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SWBAT recognize and interpret figurative language in context.

Big Idea

How does the author use personification to add meaning and make the text come alive?

Introduction to Personification

20 minutes

This unit's purpose is to give students opportunities to understand an author's choices for using literary devices and how those choices add meaning to the text, which falls in line with the underlying idea of the Craft and Structure standards in the Common Core ELA framework.  Because my students encounter complex figurative devices in the higher level texts that they read (many of my students are reading above grade level at this point), I chose literary devices related to reading standard 4 that I deem appropriate for my class of deep, philosophical intellectuals.

Using my Figurative Language Flipchart as a guide, I introduce students to our goal for this lesson, which is to recognize and interpret figurative language.  Today we are focusing on Personification.  Students' prior knowledge are assessed through the KWL chart activity in this flipchart. We focus on the definition and example of Personification.  We also analyze additional examples I prepared for our discussion such as:

  • Traffic slowed to a crawl.
  • The door protested as it opened slowly.
  • My house is a friend who protects me.
  • The moon played hide and seek with the clouds.
  • That book was so popular, it flew off the shelves.
  • My car’s headlights winked at me.

Students found humor in these examples.  The informal formative assessment that this analysis provided me with indicated that they understood the concept as they expressed their amusement with the imagery.

In order to hook students back into the lesson and provide visual imagery, I then showed two videos: Personification Song Video and Personification Video.  After watching, I  ask students to identify examples of personification in each.

Practice with Text

15 minutes

I read aloud the story entitled The Gingerbread Man to students, asking students to pay attention to the author's use of personification within the story.  I projected the story under a document camera, on my Promethean board as I read it out loud a second time.  Then, I model highlighting the sections of text to identify one or two personification within the poem.  Students are asked to identify more examples of personification in the story and use the Citing Personification Form to write the examples.  We then share our findings to the class and discuss the characteristics of their personification.

Students need ample practice to identify and analyze hyperbole in text.  We discuss several poetry samples, such as Hey Diddle Diddle Poem, that use personification to heighten sensory images and understanding of text.  These concrete samples help students understand the context in which personification is used as well as its intended purpose to give human qualities to inanimate objects and make the text more vivid.

Personalizing Personification

20 minutes

Students worked in cooperative groups to create Personification examples of their own.  We followed a Figurative Language Rubric focusing on writing up to five sentences with personification in context.  Students also followed a Cooperative Learning Rubric.  It is essential to work together effectively to stay focused on tasks.  This task is complex and requires contribution of all members of each group.

Sharing Out

20 minutes

Students share their samples of personification.  Each group takes turns presenting.  Each group was assessed using the Figurative Language rubric.  The videos shown during this lesson's introduction were very helpful for students.  Creative ideas were generated  from the examples shown in the student  Personification Presentation. It is important to provide model examples that inspire students to learn new knowledge.