What makes a character unique? This lesson challenges students to discover the right "mix" of ingredients (characteristics) in a real or fictional character.
Students will analyze the qualities of a character.
character analysis, character traits, character, reading, comprehension, creative writing, concrete, abstract, critical thinking
Provide cookbooks or sample recipes for students to look through. Point out how some recipes include wording such as
Sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and a dash of cinnamon Gradually add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar Stir in 1 tablespoon powdered sugar Pour in egg mixture
Choose a person/character with whom your students are familiar. The character can be a figure from history or a character from a piece of literature (fact or fiction) that the students recently read. Write the name of the character on the board or on a sheet of chart paper. Then brainstorm the personality/character traits of that person. Write those on the board or chart as the students share their thoughts. Then enlist the help of students to write a "character recipe" for that person. Include as many cooking terms as possible as you write about the character's concrete and abstract qualities. For example, the character might be described as having
Next, create a list of literary or historic characters with whom students are familiar. Do not share this list with students. Instead, write the names on cards and present each pair or small group of students with one of those cards. The students will work with their peers to create a character recipe for the character/person listed on the card.
When students complete their recipes, provide time for them to share the recipes with their classmates. See if the classmates can guess the character/person based on the recipe.
Mount the students' recipes on a bulletin board for display. Students might create tent cards with their recipes on the top and the character/person's name under the flap. That way, readers of the recipes can guess at the name of the character/person, then flip up the flap to see if they are correct or not.
Do students' recipes indicate a good grasp of the characteristics/qualities of the historic figure or literary character?
Mary Pat Mahoney, Holy Trinity Catholic School in Grapevine, Texas
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