ELA.RL.5.4

Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature K-5
  • 5:  5th Grade
  • 4:  Determine the meaning of words and phrases
    as they are used in a text, including figurative
    language such as metaphors and similes.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

|
ELA.L.4.5a

Common core State Standards

  • ELA: 

    English Language Arts

  • L: 

    Language

  • 4: 

    4th Grade

  • 5a: 

    Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

    a. Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

    b. Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

    c. Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Jazz & Similes: Language Meets Music
Lesson Objective: Understand and use similes to express ideas in writing
Grades 4-5 / ELA / Arts Integration
ELA.RL.5.4 | ELA.L.4.5a

Thought starters

  1. How does reading the book about Duke Ellington help students write their own similes?
  2. Note how Ms. Letford uses her voice to keep students engaged. What strategies does Ms. Letford use to make this lesson accessible to English Language Learners?
18 Comments
Loved it , very imaginative both on the teachers part and students involvement and imagination. Music is very good fro young and old alike and knitting it into a lesson is a good idea
Recommended (0)
Thanks for sharing professor! I like this website and am now a member!
Recommended (0)
The integration of subjects is clear in this instructor's classroom. I can only imagine how much the general ed. teachers appreciate Ms. Letford for enriching their language with lessons like these!
Recommended (1)
This is an amazing session that illustrates how classroom learning should happen. Truly inspiring!
Recommended (0)
Very inspiring and motivating!
Recommended (0)

Transcripts

  • Transcript for Language Meets Music
    01:00:00 City street [MUSIC]
    01:00:03 EXT. music school entrance
    Houses and Buildings GENEIN (VO):
    Most

