I told students I heard something at lunch today that made me laugh. We were all talking about eating healthier when Mrs. Arevalo said "I didn't do so well last night. That last piece of cheesecake in the refrigerator was calling my name all night until finally I woke up at 2am and made it disappear!"
I share that I kept picturing a piece of cheesecake calling out her name over and over from the refrigerator and I cracked up laughing.
Sometimes people say things that make objects or inanimate things sound or act like people would. This is called personification.
Today I am, going to have you read the fable again to identify places in the story that the author used personification with the ant and grasshopper.
I ask students to take out their copies of "The Ant and the Grasshopper" fable. Students pass out the personification worksheet.
I put up chart paper titled "What is Personification?" I tell students again that personification is "when a nonhuman object or animal acts like a person" and add this to the chart.
We begin by reading the first paragraph and look for signs of either character acting like a person instead of how that animal would actually act in real life. "In a field one summer's day a grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. A group of ants walked by, grunting as they struggled to carry plump kernels of corn."
I start with a think aloud and say that the grasshoppers was hopping but that's not acting like a human because they can do this as insects in real life. I then go on to read more and think about "singing to his hearts content" - humans do this because it makes them happy.
I ask students - "Do grasshoppers sing?" If students say no - I agree, think aloud that people sing and put this the phrase on the chart as personification/ if students answer yes - I ask, when would they sing? Why would they sing? Is this singing or chirping? to get them to realize this is a human quality given to an animal.
I write the words "singing to his heart's content" insider the box labeled "Words I read in the text" on their personification worksheets.
I ask them to share what they feel the author was trying to say with his words. I also ask "How is the grasshopper feeling?" (This one can be more difficult so I often have to build understanding by thinking aloud that he wants us to see how happy the grasshopper is).
I add their thoughts to the section of the chart titled "What they mean figuratively"
Then I ask them what picture comes to mind as they read these words and think about his being so happy? This is a good place to have them share their ideas with their partners to make sure you are hearing "people qualities" in their visual images.
I ask for some students to share and then use their words to draw a quick sketch in the box titled "What they mean literally".
I read another line of the fable with my students and ask them to identify if personification is being used in this sentence? When they identify the "asking" as a human trait I add the phrase to the chart, asking the same sequence of questions to complete the second section of boxes on the chart.
Students continue to work independently on locating the personification used in the fable, explaining its meaning and drawing a visual picture.
I set a timer for 15-20 min so that I can encourage them to stay on task and to not spend too much time on their picture drawing.
I circulate to make sure they are comprehending the use of personification and can show what the author's purpose was for using it.
Here's an example from a students worksheet of what I am looking for and the areas students might have difficulties
I gather students back together and ask them to share some personification they found. We discuss how it made them feel and what picture they visualized.
Then I come back to the focus question "Why do authors use personification?""What effect does personification have on you, the readers?" We discuss and students can peer share or all group share to build and check for understanding.
I give them the personification worksheet as an exit ticket to assess their independent levels of understanding.