October 29, 2018
By Sarah Sumnicht

EL Support Lesson

Personification practise

Download lesson plan
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Poetry: Figurative LanguageLesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Poetry: Figurative LanguageLesson plan.

Students will be able to identify some of the different types of figurative language in poetry.


Students will be able to identify nouns and verbs that signal personification using word banks for support.

(3 minutes)
  • Tell students that today they will be learning how to recognise personification in poems.
  • Write the word "personification" on the board in large letters and ask students to take a moment to look at the word. Ask students to see if they recognise any parts of the word. Call on students to share their observations and guide them to see that the word "person" is in the word personification.
  • Underline the word "person" in personification and tell students that PersonificationIs when a writer gives human qualities or abilities to an object or animal. In other words, they describe something non-human as though it were a person.
  • Explain that personification is a type of figurative language that can be found in poems, songs, and stories. Tell students that authors use personification to help their readers picture something more vividly.
  • Provide an example for students (e.g., "The trees danced in the wind."). Point out that trees can't dance, but people can. So, when it says that the trees are dancing it is describing them like they are people to help us, as readers, imagine the tree's movement.
(7 minutes)
  • Display a copy of the Word Study Concept Map. Have students pair up and hand out a copy to each pair of students.
  • Write the word "personification" in the centre bubble. Then, fill in the definition and provide one example and non-example (e.g., the trees danced in the wind / the trees moved in the wind). Have students copy the definition and your example and non-example onto their own worksheet.
  • Instruct students to work with their partners to add additional examples and draw a picture.
  • Call on student volunteers to share their pictures and/or examples. Correct any misconceptions that arise.
  • Use vocabulary cards to introduce the additional vocabulary words for the lesson (Noun, Verb, Figurative language).
(10 minutes)
  • Display the worksheet Identifying Personification with Nouns and Verbs and review the directions for the top section.
  • With the class, sort the words from the word bank into two categories: "nouns that signal personification" and "verbs that signal personification." Solicit input from students to determine which words in the word bank do NotSignal personification and discuss their choices.
  • Hand out the worksheet and review the directions for the second section. Complete the first sentence as an example and then instruct students to work with a partner to finish the rest of the worksheet.
  • Call on students to share their answers and correct any misconceptions that arise.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the poem "The Railway Train" by Emily Dickinson on the Personification worksheet. Read it aloud as students follow along.
  • Ask students to use context clues, like the title of the poem and the accompanying picture, to determine the subject of the poem (a train).
  • Reread the first stanza of the poem and model how students can identify a noun or verb that signals personification (e.g. "lick"). Circle the identified part of speech and explain your reasoning (i.e., "lick" is a verb, or action, that people can do; "trains" is not).
  • Underline the entire phrase (e.g., "lick the valleys up") and remind students that this entire phrase is an example of personification because a train cannot "lick something up" but a person can. On the board, draw a quick picture to illustrate the point (e.g., a person licking an ice cream cone).
  • Hand out a copy of the poem to each pair of students. Instruct them to reread it and circle nouns and verbs that signal personification throughout the poem. In addition, tell them to underline the phrase that goes with each circled word.
  • Call on students to share the examples of personification that they identified. Correct misconceptions and offer clarification as needed.


  • Provide sentence frames to support students during speaking tasks (i.e., "I think the word ____ is a noun because...").
  • Use a simpler poem during the discourse level activity with fewer tier three words.
  • Provide synonyms or definitions for challenging vocabulary that students will encounter on the worksheets (i.e., "prodigious," "supercilious," "docile").
  • Allow beginning ELs to use bilingual resources to define new words throughout the lesson.
  • Strategically pair beginning ELs with supportive non-ELs or advanced ELs who speak the same home language.


  • Encourage advanced ELs to compose sentences and responses without sentence frames, or with shortened sentence stems.
  • Allow advanced ELs to utilize a glossary, thesaurus, and dictionary for help with unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Ask them to add on, rephrase, or clarify what their peers say in class discussion.
  • Have advanced ELs repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Write two sentences on the board: one that is an example of personification and one that is not (e.g., "A path welcomed her into the forest." / "A path lead her into the forest."). Label the sentences "one" and "two."
  • Read the two sentences aloud and ask students to choose which sentence is an example of personification.
  • Have students hold up one or two fingers to show their choice. Observe student responses to gauge understanding. Then, call on a student with the correct answer to explain their reasoning.
  • Ask students to specify whether the personification is shown with a noun or verb.
  • Repeat several times with other sentences, switching between nouns and verbs (e.g., "The moon's face shone brightly in the night sky." / "The moon's light was bright in the night sky.").
(5 minutes)
  • Remind students that authors use personification to make their writing more descriptive and vivid so that readers can make a picture in their minds.
  • Clarify that personification is not meant to be taken literally. It is important for them to recognise figurative language, like personification, in stories or poems that they read because it will help them understand what is meant to be realistic and what is meant to entertain.
  • Ask students to share other types of figurative language that they have learned about (e.g., metaphors and similes).

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely

What could we do to improve Education.com?

Please note: Use the Contact Us link at the bottom of our website for account-specific questions or issues.

What would make you love Education.com?

What is your favorite part about Education.com?