Activity Overview

Personification is when a writer gives human characteristics or actions to something nonhuman. As students read When You Trap a Tiger, they will come across several examples of this type of figurative language. For this activity, students will identify and illustrate at least three examples of personification. Teachers may ask the kids to illustrate the phrase literally, as it’s intended in the text, or both. The example spider map for this activity shows the literal interpretation of each example of personification. Teachers may also want to give the students a list of examples, or have them do a “scavenger hunt” either as they read, or as an activity after reading.

Personification Examples

Page 4: The rain has gotten heavier, and it sucks up her focus.

Page 6: My pulse is a wild beast.

Page 19: Sam’s phone goes bright and begins loading, like it’s stretching as it wakes up from a nap.

Page 19: This house is full of secrets.

Page 40: I beg the floorboards to keep quiet. They don’t listen. They whine under my feet.

Page 53: The clouds block the sun and paint the house gray.

Page 60: A thick white mustache twitches between his pink cheeks.

Page 68: It’s kind of like folktales have a mind of their own. Like they’re floating around the world, waiting for somebody to come along and tell them.

Page 90: She starts to answer, but a cough steals her words.

Page 112: Disappointment slices right through me.

Page 142: Silence swells in the room, filling every crack in the creaky wood.

Page 150: The basement dances with color, deep blue and orange and purple.

Page 182: This house is suffocating.

Page 197: Maybe I could reach out and catch Sam’s smile before it falls to the floor and shatters.

Page 228: I wake up with a worrying weight on my chest.

Page 251: I’m still trying to hold my heart together, but the tighter I squeeze, the faster it breaks apart.

Page 278: My heart clenching tight like a fist.

Page 280: The days pass quietly. The hours go blurry.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a 3 cell spider map illustrating and describing three examples of personification in the text.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Write the example and page number in the description box. In addition, write what the author is intending to say, or the literal meaning.
  3. Illustrate each example using scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Personification in a Story
Create a storyboard that shows three examples of personification from the story. Add appropriate descriptions and illustrations for each.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Examples of Personification
There are three examples of personification.
There are two correct examples of personification.
Only one of the examples of personification is correct.
Illustrations depict the example of personification from the story with clear visuals of appropriate scenes, characters, items, etc.
Illustrations depict the example of personification from the story but are unclear or incomplete.
Illustrations do not make sense with the examples chosen.
There are descriptions for all three example of personification that correctly explain what the personification means in the context of the story.
One of the descriptions is missing or the descriptions do not fully explain what the personification means in the context of the story.
Two or more descriptions are missing or they do not explain what the personification means.

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