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Character Plotting

Found In: book report, communication & collaboration, language arts, pairing & grouping, reading

When my students study novels with complex character relationships, I have them work in small groups to “map” the relationships once all the main characters have been introduced. They list each character on a separate scrap of paper and arrange those names on a cleared table in some form that shows connections.

Then I give each group a large piece of paper and some rubber cement. They attach the characters in the decided-upon places and draw lines and labels to explain the relationships. The extent of artistic embellishment is up to them, but allowing a little extra time for this is a good way to have them focus on symbolic representations of the novel as well. Seemingly without effort the students carry on good discussions about the relationships, and the pooling of several minds points out perspectives that a single student might not pick up.

Each group presents the finished product to the class. I hang the posters for future reference and lead discussion about changing alliances by the end of the book.



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