Strategy

Character Map

Character Analysis Chart

UDL 3.4 UDL 6.3

A Character Map is a graphic organizer where students analyze the traits and attributes of a character in a story. Using a Character Map, students list or describe different aspects of a character such as the character’s physical appearance, actions, what he/she thinks or believes, and how others interact with him/her. Character Maps can be used with a variety of texts (e.g., movie, poem, story, nonfiction) to help students organize their thoughts about a character and identify key attributes. Additionally, Character Maps encourage deeper text analysis as students move beyond their personal impressions of a character to understanding the character’s motivations and impact on a story or event.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Graphic Organizer

Character Text Evidence: Graphic Organizer

This specialized T-Chart supports students in analyzing text evidence and make inferences about a character's thoughts, traits and personality. The T-chart prompts students to cite textual evidence related to both character dialogue as well as character action. This T-Chart also includes visual prompts to ensure that students are citing and analyzing specific evidence from the text. A full exemplar model and the passage from Tortilla Sun is included.

Grade 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 · Reading · 4 pages


Implementation Tips

Types of Character Maps
Create or utilize Character Maps that encourage students to identify both directly stated character traits (e.g., physical appearance, actions, mood) and traits that must be inferred from the text (e.g.,motivation, beliefs about self and world). Also consider adapting the organizer to include space for students to draw their responses. Check out these examples of Character Maps: [[https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c3/67/0a/c3670aec1f9715e33dea7af1aeac2f87.jpg|Character Map with Sentence Frames]], [[https://www.adamsbook.com/Character-Map.pdf|Character Traits with Evidence]], [[https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3Cmz2vCWLe6QW55dHRtREFaWHc/view|Character Map with Space for Drawing]].
Modeling
Model completing a Character Map for a character that students are familiar with (e.g., after a whole-class read aloud) when introducing the organizer to students. Use Think Alouds to demonstrate how to use evidence from the text to identify key character traits and have students follow along by filling in their own copy of the map with you.
Supporting Writing and Reading
Provide Character Maps as resource to support students when completing a variety of writing and reading tasks. For example, to prepare for writing an essay analyzing two characters in a story, students can complete two Character Maps to organize their ideas. Students can also use Character Maps to record notes about how a character changes throughout a text.
Routine Use
Provide frequent opportunities for students to use Character Maps for a variety purposes (e.g., independent reading, note-taking, film response, etc.). As students become more familiar with using the tool, encourage deeper character analysis by asking student to include text evidence to support their observations and to draw conclusions about a character’s actions (e.g., How did the character’s choice impact the story’s outcome?).
Reflection
Encourage students to reflect on and share Character Maps with others. After completing, students can share maps with partners and make additions based on the ideas discussed. Character Maps can also be used to guide students in reflecting about their reactions to a character.

Examples

Whole-Class Character Map
Students in an 11th grade English class complete a large Character Map for a character from a novel they are reading together. The teacher facilitates the collaboration, making sure that all students have a turn in filling out sections of the map. Once complete, the teacher uses the insights on the Character Map to launch a discussion about the character (e.g., Why did the character do...? What causes the character to feel ...?). The teacher continues to display the giant organizer for students to reference as they continue reading the novel and encourages students to revise and add to the chart.
Comparing Character Maps
Students in a history class watch a brief video introducing a historical figure and complete a Character Map about the person based on the information in the video. Students are then given several texts (e.g., textbook reading, article, etc.) to read with partners about the person and complete a second Character Map on the same person. Students then compare their original and final maps and reflect on new insights learned about the person. The teacher facilitates a discussion where students share their discoveries asking, “What changed from your first Character Map to your second? Were you surprised by any changes?”
Character Maps for Self-Reflection
At the beginning of the school year, students work in groups to complete a Character Map describing a “good student” or “college-going student.” The groups post their maps around the classroom and students view each other’s ideas. The teacher then asks students to reflect on the previous year and write one or two personal goals that will help them better demonstrate the traits described on the Character Maps. The teacher revisits the goals when meeting with students throughout the year to continue encourage self-reflection and positive behavior changes.

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