Why I LOVE character maps
I love this twist I put on traditional character maps! Above is an example of one I made for the character Auggie Pullman, from the AMAZING book Wonder by RJ Palacio.
In the past, I would have students draw out the character on large butcher paper and write a quick sentence about what is important to the character, what is something close to the character's heart and maybe something the character owned written by his hands and then by his feet, places he went. I liked this idea because it engaging for students to color and design the life-size character map, but it was mostly all artwork and not academic. And as a Humanities teacher, that just didn't feel right.
That all changed when I let go of what I saw others doing and did my own thing!
I decided to make an activity that required students to think deeply, but still also fun and challenging. I ended up creating a few different character maps like the one above for a variety of books that I read with my students.
In each of them, students think about things such as: what is something important the character learned in the book, name a time in the story when the character demonstrated bravery, kindness, determination, etc. (I kept the one about what is something close to the character's heart). In this one for Auggie, I created an acrostic poem for students to complete and ask for students to explain Auggie's summer precept.
Most of the character maps I created have an image of the character in it, but I chose not to do that for Auggie.
When students are finished completing the academic work on the sheet, they get to color in the character map. Granted, not every student is into coloring it, but for those who are, this is a special treat they get to do when they finish their work!
I use character maps for independent work, extra work, group work, homework and as a bulletin board display! They are great also because kids can keep going back to them and do not have to finish them in one class period.
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Daughter of the King, wife and mother, former upper elementary teacher, curriculum and course developer