Lesson 6


Identify and explain the purpose of hyperbole in a poem. 

Explain how hyperbole affects the tone of a poem. 

Readings and Materials

  • Poem: “I Ate a Spicy Pepper” 

  • Poem: “Sick” by Shel Silverstein 

Target Task


Question 1

Read “Sick” by Shel Silverstein.

All of the following are examples of hyperbole.


“I cannot go to school today.” (line 1)


“Said little Peggy Anne McKay.” (line 2)


“I’m going blind in my right eye.” (line 6)


“My tonsils are as big as rocks” (line 7)


“And there’s one more—that’s seventeen.” (line 9)

Question 2

What is the purpose of hyperbole in Silverstein’s poem?


To create emphasis and heighten the emotion


To make the poem lyrical and upbeat


To give human qualities to inanimate things


To make a humorous tone


To clarify the perspective of the poet

Question 3

Explain how hyperbole helps develop the tone in the poem “Sick” by Silverstein. 

Key Questions


Read “I Ate a Spicy Pepper.” 

  • Find at least three examples of hyperbole. What is being exaggerated? 
  • What is the poet literally trying to convey by each of your examples of hyperbole? 
  • How does the poet’s use of hyperbole affect the tone? 
  • What other poetic devices does the poet employ to convey meaning? 






  • This lesson connects to a unit test question.
  • Optional Activity: 

Write your own poem full of hyperboles:

  1. Pick something you love or hate (like a food or activity, for example). 
  2. Pick a feature or characteristic of the thing that you are writing about.
  3. Exaggerate that characteristic in every way you can think of, making a list as you go.
  4. Take your list of ideas and turn them into a poem.
  • Here are some more tips to help you get started:
    • When you write your exaggeration poem, it doesn’t have to rhyme.
    • If you can’t think of a funny ending for your poem, try ending it with the same lines you used at the beginning of the poem. 
    • (Activity adapted from “Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids, “How to Write an Exaggeration Poem” )

Common Core Standards

  • RL.6.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.