My Favorite Collaborative Lesson: Mixing Figurative Language and Coding

As a school librarian collaborating with classroom teachers is a key component to our role in the school community. Collaboration can come in many forms, but the goal is to move past just the curation of resources. The focus is on connecting the library and classroom curriculum to provide authentic learning opportunities for students. Below is a mini-project that was developed alongside the third-grade teachers to teach figurative language. 

Grade Level: 3rd

Overview: This was a mini-project that was taught in two lessons, but could have been expanded if time allowed. Each lesson was thirty minutes long and was co-taught with the classroom teacher. These lessons were taught after students were already exposed to various types of figurative language. The third-grade teachers shared with me that they wanted to expand on these concepts. Additionally, the teachers were looking to incorporate an activity for Computer Science week. We discussed ideas together. Then using a read-aloud and inspiration from Google’s CS First Curriculum the two lessons below were developed. 

Lesson 1: 


  • Students will be able to define different types of figurative language
  • Students will be able to find examples of different types of figurative language in a story
  • Inquire/Think I.A.2: Recall prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning
  • Explore/Think V.A.1: Read widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes 



  • 8 min: Give students the Figurative Language page.  Define the types of figurative language listed and give an example. (All of these types had previously been taught by the classroom teachers.)  
  • 10 min: Tell students they are going to be listening to a story twice. The first time they will just listen to the story and try to identify the figurative language they hear. Not all of the figurative language examples listed on their page will be in the story so we told the students it was going to be a bit like a scavenger hunt. Explain that we are not going to stop and discuss just yet. Read aloud There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach.  (The goal was to make sure the students heard the story from start to finish. We wanted them to enjoy the story before breaking it apart.)
  • 12 min: Read the story a second time. Stop when students hear an example of figurative language and have them write it on their Figurative Language page. 


  • Students should have a completed Figurative Language page to use in the next lesson. 

Tips and Tricks: 

  • This lesson was taught during remote learning so having an e-book version of the story helped a lot. Since the pictures are a part of what makes this book come to life it was important for them to be able to see them easily. The e-book was available from OverDrive, and I was able to show it to students by sharing my screen and using the Sora App.
  • You may not have time to read the book all the way through during the second reading. It was helpful to have identified the figurative language examples in the story ahead of time. Then if we needed to jump ahead to identify an example from our list we could easily do so.
  • When co-teaching with the classroom teacher one of us focused on the reading and the other led the discussion and identification of the figurative language. 
  • You will not find an example of alliteration in this story.

Lesson 2: 

This lesson was modified from Google for Education’s CS First Curriculum lesson on Figurative Language. Instead of using Scratch, we chose to use Scratch Jr. because the students were already familiar with this application. It is a bit simpler to use too. We wanted them to focus more on creating a program that would share figurative language then learning to use the app itself. 


  • Students will create a program using Scratch Jr. to share one example of figurative language from the story There Are No Bears in This Bakery.
  • Inquire/Create I.B.3: Generates a product that illustrates learning. 
  • Collaborate/Create III.B.1: Uses a variety of communication tools and resources.


  • Students completed the Figurative Language page from lesson 1
  • Scratch Jr. app on iPads


  • 10 min: Show students an example project they will be creating. Walk them through the steps to open the app and begin a new project. Give them a brief review of what they need to create their program. They were also given the three things they need to include in their final project.
    • Three things to include: 
      • Background and character that matches your example
      • Program to show chosen figurative language
      • Recording or speech bubble to share what type of figurative language is represented
  • 20 min: Have students choose an example from their Figurative Language page and create a program to show it. Give them time to work on their projects. If they finish they can share their work with a partner (making sure to practice social distancing while sharing of course). 


  • Students will have a completed project that will include the three requirements.  

Tips and Tricks:

  • For this lesson, we had returned to in-person learning with some students remaining remote. This made helping students with their individual projects much easier because the classroom teacher and I could circulate around the room. This could be done in fully remote learning but may require a slower pace when teaching the coding concepts and use of the app.  
  • You could also have students create a screen recording of their final project in order for it to be shared.

What makes this one of my favorites?

I loved that this mini-project came about so naturally and allowed the classroom and library curriculum to fit so easily together. I loved that this project focused on a picture book. Sometimes my third graders think they do not need to read picture books anymore, that they are too old for them, but all of them enjoyed this story! I also loved that the kids were so excited to share their work with others. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me!

What are your favorite collaborative lessons? I would love to hear about them! 


Figurative Language: Student Activities – CS First:

National School Library Standards Crosswalk with Code with Google’s CS First Curriculum (Publication).:

Role of the School Library (Publication):


Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a school librarian for the past eleven years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a school librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I currently serve as secretary of my state association, Michigan Association of School Librarians (MASL).

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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