ALEX Lesson Plan


People Things- The Power of Personification in Literature

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Natasha Mullins
System: Blount County
School: Blount County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33424


People Things- The Power of Personification in Literature


This lesson teaches personification as a form of figurative language. Students will be introduced to characters and objects in stories, poems, and a movie clip that possess human characteristics. This topic can be used as a stand-alone lesson or with a unit on figurative language.


 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
4 ) Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes. [RL.5.4]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
24 ) Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. [W.5.3]

a. Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator, characters, or both; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally. [W.5.3a]

b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations. [W.5.3b]

c. Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events. [W.5.3c]

d. Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely. [W.5.3d]

e. Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events. [W.5.3e]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.5.24- Compose narrative texts by introducing characters or a narrator, organizing events in sequence and providing an ending related to the event sequence.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will demonstrate understanding of personification by writing a story describing a student-created character possessing human-like characteristics.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will work in small collaborative groups to identify and name personified characters and the details supporting the evidence of the characters’ human abilities.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg (one teacher copy, one additional copy per small group), chart paper with marker, writing paper (each student), pencil, Three Little Pigs by David Wiesner (one teacher copy) for a remediation activity.

Technology Resources Needed:

Personification Picture (one printed teacher copy)

Examples of Personification for Kids: Personification of Literature (one printed teacher copy from the website)

Personification (YouTube video clip of  Disney’s Beauty and the Beast)

Document Camera and projector connected to a computer (Interactive White Board is acceptable as well)

Brainstorming Graphic Organizer (two copies per student)

ReadWriteThink website for creating a personification acrostic poem as an extension activity.


Students should have a clear understanding of the meaning of figurative language prior to this lesson. Knowledge of the types of figurative language is preferred. An in-depth study of personification prior to this lesson is not necessary.


Step 1: The teacher will grab students’ attention by holding a broom in front of them and making the broom “dance” and “talk” in dialogue that could be spoken by a human.  The teacher will ask students what the broom is acting like and lead a discussion until students decide the broom is portraying a human.  The teacher will write the word “personification” on the board and explain that it is a form of figurative language.  The teacher will ask students what word they see inside the word “personification”, which would be “person”.  The teacher will explain that personification means that an animal or object, such as the broom, in a story possess characteristics matching that of a person or human.  The teacher will explain that the broom moved and talked like a person, and therefore the teacher had personified the broom. The teacher will say that many forms of stories, poems, television shows, and movies contain animals or objects that are personified to make the plot more interesting. The teacher will show a website picture from Disney’s Finding Nemo and explain that the characters in the movie talk and act like humans, so they are an example of personification.

Step 2: The teacher will say that personification can be found in many forms of literature. The teacher will read aloud multiple sentences from the Examples of Personification website as well as many of the nursery rhyme poems.  The teacher will lead a discussion after each sentence/poem reading to encourage students to conclude what animal or object is the focus and what they are doing that gives them human characteristics. The teacher will explain that personification can be found in all fiction genres of books, as well as in poems and nursery rhymes.

Step 3: The teacher will explain that many television shows and movies contain personified characters. The teacher will ask students to provide ideas about television shows and movie characters that they have seen that featured personification. The teacher will introduce a personification video and play it for the students via a projector connected to a computer. The teacher will lead a class discussion upon completion of the video about personification descriptors in the video and will list each clue provided in the discussion on a chart entitled “Personification in Television/Movies”.

Step 4: The teacher will introduce The Widow’s Broom to students. The teacher will explain that students must look closely at the pictures and listen carefully to the text clues to pinpoint details that portray the broom as having human characteristics. The teacher will read the story aloud using the document camera, stopping at each page to lead a discussion about the broom’s characteristics. At times, the teacher will instruct students to turn and talk to the partner next to them about the broom’s personified characteristics.

Step 5: After reading the story, the teacher will distribute two copies of the Brainstorming Graphic Organizer to each student. The teacher will divide the class into groups of three and give each group a copy of The Widow’s Broom.  Each group will work together to record clues describing the broom’s human characteristics.


Assessment Strategies

The students will mentally create an animal or object that possesses human characteristics, and will write a story describing the character and the evidence of its personification.  Each student will share his/her story with the class and will lead a discussion about the characteristics his/her animal or object possesses that demonstrate personification.


Students who already know about the topic of personification and can easily write a detailed story of a created animal or object with human characteristics can use personification in poetry to write an acrostic poem. The teacher will describe to these students what an acrostic poem is and direct them to the ReadWriteThink website, which will guide them through the creation of a poem that contains personification.  Students may use the same character from their story, or they may create a new character for the poem. The extension activity can be found at:


Students who need extra assistance will meet with the teacher in a small group setting prior to the assessment of writing.  The teacher will read aloud the book The Three Pigs by David Wiesner and discuss with students the evidence in the story that indicates the personification characteristics of the characters in the story. Since other students will be writing during this time, the students who must meet in small group will be given an extended period of time to write their stories.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.