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.


  1. Choose a Historical or Fictional Character

    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.

  2. Students Create Character Map

    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?
  3. Debrief

    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.



Character Map

Related Content

Global Immigration

The Sharps’ Dilemmas

Students are introduced to upstanders Waitstill and Martha Sharp, an American minister and his wife who undertook a rescue mission to help save Jews and refugees fleeing Nazi occupation.

Teaching Strategy

Life Road Maps

Enrich students’ understanding of a historical or literary figure by having students draw the figure’s life journey.


The Holocaust: Bearing Witness

Students are introduced to the enormity of the crimes committed during the Holocaust and look closely at stories of a few individuals who were targeted by Nazi brutality.

Race in US History

“Soul Man” and Identity

Students analyze the lyrics of "Soul Man," explore its connection to the Detroit Riots of 1967, and make interpretations about the artist's message.

Search Our Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.