The year 7 classes have been studying Wonder by R. J. Palacio. The author has provided the reader by giving us details not only about the main character August (Auggie) Pullman), but several other characters. The narrative is therefore mostly told to us by Auggie but we also see events from the differing points of view of Via. his sister, Justin, her boyfriend, Miranda, Via’s long-time friend, and several kids who are the same age as Auggie.
The information about the characters has been written down by the author in descriptive sentences, through events that directly involve characters, and by how the characters behave, think and say about each other and especially the main character. There are many ways for our students to show what they have identified about a character from the novel.
One interesting way for them to begin is by creating a digital scrapbook for the character/s of their choice and the tool, Character Scrapbook, allows you to do this in a way that is a lot of fun.
Character Scrapbook is produced by Scholastic and is a web resource that is a simple to use. It offers a reader’s response activity that students can use to analyse any character in a book or story.
The template allows them to include details and reflections about a character through text, but it also provides the students with an opportunity to create a visual representation of that character.
On the left-hand “page” they can choose from a selection of options (including some animal options) to build up an “identikit” image of their character.
On the right-hand side they list the character traits. There are 6 different “pages” that the students need to fill out to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the character. These include:
- Ten things I know about XX
- Ten words that describe XX.
- Ten facts about XX’s personality
- Ten details about XX’s personality
- Ten challenges XX faced in the story.
- Ten accomplishments XX achieved.
Once created they can save or print it as a type of scrapbook.
This tool offers is a simple way to engage students and also offers an opportunity to help them form a deeper understanding of a book’s character(s).
Character Scrapbook could be utilized with fiction or non-fiction text as an individual, small group and/or even whole class assignment.
There is a detailed teacher’s guide on the Scholastic site that has a detailed how-to as well as lesson extensions.
Some of the suggested Character Discussion Questions, designed to help students deepen their understanding of their characters, included the following:
- How would this book be different without this character?
- How did this character affect the events in this book?
- How did this character affect the other characters?
- How was this character shaped by the setting of the book?