More Than Rhyme: Poetry Fundamentals   Western Reserve Public Media
Why Teach Poetry? Resources Teacher Materials Watch Online Introduction to Poetry Tools Used in Poetry Applying the Tools
Tools Used in Poetry




Students learn about personification and that it helps to create a picture in their mind.


Standards Addressed

Reading Standards for Literature 7-12

  • 7th/8th grade Craft and Structure, number 4

  • 7th/8th grade Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity, number 10

  • 9th/10th and 11th/12th grade Craft and Structure, number 4

  • 9th/10th and 11th/12th grade Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity, number 10



  • Class sets of note sheets to help students follow lesson (distributed earlier)

  • A chalkboard, overhead transparency, Elmo or Smart Board to help with note-taking

  • Copies of the poems



  1. Pass out note-taking materials.

  2. Review the previous lesson by writing “hyperbole is the absolute very best thing in the whole universe” on the board and then having students come up with a similar example to define and illustrate understatement.

  3. Write Horatio’s line 166 from Shakepeare’s “Hamlet,” Scene 1 Act 1, on the board:

  4. But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
    Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill

    Have students do the necessary work to decide what a mantle is and what color russet is. Then have them discuss why Shakespeare may have decided to make morning “walk” in a reddish cloak. Is the image, which is admittedly grand, worth the confusion for the modern reader? Ask them if saying “she is hot” would be worth the confusion for the 16th-century reader. Discuss the idea of morning being able to rise out of bed, throw on a cloak or robe and then walk outside. Is the image compelling?

  5. Share the definition of personification: an inanimate object that has human-like qualities. Tell students that personification helps create a picture (which creates mood) in the mind. It can also help a reader connect with an abstract idea.

  6. Have the students come up with examples of personifications in commercials. Are there cleaning products that talk? Do they know of the one where the discarded broom falls in love with a rake in the garage? What is the purpose and effect?

  7. Read and discuss the poems together.


Formative Evaluation

Have pairs of students work together to find a short article about a recent athletic event. Then have them rewrite the article in a way that personifies the equipment being used in the sport. Share and compare. Copyright© Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.
Enjambed Lines and Word Placement Personification Hyperbole and Understatement Comparisons Imagery “Stands Above Me, Whispering Low” Fog “The Gastronomic Gym” “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” “Root Cellar”