Ideas For Teaching Characterization To Elementary

Teach Elementary school students the concept of characterization.

Characterization can be taught to elementary students with the help of well-planned out, educational activities. There are many fun characterization lessons available for teachers to bring to life in their classrooms. The more fun students have learning, the more memorable the material becomes. Let your students enjoy their learning process through character sketches, character posters, graphic organizers and class participation.

Character Sketch

Teach students characterization by creating a character sketch. After reading a novel or short story, have students analyze the character by writing down the following: the character’s physical appearance, personal qualities, values and goals. By writing down all of a character’s characteristics, students are able to create a detailed description while learning the concept of characterization. Have students share their character descriptions as a class.

Character Poster

Teach students characterization by giving a poster assignment. Have students work in groups of four to design a life-size poster that describes a specific character from a novel or short story. Students can trace one person from their group if they wish or create an outline of the character by freehand. Ask students to draw their character based on the descriptions they read on what the character looks like, acts like, says, feels and the general interests of the character. Students can include objects on the poster that represent the character. Have students present their posters to the class.

Graphic Organizer

Help students identify indirect characterization by reading a book and completing a worksheet on one or more of the characters. Explain to your students that indirect characterization is what we know about a character based on what the character says and does. Read Dr. Suess’ book “The Cat in the Hat” aloud to your students. Have students fill out graphic organizer worksheets on one or all of the following characters: the Fish, Sally (the narrator) and the Cat. The graphic organizer should be set up into three columns: type of indirect characterization, examples and explanations. Students should fill the worksheet out for the following types of indirect characterization for one or all of the characters: speech, thoughts, effects on others, actions and looks.

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Differentiate Between Direct and Indirect Characterization

Helps students differentiate between direct and indirect characterization by writing several examples of each on the board. First review the definitions of direct and indirect characterization. Explain that direct characterization is when the author uses adjectives to tell what a character is like. Tell students that indirect characterization is when the author uses verbs to show readers what a character does. Have students take turns coming up to the board and writing a “D” for the examples that represent direct characterization and an “I” for the examples that show indirect characterization. For example, students would write a “D” for direct characterization next to the sentence, “Mary was lazy.” An “I” for indirect characterization would be placed next to a sentence like, “Mary sat on the couch all day and did not do her homework.”