Are your students disinterested and tired of the traditional ways of learning characterization? Have you been searching for a really fun, student-centered, interactive way to eliminate their boredom? Well, look no further! I present to you a wonderful student-collaboration activity that will get your students involved and excited for a character analysis for any novel, biography study, mythology, current events, or for creative writing and character development.
About the Body Biography project
This project is an excellent representation of how students can conduct analysis for a notable person or biography your students are studying in class. At the upper elementary, middle school, and high school level, we usually rely on just discussing character traits. We want our students to infer tangible traits and values from accurate details found in the text.
This task really engages your students to infer those traits but also allows them to show their knowledge by applying those traits as they create a body biography which includes details from the person’s perspective. The project provides an opportunity for your student to explore together the supporting reasons for the character traits they have chosen for their character’s poster.
What’s the objective?
- The student objectives for the Macbeth Body Biography Project are as follows: Review what is supportive evidence
- Define the literary term “character trait” and explore how to provide details that support their inferences (apply this skill similar to exploring a fictional text).
- Use the novel, class notes, and web resources to research the character (subject), then cite evidence to find accurate and descriptive word choice.
- Fill out the Body Biography graphic organizer/poster.
Group work should promote:
- Intellectual understanding, abilities, and skills.
- Communication, cooperative and teamwork skills such as planning. management, leadership and peer support.
- Personal growth (increased self-esteem and self-confidence).
Remember the 4 C’s for 21st Century Learning
Communication: They are working together to problem-solve. Students need to be able to communicate their ideas and thoughts to one another in order to complete their body biography.
Collaboration: Students form roles within the group. They learn how to work together towards a common goal, not against each other. They learn how to bounce ideas off one another, and not shut down other students thought.
Critical Thinking: Encourage students to analyze, to organize, to evaluate and to implement strategies they have previously learned in order to complete their project.
Creativity: This allows students to think outside the box to come up with possible assets to embellish their projects. The ideas won’t just jump out at them- they will need to use a little creativity to depict their notable person’s body biography.
- Moving desks together or allowing students to work at a table works best for this activity.
- Due to the length of the poster (32 inches), your students will want to have a wider and longer space to work.
- Scissors for each group.
- Have markers, crayons, pencils, and tape accessible and ready
- Displaying the body biography posters are really exciting for the students to see around the classroom – so plan on where you will display them!
Body Biography Project Categories
Direct Quotes: Three direct quotations from the story that sums up the character and add to an understanding of the character. These quotes do not necessarily need to be spoken by the character. Possibly, another character says them in regard to your character.
Virtues: What are your character’s best qualities?
Vices: What are your character’s worst qualities? This can be weaknesses and flaws.
Loves / Cares About: This should represent what this character loves most.
Thoughts about inner-self / Appears to others: Consider both how your character appears to others on the surface and what you know about the character’s inner-self (what the character really thinks about their own self).
Tries to Control: What is an example of how your character tries to seek control.
Symbols: What objects can you associate/relate with your character? Colors can also have a symbolic meaning.
Goals: What does this character want? What actions do they take? These actions often create conflict. How do this character’s goals create the conflict?
Best Accomplishment: What is this character’s best achievement? What is their proudest moment?
Challenge: What is standing in your character’s way? What is holding them back from achieving their goal? Is this someone? Or a character flaw? An event?
Physical Appearance/ Description: What You Notice First. These are defining traits or features of the character. These are aspects that are visually apparent, knowing nothing else about the person. The first thing you see when you look at someone could be their hair, clothes, nose, or figure.
Stayed the Same / Changed: Is this character static or dynamic? Are there any changes that this character has “undergone?” Changes are notable in the text are usually within the character. Could be outlook, insight or understanding. Commonly, changes in commitment, in values, allegiance, stature. Not all the characters are dynamic. Find evidence of both.
How To Grade
Using the rubric, it is simple to grade this group project. Each item on the grading rubric is given a specific amount of points. You can alter the points if you choose.
Learning Outcomes for a body biography project
Reading: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Writing: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Speaking & Listening: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Language: Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for the meaning of style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Here is an example of the common core standards that can be covered using a body biography project:
Reading: Literature 11-12.1-6
Reading: Informational Text 11-12.1-3
Speaking & Listening 11-12.1a-1d
Macbeth Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization$6.99
Refugee, by Alan Gratz Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization$4.99
To Kill a Mockingbird Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization$6.99
The Great Gatsby Body Biography Project Bundle, Great for Characterization$6.99
The Outsiders Body Biography Project Bundle, For Print and Digital$6.99
I am adding more body biographies to my collection. So, if you don’t see one you can use in your classroom, comment here on my post to let me know what your needs are! I am also working on a “blank” version for any novel. As soon as that one is ready I will update this post to include it.
I hope your students find this project to be as engaging and educational as my students have. It truly is a fun project to watch and the end results are awesome. Good luck!
