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Character Analysis Teacher Resources
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Students create an invitation for a Literary Character Celebration. This invitation answers who, what, when, where and why about their favorite literary character. The students invite their family and friends. During the celebration students share information about their favorite characters using visual representations, media and play.
Activate character analysis skills with this short paper prompt for Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Writers explain the significance of a chosen character, using character traits, decisions, and actions to support their argument. This resource provides a list of guidelines as well as a rubric for grading the final one-paragraph product.
Readers of The Crucible use a SATDO chart to collect evidence they will use to craft interpretive statements and an analysis of one of Miller’s characters. Background information on the play and about Miller, links to handouts, extensions, and assessments are included with the richly detailed plan.
"Monkey's Paw," W.W. Jacob's horror story, is used to model for viewers how to use a writer's diction to analyze characters. Words describing the characters' actions, comments, and appearance are highlighted. After re-examining the highlighted text, two or more character traits are selected that are revealed by these passages. For guided practice, consider giving groups different excerpts from the story, asking them to repeat the process, and then having them share their findings with the class.
A comprehensive list of questions guides preparation for writing a character analysis essay inspired by Leander Watts' book Stonecutter. In order for readers to find quotes to use in their essay, I'd share the questions prior to reading so the class can note useful citations as they go. Links to a reproducible character map and writing template for an introduction are included.
After they conduct online research about a historical figure of their choice, 11th graders compose: a 3-5 page biography detailing their findings; a 1-2 page character analysis connecting life events to how the person turned out; and a single paragraph analyzing their impact on history. Allow several days of computer time to complete the writing process for each component.
Students read Jack London's "To Build a Fire" and analyze the distinction between knowledge and instinct. In this literary analysis instructional activity, students examine the relationship between man and nature in the story and discuss London's juxtaposition of knowledge and instinct. Students conduct in-depth character analysis and analyze omniscient point of view. Students write an essay about the point of view for the story.
How do character relationships help to develop theme? Use the fifth video in a series about close reading in poetry to show sixth graders different ways to interpret a poem's theme. Though the video features "The Wind's Visit," you could use these strategies for any poem or work of fiction.
Edna St. Vincent Millay’s unconventional “Sonnet VII” is the anchor text for a series of videos that model for viewers how to use text-based questions to guide close reading of a text. In this, the third video in the series, the narrator models how to analyze the development of a character to determine an author’s message. Although the video can stand alone, viewers would gain the most benefit from watching the entire series.
Primary learners read Holly Keller’s That’s Mine, Horace, analyze the text and characters, and sequence the story. After discussing the experiences Walter encounters once he tells a fib, class members use a character analysis worksheet to identify the qualities found in the story’s characters. Finally, they write a friendly letter to one of the characters.
What ingredients make up a character? A cup of honesty, a dash of humor, a pinch of cynicism? Based on real cookbooks they review in class, learners at any grade level three and up write recipes to describe characters familiar to your class. Others try to decipher who the recipe describes.
Readers practice character analysis by reviewing Gary Soto's short story "La Bamba" with the whole class (anything you've read together will work). They design t-shirts that feature traits and story elements to reveal the nature of a character they choose. Links to worksheets, instructions, and a rubric. Prepare a t-shirt in advance to model what's expected.
Students read a story and then create a bust based on a character in the story. Another option is for the students to create a bust, generate a character analysis and then write a story for the bust. Students follow step by step directions to create the bust. They weigh and measure wet and dry clay. Students discuss heat chemistry.