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Personifying School Supplies

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Keywords: Personification
Subject(s): Information Skills, Art, Social Studies, Video, Animation, Spelling, Technology, Grammar, Science, Writing, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 3 through 6
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Ruby Wise Elementary School, Pineville, LA
Planned By: Bridgette Sullivan
Original Author: Bridgette Sullivan, Pineville
Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle…Personification is a figure of speech in which human qualities are given to objects, animals, or ideas. For example: the sun smiled at us or the leaves waved in the wind. Personification can make your writing much more interesting.

In this project, you will personify A school supply object and develop your story into an online book or animated story.

Nursery rhymes, fairy tales, fables, and children‘s stories commonly personify animals. When you give human characteristics to animals, it is called anthropomorphism. Your students have probably heard of Goldilocks and the Three Bears or the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.

Revisit these stories or others your students may be familiar with.

After exploring examples of personification, work with your students to personify an object found in the cafeteria. Brainstorm human traits that can be applied to it. Start by identifying parts of it that are similar to human body parts. Then, brainstorm feelings it might have about itself or how it is used. Ask students to become the object and answer these prompting questions:

What/how do you see?
What/how do you hear?
Where do you live?
What are you afraid of?
What do you dream of?
What are you good at?
What do you hate to do?
How do you feel about the people or objects you meet?

Have individual students, or a group of four students, choose a school supply object to personify. Ask students to brainstorm ways to personify the object. Have students answer the same questions you did as a class.

Students should use the object‘s feelings or fears they have brainstormed to develop the conflict that will drive their story and begin writing. Have students scaffold work or continue brainstorming by identifying character traits, determining setting, and give their story a beginning, middle, and end. Have students share their ideas and drafts with their peers for feedback and review and then work on their revisions.

Have the students choose the type of product they want to create, such as a printed book, interactive story, cartoon animation, claymation video, that they believe will most effectively convey their story.

Have students translate their written story into a visual map or project storyboard. This will help them determine how best to convey the story through individual pages or scenes. Have students create an illustration of the object, or build a tangible character from modeling clay or other materials. Students can capture still images for stopmotion, create pages that combine text, illustration, and narration, or take video to build their story.

Have the students present their story or animated short to the rest of the class. Share the stories and animations on your school web site.

After you have read and shared examples of personification, you can begin assessing student understanding as the entire class works together to personify an object. Use the brainstorm and written story to assess a student's ability to personify. You will also want to check in with individuals or listen to each group's process to help you evaluate their skill at identifying character, setting, and plot, as well as how creativity they have personified the object. The final stories and animation will help you evaluate how well students are able to translate their brainstormed traits and emotions into effectively personifying the object.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Teachers may incorporate Science or Social Studies material into this lesson.
You could turn this project into a parent night event by asking students to write personification stories along a conservation theme like Family Reading Night.
Materials: Whiteboards, Art Tools, Video Tools, Hard Drives, Computer Accessories, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Elementary, Social Studies, Office Suite, Slideshow, Clip Art, Animation, Integrating Technology