Middle school student writing at a desk
Teaching Strategy

Character Charts

Provide students with a graphic tool to record and organize information about characters in a text.

Published:

At a Glance

Teaching Strategy

Language

English — US

Subject

  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–12

Overview

About This Teaching Strategy

The Character Charts strategy involves using graphic organizers to help students organize information about major and minor characters in a text. Completed character charts are useful tools for writing essays and studying for tests. They’re often used to record information about literary characters, but they can be adapted for historical figures.

 

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Lesson Plans

Steps for Implementation

There are many reasons to have students use character charts. Here are some:

  • To help students more deeply understand characters in the text
  • To help students develop the skill of looking for textual evidence
  • To ensure accountability for student reading
  • To help students prepare for an essay or final project
  • As an assessment tool to measure students’ understanding of the text
  • Why are you having students keep a character chart? Your answer to this question will inform the way you approach Step 2 and Step 3.

Which characters you would like students to focus on? What information you would like them to track? Do you want students to track multiple characters or to follow one character? Build a chart based on your answers to these questions or use the accompanying handout.

Students can work on character charts individually or in small groups. Often teachers have students share information on character charts through using the Jigsaw teaching strategy. Sometimes students complete charts as a whole-class activity. You could also organize this activity as a gallery walk, where a sheet for each character is posted on the wall and students walk around the room filling in information on the different charts.

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Facing History and Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
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