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Lesson Plan

Dancing Minds and Shouting Smiles: Teaching Personification Through Poetry

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Dancing Minds and Shouting Smiles: Teaching Personification Through Poetry

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 30- to 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Erin Lassiter

San Diego, California


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Experiencing the language of great poets provides a rich learning context for students, giving them access to the best examples of how words can be arranged in unique ways. By studying the works of renowned poets across cultures and histories, students extract knowledge about figurative language and poetic devices from masters of the craft. In this lesson, students learn about personification by reading and discussing poems that feature this writing device. Then they use the poems as a guide to brainstorm lists of nouns and verbs that they randomly arrange to create personification in their own poems.

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Brainstorming Graphic Organizer: This handy graphic organizer will help your students brainstorm imagery about word pairs, which serves as a basis for writing their own poems.

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Certo, J.L. (2004). Cold plums and the old men in the water: Let children read and write "great" poetry. The Reading Teacher, 58(3), 266271.

  • Students should not be limited to reading poetry aimed at children, but should be exposed to classic adult poetry as well.

  • Poetry written by the great poets is a rich resource for exploring poetic devices and figurative language with students.

  • Great poetry can serve as a model for students, providing a connection to their own writing. It provides patterns and styles for students to imitate and explore.

  • This process of mining great poetry for ideas can be encouraged using prewriting brainstorming sessions.

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