The idea of symbolism may sound daunting to some students, but this interactive resource makes the topic accessible and fun.
What many students don't realize is that they encounter dozens of symbols in their daily lives, and are already experts and identifying and even using them.
By using symbols students already know, this lesson uses students' prior knowledge to provide a zero-level entry into the topic, and helps them apply this knowledge to short stories, novels, poems, or anything else they come across.
Teachers can wrap up the lesson by having students brainstorm what objects represent them; students then bring these "personal symbols" to share on another day. This has worked great for my classes as a beginning-of-the-year activity, but is also fun when students already know each other well!