Poems are like Puppies

Master metaphors and become a poetry pro.

Four Box Senectics

In this lesson, we will use the Four Box Senectics strategy. This procedure is the perfect tool to use because it utilizes skills we will have formerly covered in class - metaphors and simile. Through use of this theory, students will achieve three important outcomes in one lesson. 1 - They will master the concept of metaphor and simile. 2 - They will learn they are all capable of creative, an important element of composing poems. 3 - They will comprehend and practice a form of writing that many may find mystifying - poetry.


Synectics comes from the roots "syn" - together, "ect" - outside, "ic" - knowledge. It refers learning by to bringing unlike things together. The four box method does this by having learners think of four terms from a category (household items, nature, etc.). They are then asked to compare each of these to the revealed topic, which has seemingly little to do with that category. This challenges students to think outside the box and make connections beyond what they may have thought they were capable of. The point of synectics is to engage students' creativity while learning. The four box method is a more easily digestible version of the main two synectics strategy.

Examples of Synectic Thinking

Focus Statement

In this lesson we will learn how to use metaphor as a technique to understanding poetry. Throughout this process, you will gain an deeper understanding of both and develop your ability to think creatively.


Step One - Students assemble into groups of three or four.

Step Two - As a class, brainstorm four items related to weather. Possible answers: lightning, rain, sunshine, clouds, snow, seasons, etc.

Alternative Step Two - Call out a different category four times and have groups pick their own individual answers for each box.

Step Three - For each box, have students complete the following statement: "Poetry is like __________ because __________."

Step Four - Groups will pick their favorite two and share with the class.

Step Five - Individual practice. Now that they've learned a bit about poetry and the use of simile/metaphor from the four square method, the teacher will repeat step two, then have students pick one of their responses to relate to life and compose their own short poem.

Share Your Poetry!

Post on class facebook, print and tape to wall in classroom, email it to me, or upload it to my website.