    Transcript for Language Meets Music
    01:00:00 City street [MUSIC]
    01:00:03 EXT. music school entrance
    Houses and Buildings GENEIN (VO):
    Most of my students are from the local area from Canoga Park.
    01:00:09 INT. music school GENEIN (VO):
    Most of them are English language learners. We're one of the few schools left, I guess, that has a music program within the school day, but I honestly believe that music, and the other arts as well, should be given to all kids no matter what status, no matter if they can afford it or not. Some of my students have a hard time expressing themselves with-with words. I just want to see if I can use that connecter of music using similes to give them a chance to express their thoughts.
    01:00:32 Language Meets Music graphic [MUSIC]
    01:00:38 Miss Jefferson deskplan and Genein Letford signage GENEIN:
    Similes are comparisons between two things and you use the word like or as, so you know, she was sneaky like a fox, you know, going through a hole.
    01:00:47 GENEIN LETFORD
    MUSIC TEACHER
    NEW ACADEMY CONOGA PARK GENEIN:
    And it just really makes you conjure up a picture of you know, a fox going through a hole and how sneaky this person could be.
    01:00:55 Classroom GENEIN:
    Class, class!
    01:00:55 STUDENTS:
    Yes! Yes!
    GENEIN:
    Class, class!
    STUDENTS:
    Yes! Yes!
    GENEIN:
    How are you doing?
    STUDENTS:
    Well.
    GENEIN:
    Well. All right. Let me bring this over here. As you can see, we are doing a lesson on who?
    STUDENTS:
    Duke Ellington!
    GENEIN:
    Duke Ellington. What month is this?
    01:01:10 Students STUDENTS:
    February.
    GENEIN:
    Which is what? What do we celebrate in February?
    STUDENT:
    President's Day.
    01:01:13 CU students STUDENTS:
    Black History.
    GENEIN:
    Black History Month.
    01:01:15 Students GENEIN (VO):
    The objective of this lesson, there is actually a few, to introduce jazz, introduce Duke Ellington as a pioneer of jazz, and also bringing in the connection of language arts in introducing what a simile is and how similes are a great tool to use for a descriptive writing.
    01:01:29 Genien GENEIN:
    I thought we would look at one person who's African American who's done an amazing job helping the music of this particular genre just go leaps and bounds, so we're gonna be studying about him and at the same time, as we learn about him, we're gonna be looking at some language arts standards. And what is this word?
    01:01:48 STUDENTS:
    Similes.
    GENEIN:
    Similes.
    01:01:50 Genein DEBBIE (VO):
    Miss Letford is our music teacher and she also works with our gifted and talented program.
    01:01:54 DEBBIE ELLIS
    PRINCIPAL
    NEW ACADEMY CANOGA PARK DEBBIE:
    Mrs. Letford has really done an incredible job of not just being a music teacher, but teaching everything and starting to engage in how we can combine the different disciplines, bring together more what's happening, bring about higher level thinking among our students.
    01:02:09 Genein GENEIN:
    I don’t know if I'm tricking them when I'm speaking in all these other aspects of learning underneath the music, so they're just eating it all up.
    01:02:15 Genein, classroom GENEIN:
    All right. Duke Ellington. Your author is Andrea Davis Pinkney and your illustrator's Brian Pinkney. What does an illustrator do?
    01:02:22 Genein STUDENTS:
    Draws!
    GENEIN:
    Draws the illustrations, pictures, drawings, things like that.
    01:02:28 Students GENEIN (VO):
    We're always fighting with vocabulary and that our kids don't have the vocabulary that they should have by-by this age.
    01:02:34 Genein GENEIN:
    So it could be difficult if they don’t have the words to really compare.
    01:02:38 Genein, Students GENEIN:
    You ever hear of the jazz playing man? The man with the cats who could swing with his band?
    01:02:43 GENEIN (VO):
    I read the book to them, and of course, teachers always want to be that example of how they want their kids to do. I always try to be very lively.
    01:02:51 GENEIN:
    Years later, on a steamy summer night, Duke heard that ump-yump sound played in a whole new way. Folks called the music ragtime. Piano that turned ump-eydump [PH] into a soul rousing rump.
    01:03:06 CU male student [MUSIC]
    01:03:09 WS students and Genein GENEIN:
    Snap it out. [SNAPS] And ascend with your hands and up… and descend. Up!
    01:03:20 Genein GENEIN:
    And another difficulty could be just getting the creative juices flowing, you know? [LAUGH] So it's just fun to connect the music as an art to writing as an art.
    01:03:27 Genein and students [MUSIC]
    GENEIN:
    Up! And snap it out. [SNAPS]
    01:03:36 GENEIN (VO):
    I play the music throughout the book because it just does a great job just engaging multiple senses at the same time, so their visual sense, their auditory sense.
    01:03:47 Genein GENEIN:
    Um, I make them snap their fingers, so that's the-the tactile going on with the rhythm, so they're thinking about the rhythm and-and-and the beat. The more systems that are engaged, the more memorable the time is, and the, I believe the more learning happens.
    01:04:00 Genein, students GENEIN:
    They grew to 12 musicians and changed their name to Duke Ellington and his orchestra. Night after night, they played their music, which was broadcasted live over the radio.
    01:04:12 Genein, students [MUSIC]
    GENEIN:
    Listen for your instruments. Listen for instruments that sound like something else. Snap it out. [SNAPS]
    01:04:30 GENEIN (VO):
    I promised myself two things: that no child would leave my classroom not knowing how to read, and no child would leave my classroom not knowing how to read music, so they read left to right, but they also read up and down.
    01:04:39 Genein GENEIN:
    You know, the pitch and the, this is time, so they're doing two things at the same time.
    01:04:43 Students FEMALE STUDENT 1:
    The piano.
    GENEIN:
    You heard a piano? Great.
    MALE STUDENT 1:
    Ah, was it the trumpet?
    GENEIN:
    Good. That-that was the main trumpets, and the trumpets were-were going how? Which, what sounds were the trumpets making.
    STUDENTS:
    High.
    GENEIN:
    High. Okay. But they were going kinda like [VOCAL SOUNDS]. What were they pretending to be with-with that sound? Yes.
    01:05:00 Students FEMALE STUDENT 2:
    A train?
    GENEIN:
    A train. Okay, and we'll, we're, we're about to see why. All right, so as this book goes on, we're gonna be looking for similes. Who knows from maybe some of your past lessons, what's a simile? What's a simile? Brian?
    BRIAN:
    Like something that you're comparing?
    GENEIN:
    Good. Something that-that you're comparing one thing with another. What are the two words that we norm-, normally use when-when ah, constructing similes? Yes.
    FEMALE STUDENT 3:
    Like or as?
    GENEIN:
    Like or as. Good. So as we look at the different musicians and how they're playing, you need to start listening for you similes, 'cause then you're, you're gonna be-be concocting your own, okay? What is concocting mean?
    STUDENTS:
    Making?
    GENEIN:
    Making. Good job. You're gonna be making your own.

