Characterization: says, thinks, does …

I utilized this EASY to implement, quick, and simple formative assessment while reading Sharon Draper’s Forged by Fire with a group of often-reluctant 9th graders recently. I adapted the idea from Thompson’s Adventures in Graphica, which has proven to offer a wealth of classroom possibilities in the hands of an imaginative instructor.
First, we reviewed the idea of characterization and distinguished between direct and indirect characterization.
Second, as scaffolding, we watched Lil’ Wayne’s infamous interview from the Katie Couric show

Students were told to record at least 10 examples of both direct and indirect characterization. They obliged.
Third, we constructed a sample body biography of Weezy on the dry erase board. Guess how long it took a group of 22 9th grade boys to make a multi-layered, analytical character sketch of The Best Rapper Alive?
After discussing how the sample was constructed, students broke into groups and chose characters from Forged by Fire. I gave them poster paper, art materials, and these dialogue/thought/action bubbles that I made using Plasq’s awesome, cheap, easy-to-use Comic Life program.

Admittedly, their final products were not wonderful (I will post images ASAP), but keep in mind that this group of students (ahem, ALL MALES) does not always take to reading nor analyzing text in the same way that most of us did in our youth …

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Tomorrow’s activity? Each student will post direct quotations for each of the three prominent characters in tomorrow’s assigned reading. These quotations must demonstrate thought, speech, and action. From there, we’ll analyze how conflict is developed by the author … And hopefully make some progress.


About marcginsberg

I teach high school English in Athens, GA. I read graphic novels and catch live music whenever possible. I walk my dog Humphrey and kid myself that I'm a distance runner.
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