Omg this looks so amazing!!! I would love one for Night, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and the Crucible. Please let me know if any of these are in the near future?!?
Romeo and Juliet is done. Coming any day. I will have The Crucible for sure! Very soon. I need to gather my inspiration for the artwork. Thank you so much for commenting!
That sounds awesome! Thank you for the suggestion!
I am excited for Romeo and Juliet! Where can we find it?
I really love these. When do you think you will come out with a blank one? I teach a reading course at the high school level and we read various novels throughout the year. This would be a great project to help improve critical thinking.
I do have one that is a “blank” – you can find it in my collection. THANK YOU!
Eager for R &J…..
I would love to see some for The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time, or Freak the Mighty. These really are awesome!
I would also love one for The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time!
Great idea! How about some for lower grades? I teach 5th grade gifted ELA and would love to see one for A Wrinkle in Time (Meg), Tuck Everlasting (Winnie), Lions of Little Rock (Marlee), and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Cassie).
The blank posters will work well, though!
This is awesome. How about Equality 7-2521 from Anthem by Ayn Rand?
Wow! These are incredible. I love doing creative, visual projects, but there are never enough hours in the day. Thank you for sharing such an amazing activity. I teach 7th and 8th, and think this would make a wonderful personal intro to present to the class at the beginning of the year. Once students have done this as a group, individuals could use this as an independent reading response.
Novels I teach: Freak the Mighty, The Giver, Roll of Thunder, My Dog Skip, Because of Winn Dixie, A Christmas Carol (play), The Diary of Anne Frank (play).
you are amazing! I’d love to speak with you more – and perhaps do a guest blog post for us! Thank you for sharing your reading list!
These are amazing!
Have you created a blank one yet? Can you please let me know when you have a blank one available?
yes 🙂 You will see it listed – and I added it to this post. Thank you!
Have you considered doing one for Odysseus?
absolutely! II just need to get the artwork lined up.
Do you have the blank ones created? I’d love to try this with our book “Firegirl” and “Walk Two Moons” for our 6th graders!
I added blank ones to my collection! THANK YOU!
Julius Caesar please!
Wow! You are very talented! These are amazing. I would love to see Greek mythology: gods, goddesses, hero’s, etc. Malala Yousafzai and Amal from Amal Unbound!!
I’d love one for Fahrenheit 451!
Love this idea!! Would love to see one for the characters in Cynthia Lord’s RULES novel and MANIAC MAGEE as character analysis is a huge part of our those two novel studies.
I would love to see Freak the Mighty!
My 7th grade Special Education ELA class is working on Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling. One of the characters, Aven, is armless. It would be so incredibly cool to do this project with my kiddos!
How about Wonder? I would love to see one for it. These are incredible!
These are amazing! Would love one for “Of Mice and Men” or a blank one 🙂 Thanks!
I love these! I cannot wait to use the Outsiders version! I would love to see one for The Giver and The Watsons Go To Birmingham, those are the two other novel we read during our school year! 🙂
I see in the previous comments you have added a blank set. Where would I find these?
I am a forensic science teacher. I would love to use this during our serial killer section! Or the history of forensic science to learn about the main historical people in the field.
Your stuff is amazing!
These are amazing! I would love to see one of these for Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone or The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
How about The Old Man and the Sea!
Would you make custom ones for people if they are studying a particular novel?
I’m a primary school teacher who teaches the older grades, these are my novels can you make any up for me?
2. The Greatest Showman
3. Goldfish Boy
4. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
5. Harry Potter & the Philosophers (Sorcerors) Stone
6. Wizard of Oz
7. Alice in Wonderland
I have many resources for these novels but nothing like what you have created.
Please let me know it would be a god send.
This is absolutely awesome! I can’t wait to use the ones for To Kill A Mockingbird! I would love to see some for The Hate U Give!
I have To Kill A Mockingbird. I don’t have The Hate U Give yet. It’s on my list. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm!
Hi, ‘just purchased “Outsiders”, can you create one for “Wonder”?
hi! I do have it in my collection : ) Thank you for your enthusiasm!
These are incredible! I would love to see A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Egypt Game! I’m looking forward to using the blank version until then!
I would love to see some for The Handmaid’s Tale.
I teach middle school gifted students and think this would be great as a culminating project for various topics I teach— currently teaching the Yellow Wallpaper and connecting it to feminism and mental illness….
I love using these! I already have so many but am missing Of Mice and Men… any chance that is in the works *crosses fingers*?
I just purchased the set for Beowulf, and it is great. Would you consider creating a set for Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds or at least one for Will. These would be perfect as a character study set for that novel.
Do you perhaps have the layout for Percy Jackson, The Lightning Thief or Hatchet?
The Canterbury Tales would be AMAZING!
I found your work while searching for Hamlet character analysis ideas. You mention a blank template, but I do not see it. Would love to see Hamlet and the Odyssey.
I bought the one for any novel and for A Christmas Carol. I would love if you would consider doing one for The Joy Luck Club!!