The purpose of this lesson is to provide a creative avenue for students to analyze characters within any literary piece. Calkins, Ehrenworth, and Lehman (2012) suggest that one of the strengths of the CCSS is that reading literature involves “learning from the characters in stories and looking to books for lessons in courage, determination, and integrity” (pp. 52).
In this lesson, students will complete a character analysis. They will be expected to describe the character’s personality after getting to know them through the things they say, feel, and do in the story. As students read, they are to make assumptions as they receive clues from the characters words, actions, reactions, feelings, movements, thoughts, and mannerisms. They will also be required to define the character’s role in the story as either a major/minor character and/or antagonist/protagonist. Lastly, students will be asked to describe how the character changes as he or she moves through the plotline of the story.
After completing a written analysis, students will take what they have discovered about the character and create a narrative that will be spoken from the character’s perspective.
As students read they should focus on answering the following questions in order to demonstrate a strong understanding of the character:
1.What is the personality of my character?
• How does the character feel?
• What does the character say?
• What does the character do?
2.What is the character’s role in the story?
• Does the character play a major role or a minor role and can they be considered a protagonist or an antagonist? (What evidence supports this finding?)
3.How does the character develop throughout the story?
Now that students have analyzed their character, they are ready to bring it to life by using the application Morfo, a free app created by SunSpark Lab. With this application, students can animate a picture of what they feel represents the character that they have chosen to analyze.
Students are required to use what they have discovered about their character and create a narrative that is in the character’s voice. For example, in the book, Bud, Not Buddy (Curtis, 1999) the main character Buddy Caldwell is easily characterized as an imaginative child filled with hurt and anger. He is resourceful and wise beyond his years. As he moves through the story, we see him experience many highs and lows. If he was telling someone about his life, his tone in the beginning would be one that expressed his disappointments and in the end, the tone would be one that showed his accomplishments. As Buddy, a student would highlight his feelings of abandonment and how that has driven him to fight to find his father. An opening line could be, “ My mama named me Buddy Caldwell, but please don’t ever call me that. I am and always will be Bud, not Buddy!” This shows that even though he is a 9-year-old child, he is not afraid to stand up for what he believes. Students will have a great time creating the 3D character.