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Activity Overview

Storyboards can be used, as students are reading, to keep a character reference log. A character map allows students to recall important information on characters. When reading a novel, little attributes often return to become an important plot details. Through the use of character mapping students will catch this information, and will be able to follow the fine points which make reading more enjoyable.

By clicking "Use This Assignment", both the example above and a blank template will copy into your account. Feel free to use them as is or edit them to make it easier. (Or harder for more advanced classes!) The easiest way to use this is to print it as worksheets for your students to complete while reading.

For The Outsiders, a character map helps students remember who belongs to each gang. It also provides a reference for discussing how each was involved in the fighting.

The Outsiders Characters

Ponyboy Curtis Protagonist, GreaserDarrel "Darry" Curtis The oldest brother, gave up a promising football career to take care of his brothers after parents' death
Sodapop Curtis Brother of Ponyboy and Darrel, GreaserTwo-Bit Mathews Greaser, known for his switchblade
Steve Randle Friends with Sodapop, thinks Ponyboy is annoyingDallas “Dally” Winston Toughest Greaser
Johnny Cade Ponyboy's best friendSandy Sodapop's girlfriend
Cherry Valance Soc girl, dating BobMarcia Friend of Cherry
Bob Sheldon Soc, dies in fightPaul Holden Soc who challenges Darrel
Jerry Wood A man that looks down on the gangs, despite Johnny and Ponyboy saving the children from the burning churchTim Shepard Leader of a different group of Greasers, friend of Dallas
Curly Shepard Tim's tough younger brother, has a criminal record at the age of 15Mr. Syme Ponyboy's English teacher

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters in The Outsiders.

  1. Identify the major characters in The Outsiders and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character from the "1900s" tab to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the boxes for Age, Characteristics, Relatives, and Gang/Friends by adding textables.

Lesson Plan Reference

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaCaliforniaFloridaGeorgiaKansasNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaTexasUtah


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

How To Assist Students With a Long List of Characters in a Novel


Give Them a Template

If there is a long list of characters in a story, students are likely to feel overwhelmed. Offering them a template to keep track of the characters is extremely helpful, and gives them a place to write down their ideas and the little details about each of the characters.


Discuss Relationships

How characters interact in the story is of extreme importance. Assist students in understanding which characters are Greasers and which are Socials, who is related, and who is going out with whom. There are many people to keep track of and students will benefit from your assistance in figuring out who is who.


Find Evidence

Using a storyboard template will focus students as they find evidence about the characters in the book. They can write down quotes, explain character motivations, draw a picture of the characters, and keep all of their ideas together in one place.

Frequently Asked Questions about The Outsiders Character Map

How can I help students notice the little things about characters as they read?

Often young readers miss important details in a story as they read. By having students use character maps, they can keep track of little details and go back to reference them, thereby noticing the more intricate details that make up characterization. What seems unimportant at the time can have true importance as the story progresses.

What is a character motivation?

A character's motivation is the reason why he or she does something. Understanding character motivation is integral for understanding the character's decisions and movements in a story. It is the heart of makes a character a character.

How do relationships affect characters in a story?

Even in fiction, characters do not exist in a vacuum. They are intricately tied to the other characters in books and the relationships they have are extremely important. Characters can influence other characters for positive or negative, and studying these relationships is important to understanding the books as a whole.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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