    01:05:40 Genein, students GENEIN (VO):
    I do use music to express myself and I see my kids are starting to do that as well.
    01:05:44 GENEIN:
    All right, so with scatting, was she actually make, singing real ro-, real worsds?
    STUDENTS:
    No.
    GENEIN:
    No. She was singing what?
    STUDENTS:
    [OVERLAP]
    GENEIN:
    Just different random sounds, so everyone scat to your partner, bop-ba-doo-boop-boop-bop-bado-pado-pado. Do painted colors with the band sound. What do they mean by painted colors with the band sound? Who has a, I'll take a quiet hand for this one. What does it mean? They painted colors with the band sound? Esmeralda?
    ESMERALDA:
    They make beautiful sounds?
    GENEIN:
    Okay. They make beautiful sounds. Yes.
    MALE STUDENT 1: Um, there was very nice.
    GENEIN:
    Okay. Good. If I have a trumpet playing and a flute playing it sounded a particular way together, but what if I take away the flute and I add in a saxophone? Does it, will it sound different?
    STUDENTS:
    Yes.
    GENEIN:
    Yes. So what if I have a color red and I put the yellow with it and what new color will it make?
    STUDENTS:
    Orange.
    01:06:38 Students GENEIN:
    Orange, right? If I put together different instruments, I can have a new…
    STUDENTS:
    Sound.
    GENEIN:
    Sound. Good. So I love this artist 'cause they do a great job with showing that. You see how he's making different colors with the, with the sounds? Good. Now you heard of the jazz playing man. The man with the cats who could swing with the band. King of the kings. Piano Prince Edward Kennedy Ellington, The Duke. Let's give a round of applause for Duke Ellington.
    [APPLAUSE]
    GENEIN:
    Awesome. Awesome.
    01:07:06 Students
    Genein GENEIN:
    So after the book concluded, we really just looked at a few key quotes. First to just being really descriptive sentences and they had to create their own simile from that.
    01:07:16 Students, Genein GENEIN:
    Ah, let's read this together. Here's a picture from-from the book, and then you and your partner has, you have to concoct your own simile, okay? ABC, read, read with me.
    STUDENTS:
    Sunny Greer pounded out the bang of jump rope feet on the street with his snare drum.
    01:07:32 Students GENEIN (VO):
    Group work just helps them gets their thoughts out.
    01:07:35 Genein GENEIN:
    Helps them with their speaking skills. Helps them collaborate and take someone's idea, then build on-on it.
    01:07:41 Genein
    Students GENEIN:
    So they have us some great descriptive words. Yes?
    STUDENTS:
    Yes.
    GENEIN:
    Who can turn this into a sim-simile with your partner? I think so. Okay. Go! You can talk first before you star-start write, writing.
    STUDENTS:
    [OVERLAP]

