Characterization Pictorial

I have used Characterization Pictorials in the past; it’s a wonderful tool to help students identify key characteristics in a character, locate the textual support for their conclusions, as well as being able to have a creative outlet.  Sounds pretty close to Common Core Standards to me!

I assigned this project to my English I classes as they continue to read Romeo and Juliet.  In my description of their assignments we reflected first on the two different types of characterization:  direct and indirect.


Direct: Kristen Stewart is an odd person.

Indirect: Nobody could quite figure out Kristen Stewart’s behavior.


There are five methods of Indirect Characterization:

1.  What a character says

2.  What a character thinks

3.  What a character does (actions)

4.  What a character looks like

5.  What impact a character has on other characters

Keeping these five methods in mind, most students are able to define them, but identifying them in a text proves to be more difficult.  But with enough practice, and examples, I’ve been the proud teacher to see students identify and label examples of indirect characterization.

Once the quotes have been chosen for a particular character, they are spread out on a sheet of colorful paper and graphics are added to complete the pictorial.  I have an example from Looking for Alaska by John Green.  The character that was chosen was Alaska Young herself.


This was my best attempt at recreating an example on my Promethean board.  The quotes that I chose were:

“I’m not really up for answering questions that start with how, when, where, why, or how.”

“Ya’ll smoke to enjoy it.  I smoke to die.”

“If people were rain I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

“Sometimes you lose the battle.  But mischief always wins the war.”

This is a great exercise for teachers to gauge their students’ abilities to understand the characters and characterization in a text.

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