"Relationship Rectangle" Characterization Activity

Relationship Rectangle Cover.jpg
Relationship Rectangle Cover.jpg

"Relationship Rectangle" Characterization Activity

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This listing is for a sample lesson sequence from The Big Book of Characterization (sold separately). The full book contains over 100 pages of lessons centered around the literary element characterization but also has students analyzing a bunch of different literary elements and techniques while targeting reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These are great activities to make Characterization the entire focus of your ELA curriculum! So, if you like what you see here, check out the listing for the ENTIRE BOOK!

"Relationship Rectangle"

To analyze how character relationships contribute to character development

To develop criteria for analyzing character
To assess comprehension of character development across a text
To select appropriate academic vocabulary for literary analysis
To support analysis with textual evidence
To communicate and defend an argument through class discussion

Common Core Standards
R1, 3, 6, 11/ W1, 2, 4, 10-11/ SL 1, 4, 6/ L1-3

For this activity, students will consider how the protagonist’s relationships in a story develop characterization. The “Relationship Rectangle” asks students to focus on the protagonist’s key relationships, including the protagonist’s most important relationship, most difficult relationship, the relationship that provides the protagonist with the most help and support, and finally the antagonist that acts against the protagonist throughout the story. Student’s selections for these relationships may vary, but students are asked to support their relationship selections with textual evidence and then discuss their findings with a group. Through this discussion, students will begin to agree/ disagree with each other’s relationship selections as a means of synthesizing how relationships in a story serve to characterize the protagonist. 

Students are then asked to develop an analytical paragraph that asks them to analyze how one particular relationship constructs the characterization of the protagonist. I have provided a shaping sheet for this analytical paragraph; however, you may wish to use it only for differentiation, with all of your students, or not at all (depending upon your students’ skill levels and needs).