Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Puzzle With Characterization

As teachers, we are supposed to teach how to analyze characters. We start with the obvious- the physical features, and most writers are explicit about physical features because, let's be honest, your readers have to "see" the characters you want them to trust in, believe in, and use as their models for the internal perspective of the story. Then, us teachers kinda peeter out.

Either we haven't been shown how to go deeper into characters OR some writers don't provide enough information to analyze a character's internal nuances, feelings, thoughts, growth, or change. We stand there knowing we need to go deeper, instinctively knowing that more should be modeled and students should be able to analyze more than what they do but how do we do it and more importantly, how do we show them how to do it??

I have created something to help with this. I think that in addition to showing students what to find and analyze, you also need to give them something that is visually interesting yet simple enough to understand and complete. If a graphic organizer is created with bubbles, like I have said before, students with visual learning disabilities and ADHD have a VERY hard time following it. If there is a ton of extra space on a graphic organizer, these students will focus on the extra space instead of the assignment. But if there are varying squares, each organized on the page in an appealing and symmetrical way, their eye will follow it without getting distracted. Interesting huh? I have found this out over many years teaching students with visual learning disabilities and ADHD. It just makes sense to their brains!

Check out this FREE product on Teachers Pay Teachers to see what I am talking about!

There is a complete page of instructions to show teachers what students need to include with examples and ideas of how to help students find what they need to fill out the map. In addition, there are examples of correct MLA citations and helpful tips to cite the quotations they need to include for evidence. (Did you see what I did there? I included many different skills in this one awesome activity!!)

Seriously, if you have ever struggled with how to help students analyze complex characters from Shakespeare to The Outsiders to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, this Character Map will help.

*Psst: If you do download it, can you please leave feedback? I would love it you would!!

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