Do you want your students to learn about hyperbole? They embellish reality in a fun and exciting way to engage students while they learn. This literary element will help with your students’ creative writing and you can use it when discussing the author’s craft in their reading. Read on for How to Teach Hyperbole and Die Laughing!
1. INTRODUCE HYPERBOLE:
What is hyperbole? Using extreme exaggeration to make a point or to add humor.
Hyperbole: My leg is falling off!
Literal meaning: My leg is hurt.
Hyperbole: I’ve told you a gazillion times not to do that!
Literal Meaning: I’ve told you many times not to do that.
Hyperbole: Boston is the other side of the universe!
Literal meaning: Boston is far away
“I’m extremely tired” is not hyperbole, because although the person in the phrase is saying they are very tired; they are explaining it in a realistic way. Hyperbole needs to use a phrase so extreme that no one would mistake it for being the literal or actual meaning. “I could sleep for a billion years!” is so extreme and exaggerated that it has to be figurative language. That’s a hyperbole!
Clue words: Sometimes hyperboles use words that are extremes in themselves, like best, worst, never, always, and most. They also use ___ than or so … that.
Watch out! Sometimes hyperboles can be similes and metaphors, too! They might compare things, but it is an extreme comparison! For example, “He’s as old as the mountains!” is an extreme exaggeration about someone’s age, but it is also comparing things using the word as. All hyperboles are not similes or metaphors, but they can overlap.
Example Hyperbole: Lydia’s eyes were steaming pools of lava during allergy season.
Literal meaning: Lydia’s eyes are very irritated in allergy season.
2. MENTOR TEXT:
Use mentor text to point out hyperbole. If you have several books, place them in groups and have students find the hyperboles.
- Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg
- Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osburne
- Library Lil by Suzanne Williams
- American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osburne
- Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg
- Widdermaker by Patti Schnetzier
- Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish by Catherine Wright
- Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
- Thunder Rose by Jeredine Nolen
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
- Parts by Tedd Arnold
- Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley
- A Million Fish…More or Less by Patricia McKissack
- Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia
- Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith
- John Henry by Julies Lester
- Piggie Pie! by Margie Palatini
THESE TITLES AND MORE CAN BE FOUND ON THIS LIST.
I also have a blog post where I summarize some of the mentor text and give some teacher tips while using them.
3. DISCOVER HYPERBOLE:
Did you know that hyperbole can be found in ad slogans, song lyrics, and in movies? You know me—Rockin Resources—I have to find something music-related! It makes it so much more engaging!
Here are some examples, but this would be a great little research project to see what students can find!
- Altoids: Mints so strong they come in a metal box!
- Gillette: The best a man can get!
- Oscar Meyer: It doesn’t get better than this!
- Nike: There is no finish line!
- Meow Mix: Tastes so good, cats ask for it by name!
- Burger King: It’ll blow your mind away!
- Folgers coffee: The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup!
- Ain’t no mountain high enough…Ain’t no valley low enough… Ain’t no river wide enough… to keep me from getting to you. – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye
- I would fly to the moon and back –“To the Moon and Back” by Savage Garden
- Cry me a river – “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
- You turned around and you stole my heart. – “Stole My Heart” by One Direction
- I would walk 500 miles…to fall down at your door – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by Proclaimers
- I died a hundred times. – “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
- A million dreams are keeping me awake. – “Million Dreams” by Great Showman
- I have died every day waiting for you. – “Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
- You got a smile that could light up the whole town. – “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift
- I would catch a grenade for you. – “Grenade” by Bruno Mars
“Congratulations! You did it! World’s best cup of coffee!” –Buddy from The Elf
“Unicorn! He’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!” – Agnes from Despicable Me
Illustrate some of the hyperboles. They will have you all laughing!
I love to teach hyperboles in a step-by-step method and offer differentiation when I have a variety of levels in my classroom.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY- Underline the hyperbole.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY- Identify the phrase that has hyperbole.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY- Find the hyperbole in a story.
STEP 4: APPLY- Change words to make hyperbole.
STEP 5: APPLY- Write a hyperbole for a specific topic.
STEP 6: What is the meaning behind the hyperbole?
All of the above suggestions are included in my Step-by-Step Hyperbole unit. In addition, the unit includes differentiated materials, task cards, graphic organizers for research projects, an assessment, and a Google option. Check it out!