Text as a Resource for Character Development


Text as a Resource for Character Development


by Allison Briggs & Maggie Woodbury



Students will demonstrate their understanding of character development by interpreting and performing a character based on a text.



Scene Side (enough copies for each member of the class)  Lesson 1.Scene Side.A Very Potter Musical

Various Scenes (see suggestions below)

8 movie quotes and spoons  Characterization Unit of Lessons.Various Students Lesson 1.Quotes

Copies of the Pride and Prejudice quote


HOOK: (5 min)

Students enter room normally. Introduce that we will playing a game “Guess Who?” Using a list of movie quotes, read each out loud without inflection/character, just focusing on the text. This will be a competition between two teams and every member will have a chance to guess. The teams will race to grab a spoon when they know the character who speaks the quote.


Step 1: (5 min)

Transition – Talk about how the students knew which character was speaking. Question: How could you identify the character without movement, accent, inflection, etc? What clues were in the text to tell us about the character? Guide the discussion to talking about text and textual evidence. Use one of the hook quotes as an example. (ie in the Darcy quote, telling he’s high ranking, he’s struggling with emotions, he looks down on someone else but has feelings for them.) Moving towards why text is important as a reference.


Step 2: (10 min)

Instruction – Why is the text important as a reference for character development? How can we use the text as a resource? Flush out the “clues” on the board.

For identifying clues, have two students write ideas on the board while students shout out ideas about clues in the text. Narrow down list to a simpler focus (stage directions, dialogue, author’s notes, etc.)


Step 3: (15 min)

Guided Practice – Hand a scene side to students and tell them that as a class we will use the scene to “get-to-know” the characters. Ask students, enough to “cast” the scene, to read the script out loud while the rest of the class finds clues within the script about each character. Students should circle the clues during the read through. After the class will engage in a discussion about the clues they read and what they mean for the character.

 A Very Potter Musical (included as attachment)


Step 4: (15 min)

Group Practice – Students will be divided into groups (3-4) and will each work a different scene (with new characters) in their groups to identify clues and develop a character based on those clues.  They will do the same thing we had just done as a class, making notes on their scripts, but now in their smaller groups. The students should know that they will perform their scene for the class applying those clues (particularly the three we chose) to perform their character.

Group Scenes:

A Raisin in the Sun Act 1 Scene 1

Spamalot (the scene with Dennis)

The Importance of Being Earnest Act 1 Scene 1 (Jack enters), Act 2 Scene 2(Gwendolyn enters)

The Wizard of Oz (the scene where they storm the castle)


 Step 5: (30 min)

Performance – Each group will perform their scene. As they perform, other students in the class will take notes of how choices made for the characters fit with the text. Write an example on the board of how the students can organize their notes, and to give them an idea of what they should be looking for.(Example: “Character does… Because the text says….”)


Discussion- After each performance, the class will engage in a discussion about what they saw/heard. What were some of your notes that you wrote?  What choices were supported by the text? Which weren’t?



Connections-Some of the choices made from the actors were not from the text, because there is more characterization needed than just from the text.  The text is a resource, but not the only one. Creating a character requires more work, and next time we will talk about more tools we can use! CLIFFHANGER!!



Students can be assessed on their performance and the engagement in the discussion (5pts). Also justifying the choices they made in their performance during discussion and how well they used the clues that we talked about as a class (specifically the three we had circled).  They will hand in the scripts that they took notes on in their groups for scores (10pts)