A drawing of a girl with her name Serena Bialkin at the top and characteristics written around her
Teaching Strategy

Character Maps

Help students engage with a fictional or historical character by creating an annotated illustration.

Published:

At a Glance

Teaching Strategy

Language

English — US

Subject

  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–12

Overview

About This Teaching Strategy

Character maps are graphic organizers that use a simple drawing of a person, with questions connected to the person’s symbolic features. They can be used to prompt reflection on historical or fictional characters.

 

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Lesson Plans

Steps for Implementation

You can base this activity on a character or historical figure in any document, image, video clip, or other resource that you think might prompt significant engagement, wonder, or emotion from your students. Once you have chosen the character, give students time to read, watch, or observe.

Students use evidence from documents, images, video clips, or other resources to respond to the following prompts as they annotate the illustration:

  • Head: What does this person think about their society?
  • Mouth: What is this person saying?
  • Heart: What is this person feeling? Or, who is at the center of this person’s universe of obligation?
  • Hands: What actions has this person taken, what choices have they made?
  • Feet: What might be some consequences of this person’s choices?

After completing their character maps, students can post them in the classroom and participate in a brief Gallery Walk to view what their classmates created and reflect on the patterns, similarities, and differences in their character maps.

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