Group size: Any

Learning Objective: SWBAT explore aspects of characterization through the use of a graphic organizer


  • Mini-lesson # 4 notes (attached)
  • Overhead transparency (attached)
  • Independent practice/Homework (attached)
Do Now: (Add a Do Now to the Student Notes so that students have something to complete upon entering the room. I like to use this opportunity to spiral skills from prior lessons or to ask students to journal about a life experience that might help them to make a connection with today's lesson.)
Connection: We're going to depart from discussing asking questions, but only briefly. Today we're going to focus on characterization. The novels you are reading in this unit have to do with "coming of age," and in each novel, there is a character who learns and grows in important ways. In order to be able to understand and discuss the ways your character changes, it will be helpful for you to have a common language around characterization.
Direct Instruction/Guided Practice: If you have studied characterization before, help me to list what you remember about the word characterizatio
n. (Solicit student responses. If students don’t mention the fact that the word “character” is in characterization, provide leading questions.) Nice work. For our purposes, we’re going to define characterization as (T on board, S in notes)


Characterization: the methods an author uses to reveal characters in a story SMARTCUT: Look at the character’s thoughts, words, actions, and others’ opinions of that character

To be a good judge of character both when we read and in real life, we need to pay close attention to everything a character (or person) says and does—remember, authors tell us everything for a reason! A very close reader will also understand that we will be required to draw some conclusions about characters on our own using clues the author has given us about their characterization.

Let’s take a look at how this works in an example passage. (Have student volunteer read passage one. Work through graphic organizer with student help, T on overhead, S in notes.)

Now try it again with a partner for the next passage. (Allow time. Then share out, T on overhead, S in notes.)


Link:Now it’s your turn. As you read today, what will you be doing? (Have students read through the directions in the “Link” section of the notes.)

Keep in mind, you will continue to work on this separate graphic organizer for homework tonight, so when it's time to clean up, that sheet must go with your homework materials, not with your class notes.

Independent Practice: S read silently and complete graphic organizers. T helps literature circle groups to select novels for this unit and circulates to check for understanding.

Share: Our time for today is up. Before we share, please take a moment to clean up your graphic organizers so that they're presentable and as complete as need be. (Allow time.)

Now please feel free toturn to your partner and share your work for today. (Allow time.)

Closing: Remember, being a good judge of character requires close attention to characterization. The actions, thoughts and words of your characters in addition to other characters' opinions of your character will help you to better undersatnd how he or she is maturing and changing throughout your novel. It’s time for million dollar question!

1. What is characterization? (The methods an author uses to reveal characters in a story.)

2. What is the common theme that runs through all of our novels this unit? (Coming of age.)

3. Note to the Instructor: Insert your own question here based upon objectives your students have mastered up until this point in the year.

4. Why do we ask questions? (To help us become more thoughtful critics, to push our own thinking and the thinking of our peers, etc.)




Novels are differentiated by reading level and by choice. Graphic organizers. Pair/Share during Introduction to New Material and Guided Practice.

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