anchor Charts.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Notebook or copy paper

  • Pens and pencils

  • Deck of cards

  • Window Notes handouts (attached, one per student)

  • Romeo and Juliet Excerpts handouts (attached, printed single-sided; one copy per 5 students)

  • Romeo and Juliet Excerpts Teacher's Guide (attached)

  • Highlighters in four colors

  • Student devices with Internet access (optional)

  • Poster paper

  • Markers


Display slide 3, and share the essential question with students.

Display slide 4, and share the learning objectives for the lesson. The focus of the lesson will be identifying four types of figurative language and analyzing how figurative language affects writing.

Organize students into groups of 3 or 4. Explain that they are going to play a short game related to figurative language in pop culture. Make it clear that this game is not for a grade but only to help them assess what they currently know about figurative language.

Have each group select a scribe, and give each scribe a sheet of paper to track the group's answers.

To play the game, use the video on slide 5. Pause the video after each song clip, allowing students time to confer in their groups and write down which type of figurative language the lyrics demonstrate: hyperbole, metaphor, personification, or simile.

Play the game until students have seen clips from 14 songs, up to 7:41 on the video.

Go over the answers as a class. Ask groups to analyze their list of answers for any trends that they might see. Did they mix up metaphors and similes? Did they only miss examples of hyperbole? Did they correctly identify all of the examples of personification?

Have students share out the trends they noticed and make any other observations. Before moving on to the next activity, ask scribes to turn in their answer sheets for you to keep in a safe place. Groups will refer back to these later in the lesson.


Keep students in their small groups, and display slide 6. Present students with a standard deck of cards, and ask one student from each group to choose a card.

The card's suit represents the type of figurative language that the group will focus on for the next activity.

  • Hearts: Personification

  • Spades: Simile

  • Clubs: Metaphor

  • Diamonds: Hyperbole

Display slide 7 and pass out copies of the Window Notes handout. Working in the Window Notes pane for their assigned figurative language type, students should:

  1. Cite one example from the video.

  2. Work together to write a definition.

  3. Create their own examples.

After groups have had time to work, ask for a volunteer from each group to share out. As other groups present their work, students should fill in the remaining three panes of their Window Notes handouts with definitions and examples so that they have notes about each of the four types. They will need these notes to refer back to as they complete additional activities in this lesson.


Display slide 8, and explain to students that they will be working in groups to read excerpts from the play Romeo and Juliet to identify examples of figurative language.

Display slide 9, and assign each student a number, 1 through 5. Have students gather in groups based on their assigned number, and pass out copies of the corresponding numbered excerpts from the Romeo and Juliet Excerpts handout.

Ask students to read the excerpts and highlight examples of metaphors, similes, personification, and hyperbole in the text using Categorical Highlighting. Refer to the Romeo and Juliet Excerpts Teacher's Guide in the attachments for a key with numerous instances of figurative language highlighted.


Display slide 10. Working in the same groups, students will now create an Anchor Chart for one of the four figurative language types they've been studying: hyperbole, metaphor, simile, or personification. Their Anchor Charts should include all of the following:

  • A group definition of their assigned type

  • An example from the Romeo and Juliet excerpt they read and highlighted

  • An illustration to accompany their example

  • Answers to the questions Why was the figurative language used? and What does it add to the literature?

Display slide 11, and pass out a pad of sticky notes to each group. Groups will participate in a Gallery Walk to view all of the Anchor Charts. Have groups use the sticky notes to write constructive feedback, leave questions, or point out what they like about the charts.

When groups return to their original charts, display slide 12, and give them 3-5 minutes to read through the feedback they received and make any necessary adjustments.


Display slide 13, and have students return to their original groups from the beginning of the lesson. Have groups elect a scribe, and provide the scribes with a fresh sheet of paper.

Play the figurative language in songs game again, having the scribes track their group's answers.

Once the game is over, return the sheets containing the groups' original answers, and have them compare their "scores" from the first and second rounds.

Wrap up the activity with a whole-class discussion. Some questions you might ask include: How have your responses changed? How has your understanding of figurative language changed since the first round of the game?How do you think figurative language affects writing? How do you think the use of figurative language in the music changed the songs?How might the songs be different if figurative language wasn’t used to enhance them?

Have students submit their Anchor Charts as an assessment for this lesson.