Lessons & Units :: Figurative Language 2nd Grade Unit

Lesson 2: Personification

Lesson Plan

The Runaway Tortilla | 420L

The Runaway Tortilla
Learning Goal
Identify examples of personification and the character being personified.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: Example Chart for Direct Teaching, Example Chart for Guided Practice, Independent Practice Worksheet
Not Provided: The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel, chart paper, markers
  • Teacher Modeling

    will discuss the meaning of personification (giving an animal or object human-like characteristics). I will explain that personification is an example of figurative language. I will think aloud about characters from familiar books and/or TV shows that show examples of personification. For example, in the story The Three Bears, the bears are an example of personification. They live in a house, cook porridge, sit on chairs, and sleep in beds. These are things people do, not bears. So the bears are an example of personification in the story. (Direct Teaching Example Chart is provided in Teacher and Student Materials below.) I will show the cover of the book The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel and ask students to predict which character is an example of personification.

    TIP: Choose characters that your students are familiar with when providing examples of personification. Movies such as Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast contain multiple examples of personification.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I identify personification in stories? Students should respond that you thought about animals or objects in stories that had life-like qualities.

  • Guided Practice

    will read The Runaway Tortilla and chart qualities that personify the tortilla. (Guided Practice Example Chart is provided below.) For example, the tortilla jumps off the table and says she is too beautiful to eat. We know that tortillas do not jump or talk. The tortilla is an example of personification.

  • Independent Practice

    will identify another character that has been personified in the book and write down the qualities that make this character “human-like.” (Student Independent Practice is provided below.) Note: On the page that begins, “Down the hill and past the cutbank rolled the tortilla,” the tortilla calls the donkeys “jackasses.” You may want to substitute “donkeys” for “jackasses” when reading this aloud.

Build Student Vocabulary rowdy

Tier 2 Word: rowdy
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story “Rowdy rattlers! Catch me if you can!” the tortilla yelled as she passed the rattlesnakes.
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) Rowdy means wild and noisy. When the tortilla said that the rattlesnakes were rowdy, she meant that they were being wild and noisy. Rowdy also means rough behavior.
Students repeat the word Say the word rowdy with me: rowdy.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts When this class gets back from recess, sometimes it is rowdy.
Students provide examples Have you ever seen a person or a group that was rowdy? Start by saying, “Once I saw a rowdy ______________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? rowdy
Additional Vocabulary Words greedy, slithering

Build Student Background Knowledge

After reading, explain to your students that The Runaway Tortilla is based on a classic children's story, The Gingerbread Man. In The Gingerbread Man, a woman bakes a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a man. The cookie runs away and is chased by farm animals, far into the woods. Finally, a fox eats the cookie. Sound familiar? Explain that the difference between two stories is that The Runaway Tortilla takes place in Texas. The animals we read about in the book, such as the snakes, donkeys, and coyotes, are from a desert climate. Also, Tio and Tia are Spanish names for aunt and uncle, and quesadillas are a food originally made from corn in Central America. Finally, the Rio Grande is a river on the border of Texas and Mexico, so Tio and Tia are probably Mexican-American citizens!

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

User Comments

This is such an awesome resource for teachers, thank you so much. I like the idea of comparing this story with the Gingerbread Man and will use it in my own class.

Will definitely try and incorporate a lesson that includes comparing and contrasting between The Gingerbread Man and The Runaway Tortilla as part of a multicultural response in my teaching! Great resource and am ordering the book right now!