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Assessment Resource Centre (ARC)

  1. Years 7-8
  2. English
  3. Activities
  4. Poetry analysis - personification
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Poetry analysis - personification

Grade Work Samples
End of Stage 4 (end of Year 8)
Grade C Rania   Ashley   Bailey  

Description of activity

The information about this activity is given to the students orally. The teacher explains personification. The class reads and discusses a range of poems that use personification and discusses the similarities and differences between personification, similes and metaphors.

Students form groups and each group is given a teacher-selected poem with focus questions that guide them in identifying examples of personification and other poetic techniques, and how they shape meaning. They work independently on their allocated poem and responses and then meet in their groups to compare and refine their individual responses to their allocated poem.

They then form pairs from different groups and teach their poem to the other member of the pair. They write an individual response to the two poems explaining what each poem is about and how personification and other poetic techniques contribute to their understanding and enjoyment of the poems. (The teacher will guide the length of the response.)

In their workbooks or journals they reflect on their collaborative skills, ability to teach a poem to another student and what the activity revealed to them about their own learning.


The sample unit of work, Shaping Meaning in Poetry (see English Years 7–10 Syllabus – Advice on Programming and Assessment, BOS 2002, for the full unit of work), involved students undertaking a wide reading of poetry. The learning experiences and instruction covered poetic techniques, such as simile, metaphor, personification, sound devices and symbolism, and the conventions of some poetic forms. Individually, and in groups, students were asked to identify particular techniques and explain their effects in the poems they were studying. As part of this unit students analysed poems to understand how meaning is shaped. Students wrote their own poems and engaged in writing responses to poems. The assessment for learning activity selected is an integral part of the scope and sequence of learning in this unit. The activity involved individual, group and pair work, peer teaching, individual responses with teacher assessment and self-reflection.


A student:
1 responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure
4 uses and describes language forms and features, and structures of texts appropriate to different purposes, audiences and contexts
5 makes informed language choices to shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence
11 uses, reflects on and assesses individual and collaborative skills for learning.

Criteria for assessing learning

(These criteria would normally be communicated to students with the activity.)

Students will be assessed on their:

  • ability to interpret and analyse the given poem by responding critically and interpretively by demonstrating understanding of the poem beyond the literal level
  • understanding of language conventions and structures of texts through:
    • demonstration of what personification is
    • demonstration of the ways personification and other poetic techniques shape meaning in the two given poems
    • description of the effects of personification
  • choices of language and content appropriate to purpose, audience and context used in the organisation, development and expression of ideas
  • reflection on individual and collaborative learning and processes of learning.

Suggested materials

  • a selection of poems that use personification and other poetic techniques for initial class discussion
  • a selection of about six poems for student analysis
  • a student reflection prompt sheet.
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