Questions of Portrayal

Lesson 1— Questions of Portrayal


OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their understanding of basic characterization by reading textbook content with a partner in a character.


Hook: “Mystery Character;” students walk into room, grab a name slip, and put it on their forehead. Students ask questions to figure out their character as well as talk to students as if they were talking to that character—not the student.


Instruction: Write CHARACTERIZATION on the board. Discuss definition of characterization and its elements (voice, body language, emotion, etc.) Also write “Characterization is different from stereotyping.” Ask: What is the difference? How can we avoid negative connotations? There is a line between giving an accurate portrayal and being potentially offensive.


Model and practice: Tell students to pull out a textbook from their backpack (if some students don’t have one, there will be textbooks available) and then ask for a volunteer. The volunteer students will read aloud a section of the textbook as normal. Then, the teacher will assign the student a particular character and tell them to read in that voice. Explain the differences in the separate readings—inflection, diction, etc. Students will then partner together and do the same thing with different characters of their choosing.


Reflection: Discuss what the students saw in the characterizations of their partner. Ask: What made their characterization believable? How did you know who they were portraying? How were voice and body language important? Students translated their reading into a performance through expression. Apply—we all express ourselves every day.