A Poetry-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

Navigating WritingFix:

Return to the WritingFix Homepage

Return to the Poetry Prompts Homepage


Navigating this lesson:

Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

Student Instructions

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson


On-line Publishing:

Publish your students at our Ning!
(You must be a member of our "Writing Lesson of the Month" ning to post.)


This lesson's author:

Jamie Priddy has been a Northern Nevada Writing Project Teacher Consultant since 2007. She teaches high school in Reno, Nevada.

Jamie keeps a personal portfolio of work here at WritingFix.


Teacher's Guide:


defining and writing about "relationships" between personified elements

This lesson was created for WritingFix by Northern Nevada Writing Project Teacher Consultant Jamie Priddy at a workshop for teachers.

This on-line writing prompt is inspired by J. Ruth Gendler's The Book of Qualities. Before writing to this assignment, students should discuss passages from this book.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing The Book of Qualities from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for teachers: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Pre-step…before sharing the published model:   Discuss the idea of personification with students. Depending on the age level of your students, you may need to spend some time teaching this concept. At a minimum, come up with a definition as a class and share a few examples. The example I always use with students is, “The lightning stretched its fiery arms across the sky”. We spend a few minutes in class coming up with examples and analyzing how each example demonstrates personification. Step one…sharing the published model: Discuss with students that personification can be used to describe abstract concepts. Make sure students understand what an abstract noun is and can give a few examples of an abstract noun.

Next, show students the “Wisdom” and “Excitement” examples from The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler. Point out to students that in these unique examples of personification, each idea is talked about as if it were a person. Have students pick out some of the examples of personification in each piece. I usually have my students read through the examples and then pick out their favorite line and explain why that particular line is a great example of personification. Again, depending on the age level of your students, you can continue the discussion about the examples for as long as necessary until all students understand how “wisdom” and “excitement” are being personified.

Step two (introducing student models of writing): The student samples for this lesson were inspired by the examples from The Book of Qualities and are modeled after the “Wisdom” and “Excitement” examples shown in class. In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the idea development, because of the Post-it® Note-sized template that has been embedded on each model.  You might prompt your students to talk about each model's word choice as well.

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.

Step three (thinking and pre-writing): The Interactive Buttons on the Student Instructions Page might give students an idea of which abstract noun they would like to personify. In my classroom I have each student choose a different abstract noun so we end up with a unique personification for each student to share with the class in Author’s Chair.

Once students have chosen their topic, give them this graphic organizer to help them begin planning their personification poem. Have students fill in the organizer focusing on their abstract noun and the human qualities they will use to personify their noun. After filling out the organizer, students will be ready to write their personification prose poetry piece modeling it after the examples shown in class.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):  The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing is taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for their writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios. Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group. To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's free-to-use Writing Lesson of the Month ning.


Check out another of WritingFix's Personification Lessons
by clicking here.

WritingFix Homepage Lesson & 6-Trait Overview   Student Instructions
Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources  Student Writing Samples

© WritingFix. All rights reserved.