This lesson plan on personification is designed to help students identify personification in poems and other writing. Personification is a type of figurative language that gives human qualities to non-human objects. Using poetry, fourth grade students will explore the use of personification and learn how non-living objects can have human characteristics. Students will then make personification posters with a 3-D graphic and sentence displaying their command of personification.
Teaching the Concept
On an overhead projector, smart board or LCD projector, show students the poem, “Summer Grass” by Carl Sandburg. Ask students if grass can ache and whisper? Can it call and sing? Subsequently, can the rain hear and answer? The answer to all of these questions is no. On the other hand, humans can ache, whisper, call and sing. Giving the grass and rain human qualities is called personification. Sandburg gives the grass and rain these human qualities to show that the weather has been dry and the grass needs the rain for water. However, the way Sandburg writes it sounds so much nicer. Personification is a great way to add figurative language and rich description to a story, poem or paragraph.
Write the sentences below on the board. Have students circle the word that makes the sentence personification. Then have them put a box around the non-human object. For example: The sun tickled my nose. In this example, circle the word tickled and put a box around sun. Then ask students, “What does it mean when the sun tickles your nose.”
Other sentences could be:
My alarm screamed at me to wake up.
The leaves danced in the wind.
In the darkness, the stars reached for me.
Hands on Activity and Informal Assessment
Students will be given a piece of construction paper for a 3-D personification poster. First, they need to pick a thing like a flower, the sun, a clock or anything that strikes their imagination. Next, they can take scraps of construction paper and make a 3-D image of their object to be personified. For instance, the leaves danced in the wind would include leaves moving across the poster. Next to or under the image, they will write a sentence using personification. The poster can also serve as an informal assessment.
For younger students, this activity can be modified to include a colored drawing rather than a 3-D poster. Also, for lower elementary levels, consider working on this in small groups.
Give students a poem utilizing personification. Students should highlight a sentence or phrase using personification. Next, students need to interpret the phrase and the meaning in relation to the poem. This extension is good for above grade level students.
Using poetry to teach personification helps students to recognize personification within the text. It is also beneficial for helping students distinguish between different types of figurative language. This personification lesson plan for fourth grade can easily be repeated with different poems, sentences and posters later in the year. Revisiting the topic will help reinforce the concept.
- Classroom Experience
- Personification, “Summer Grass” by Carl Sandburg: missspott.com