Personification and LOLcats

Our micro-teaching topics seemed deliberately lifeless – little naivety-killers for lovers of literature. “Techniques for spelling difficult words,” someone got, then “metre and rhythm in poetry.” As the hat got closer I half-expected “why students hate English” to be drawn. Instead, it was “personification.”

The following week my partner and I made our plans. Slipping, I’d brought along a great passage from Virginia Woolf in which darkness becomes a monstrous character creeping along hallways and swallowing things up. “These are year eights,” she said. “Fine,” I replied. “LOLcats then.”

This week we ran our eight-minute session for the class – my first experience of teaching since starting the course. “Nervous?” somebody asked, noticing. But it went really well. At around the seven minute mark I asked who felt they’d learned something about personification, and everyone put up their hand.


Here’s how the lesson looked:

  1. Describe the image above. How many people can you see?
  2. Pair words on the board from list A [thunder, life, time, opportunity, wind] and B [knocks; flies; howls; claps; passes by]. This shows prior knowledge of personification, even if you hadn’t known the word.
  3. Now, look at a cute cat and imagine what it’s thinking. Notice how easy this is to do.
  4. See what other people have imagined about the cat.
  5. Finally, make your own LOLcats and upload them to the internet. That’s right, like this one:



4 thoughts on “Personification and LOLcats

      1. philipthiel Post author

        Hi Jan! This lesson was presented at the university, so there was no problem with uploading. Good tip for school, though. I guess if there was an anti-kitten firewall you could note students’ responses and then upload them later and circulate the URLs?

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