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Characters are an essential part of any story. Even in stories that don’t have people, animals, places, and inanimate objects can become characters in their own right. Characters drive plot forward and help to create and resolve conflicts. They are the main reason a story exists. However, as a story is told, characters often change or evolve with the plot. Whether being hit by forces outside their control or due to figurative internal battles, many of a character's attributes are a result of the events that occur.

For students, it is important to track the evolution of a character so that they can fully understand what effects and influences can change a person. Using the character development lesson plan below, engage your students with a character map for character evolution!


Track Character Development*


Recommended Character Development Lesson Plan

Overview of the Lesson

Because characters play a crucial role in stories and are central to the plot, it is helpful for students track their changes. The most important aspect is for students is to understand why and how the character is affected over the course of the work.


Grade Level: 3-12


Standards

Although this lesson can be used for multiple grade levels, below are examples of the Common Core Standards for Grades 9-10. Please see the Common Core Standards for correct grade-appropriate standards.

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3: Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task
  • ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest

Lesson-Specific Essential Questions

  1. How do characters drive plot?
  2. Why is it important to fully understand characters and how they develop?
  3. How do we do a character analysis?
  4. How can we make predictions about a person based on their traits?

Objectives

Students will be able to read, take away, and explain how characters evolve throughout a novel, play, or story. They will understand how a character's actions affect plot and how to infer and predict what a character might do based on their personality.


Instructional Materials/Resources/Tools

Character Evolution Worksheet and Access to Storyboard That

Character Evolution Template - Novel/Story

Track Character Development*


Track Character Development*

Before Reading

Before reading, it is a great idea to introduce your students to a list of characters. This is especially helpful for novel or play with multiple characters and/or plot twists.

  • Give students the appropriate character evolution worksheet for them to complete.

During Reading

While reading, students should track character development and fill in the information learned about them. A great way to do this is to stop after each act or chapter and have them fill in new information they learned. If students run out of room on their worksheets, they can continue in their notebooks or on the back of the paper.


After Reading

After reading, have students compare the completed worksheets with a classmate, recording any information they may have missed. This makes for an excellent study guide, or ask students to complete a writing assignment based off of one of the characters.


Add a Presentation

Have students attach their storyboard to a paper that requires them to give an in-depth explanation of character development over the course of the text. Or, couple this assignment with a presentation!


Character Evolution Storyboard Templates and Examples

Character Evolution Template - Novel/Story

Track Character Development*


Track Character Development*

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