Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites, Chapter 8

Thanks for stopping by for our latest link-up in our book study....

Today we're talking all about metaphors, analogies, and similes.  You're excited, right?!

This is one of those chapters that made me think.  
It's all about making connections.  Marcia Tate says that this is the MOST EFFECTIVE strategy.  

I'm certain this is a strategy I don't implement enough.  
Dang.  Of course I wouldn't be implementing the MOST EFFECTIVE strategy as much as I should!!

But what makes this the most effective strategy?!  Why are metaphors, analogies, and similes so important to implement?!
  It's all about the CONNECTIONS.  
Say it with me now....CONNECTIONS.

Research has proven that our brains are wired to search for connections and patterns.  Constantly.  We're always talking to our kids about making connections, sure.  Especially when we're reading.  But how often are we modeling those connections in our daily classroom happenings??  

I loved Marcia's example.  When she introduces the concept of Main Idea, she explains to her kids that the Main Idea and Details are like the table and the legs.  The top of the table is the main idea and the legs are the supporting details.  Great connection and visual imagery.  Why didn't I ever think of that?!  

I know that I'm good about incorporating similes into our writing.  I give my kids many opportunities to write different similes throughout the year...especially around the holidays.

Something that popped in my head as I was reading this chapter was my vocabulary instruction.  After reading the book Word Nerds, I became so much more intentional about implementing  structured vocabulary instruction into my plans. We are CONSTANTLY making connections during this time.  Synonyms, antonyms, examples/non-examples, etc.  This is SO important in vocabulary instruction.  Again, it's all about making connections to make those abstract words more concrete.  

Making "synonym rolls" for different vocabulary words really brought this concept to life!

But metaphors and analogies?!  Do I use these enough??  I'm thinking NO.  I was reading Elizabeth's post on this chapter earlier and she mentioned that she uses glue bottles as an analogy...vowels are like the glue that hold our words together.  That reminded me that I do the same thing. there's ONE analogy ;)

When we're learning about writing and how to space our letters and words, I've always referred to the space between letters as "spaghetti" spaces...thin.  The space between words is more like a "meatball" space.  Just a little bigger :)  I always tell my friends that I don't like alphabet soup...the letters are all jumbled up and I can read any of them. I tell them I don't want to see "alphabet soup" when they're writing.  They need to show me spaghetti and meatball spaces.  After all, pasta is my favorite food.  Give me pasta, not alphabet soup :)  

I know I can get better about using this strategy and seeing as it's the MOST EFFECTIVE, I know this is where I need to focus!!

I'm anxious to read about how you implement this strategy in your classroom, so be sure to link up below! 

In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica's Ed Ventures Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin' it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)

You can join in for whatever part you like! If you are not a blogger, that is OK! We will want you to join in on the fun. You can participate in the conversation in the comments. We want this to be a positive collaboration between teachers! The whole point is to encourage each other with inspiring ideas while still using research based best practice.

Now link up and let's share strategies!!!


  1. Thanks for hosting this week, Cara, and for reminding me of the spaghetti and meatballs idea! I used this all the time in my classroom. Your post reminded me that this would be a great analogy to introduce to my first grade granddaughter! :)
    Linda at Primary Inspiration

  2. The synonym rolls are my favorite! Your creativity never ceases to amaze me :)

  3. Metaphors & Similes! I had to really dig deep into these while teaching 3rd grade! It was a tough concept at first, but once we made out own connections using metaphors & similes the kids were easily able to understand them while reading!

    Fishing for Education Blog