Character Maps Teaching Strategy | Facing History & Ourselves
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.


At a Glance

teaching-strategy copy
Teaching Strategy


English — US
Also available in:
English — UK


  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies




Teaching Strategies

Use our student-centered teaching strategies to strengthen your students’ literacy skills, nurture critical thinking, and build a respectful and collaborative classroom community. These strategies can be paired with any academic content.

What Are Character Maps?

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.


Save this resource for easy access later.

Save resources to create collections for your class or to review later. It's fast, easy, and free!
Have a Workspace already? Log In

Lesson Plans

How to Use Character Maps

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.

Materials and Downloads

Quick Downloads

Download the files below.

You might also be interested in…

Unlimited Access to Learning. More Added Every Month.

Facing History & 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.

Most teachers are willing to tackle the difficult topics, but we need the tools.
— Gabriela Calderon-Espinal, Bay Shore, NY