    01: CU student MALE STUDENT 2:
    Joe was playing his trombone like sliding smooth metallic gold.
    FEMALE STUDENT 3:
    Tigers… I don’t think tigers are, they, yeah.
    GENEIN:
    You can use new words, like what is he-he playing?
    STUDENTS:
    Drums.
    GENEIN:
    The drums, so you can even use, yeah. You can use drums.
    FEMALE STUDENT 4:
    Maybe his drum was smooth and steady as a subway when it goes up through, through the street?
    FEMALE STUDENT 5:
    The subway beat… wait. What is a subway beat?
    GENEIN:
    All right. About 30 more seconds for this one. All right. Class, class finish up your last one you're writing on.
    01:08:37 Students
    Genein GENEIN:
    When I say class class, they have to say yes, yes, and they have to repeat it the same way that I say it, so that means they have to be listening and also giving me a physical response.
    01:08:45 Genein
    Students GENEIN:
    Class, class, class.
    STUDENTS:
    Yes, yes, yes.
    GENEIN:
    All right. Back on the carpet facing me, please.
    01:08:50 Debbie DEBBIE:
    She is constantly having the students move back and forth between each other, so she'll use calm response, but then also have them coming back together, then also hearing individual responses, so there's a lot of variation constantly changing to keep the students engaged.
    01:09:03 Students, Genein GENEIN:
    You two shares yours with them. You two share yours with them, and then you guys are gonna share yours with-with me. Okay?
    MALE STUDENT 1:
    Okay.
    GENEIN:
    Quickly.
    01:09:11 Genein, students
    Genein GENEIN (VO):
    Cause I want each pair to really hear what the other pairs are coming up with, so some pairs talk about the way the instrument looks, some pairs talk about the way the instrument sounds, and so they're pulling all these descriptive ah, areas of the same thing.
    01:09:22 Genein, students GENEIN:
    Adriana?
    ADRIANA:
    Joe Nansen was sliding his trombone like waves in the ocean.
    GENEIN:
    Okay. Joe Nansen was sliding his trombones like waves in the ocean. Okay. Good. So kinda like how the boat kinda slides on the waves? Cool.
    MALE STUDENT 3, FEMALE STUDENT 4:
    Joe Nansen was playing like a sassy fox.
    GENEIN:
    Oh. Sassy. Where did you get that word from?
    MALE STUDENT 3:
    The book.
    GENEIN:
    The book? Good job. Way to use the vocabulary from-from the book. Awesome. Ivan?
    IVAN:
    Joe's sound was like flaying up and down because of the tilt.
    GENEIN:
    Oh okay. So what does tilt mean?
    IVAN:
    Like the-the curviness?
    GENEIN:
    Okay. Good. So he's kind of like curving his sounds like [VOCAL SOUNDS] right? Awesome. Did you guys go yet?
    01:10:02 CU female students FEMALE STUDENT 4, FEMALE STUDENT 5:
    Joe's trombone was sliding like tree's leaves in the wind.
    GENEIN:
    Oh. Joe's trombone was sliding like the trees leaves in the wind. Okay so kinda going back and forth? Awesome. ABC, read with me!
    STUDENTS:
    James 'Bubber' Miley could make his trumpet wail like a man whose blues were deeper than the deep blue sea.
    01:10:24 Genein, students GENEIN:
    All right. He could make his trumpet what?
    STUDENTS:
    [OVERLAP]
    GENEIN:
    It-it could make his trumpet what?
    STUDENTS:
    Wail!
    GENEIN:
    Wail. So also when you're going, you guys are going onto sixth grade, and-and fifth grade, 'cause I have a mixed class, very-very soon, making sure you're not just saying play. He played. He played. Is this a great way to say he-he-he played?
    STUDENTS:
    Yes.
    GENEIN:
    Yeah. Do you kinda hear him wailing out his tru-trumpet/
    STUDENTS:
    Yes.
    01:10:48 Genein GENEIN:
    Awesome. Okay. So Alvaro and Esmeralda. Quickly, quickly, quickly. Standing up. Okay. They're gonna just try to pr-, play for you whatever comes to mind. What do I call when a musician plays whatever comes to mind?
    STUDENTS:
    Improvising.
    GENEIN:
    They're gonna just improvise and they-they're not gonna play a song in our songbooks. They just have to improvise and you have to write a simile from what's coming out of their instruments. What family is Esmeralda a part of? Her instrument?
    STUDENTS:
    Brass.
    GENEIN:
    Brass. Same family as him?
    STUDENTS:
    No.
    GENEIN:
    What family does his instrument belong to?
    STUDENTS:
    Wood.
    GENEIN:
    Why?
    STUDENTS:
    Because it has a reed. [OVERLAP]
    GENEIN:
    'Cause it has a reed. Good.
    01:11:28 Genein GENEIN:
    Most of these kids came to me with no instrumental training, so I know anything that they can do, I had something to do with that.
    01:11:35 Alvaro [MUSIC]
    01:11:43 Esmeralda [MUSIC]
    01:11:46 ESMERALDA:
    I've been playing the trumpet for about two years now. At first, I didn’t know how to do it, but then she taught me. Um, she gave me classes and then I decided to play more this year.
    01:11:57 Alvaro and Esmeralda [MUSIC]
    01:12:03 GENEIN:
    Round of applause, please.
    [APPLAUSE]
    GENEIN:
    Good job. Good job. All right. And go.
    01:12:18 Students, Genein GENEIN:
    And class, class, class.
    STUDENTS:
    Yes, yes, yes.
    GENEIN:
    Awesome. Um, anyone want to share? Anyone share. You can share about both of them. Yes?
    FEMALE STUDENT 5:
    Alvaro's saxophone was like a dolphin jumping out of the water.
    GENEIN:
    Oh, good. Do-do-do-do-do. Good. We-we can see it. Anyone else?
    FEMALE STUDENT 6:
    Alvaro's saxophone was like an imitation of a legato car horn.
    GENEIN:
    Okay. Wow. Awesome. Legato car horn. What does legato mean?
    FEMALE STUDENT 6:
    It means like it's smooth instead of like being.
    GENEIN:
    Le-gat-o. Good job. All right. Anyone else? Berlin.
    01:12:54 Students, Genein BERLIN:
    Esmeralda's tone was as deep as the ocean's floor.
    GENEIN:
    Okay. Esmeralda's tone. So she was playing those low notes. Good. And if you're on the ocean floor, you're very what?
    STUDENTS:
    Low.
    GENEIN:
    Low. Good. Jacqueline?
    JACQUELINE:
    Alvaro's saxophone was loud like the subway passing by.
    GENEIN:
    Good. And al-, also reminded me. Have you ever seen the people playing the saxophone next to the subway or something? Awesome. Okay, so from now on, when you write, especially when you know, you write your-your stories or your adventure stories or your persuasion essays or something like that or whatever your ah, your main teacher has you writing, who's gonna be writing with similes? You all should be writing with similes and I suggest that you pick up this book.
    01:13:32 Genein GENEIN (VO):
    The most rewarding thing about education is just knowing that you're impacting the future.
    01:13:40 GENEIN:
    Teaching is amazing. It's amazing being in a position of watching children come in in September and watching them leave in June knowing that they're grown and that they've developed in certain areas that you know will stay with them for-for the rest of their life.
    01:13:54 CREDITS [MUSIC]
    01:14:00 WINGSPAN PICTURES
    01:14:04 Fade to black

School Details

N.E.W. Academy Canoga Park
21425 Cohasset Street
Canoga Park CA 91303
Population: 500

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

Genein Letford
Arts / Kindergarten 1 2 3 4 5 / Teacher

Newest

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY