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Students Use Critical Thinking to Analyze Character Goals

By Trent Lorcher

In this simple yet effective lesson plan, students analyze the goals of a character from a novel or historical reference. In addition to helping you assess students' understanding of the assigned reading, this assignment reinforces critical thinking.

Creative lesson plans on literary terms achieve the ultimate goal of any history or literature teacher: get students to think critically.

Description

Alone or in a group, students develop a chart to track the goals and whether or not those goals are achieved for a major character in a novel, play, short story, or history lesson. The chart should include the following:

  • Five to ten goals of the character
  • Classification of goals: short-term or long-term, meaningful or not, how attained or why failed, impact on self and others.
  • Page where the goal is found and page where goal is attained or denied.
  • Page where the goal is explained.
  • Organization and readibility; clear labels and headings

Difficulty level can be adjusted depending on the students. Additional strategies for differentiation include:

  • Requiring more or fewer character goals.
  • Requiring more or fewer details.
  • Supplying a pre-printed chart with headings.
  • Completing one example in class (strongly recommended for all levels).

Quality Checklist

  • Have I classified the goals as short-term or long-term, meaningfulness, attained or not, and impact on self and others?
  • Did I identify the page numbers where the goal is found?
  • Have I explained the attainment or failure of the goal?
  • Have I made my chart easy to read with clear labels and headings? Is it organized?
  • Have I used correct mechanics?
  • Do I have complete sentences with appropriate word choice?
  • Is my final product neat, orderly, complete, and accurate?

Rubric

'A' chart: Goals are classified according to chart headings; the analysis shows an understanding of the character and the assigned reading; the chart is organized and easy to read; the format is neat, orderly, accurate, and complete; spelling, punctuation, capitalization are correct.

'B' chart: Goals are mostly classified according to chart headings; the analysis mostly shows understanding of the character; the chart is mostly organized and easy to read with clear labels and heading; the format is mostly neat and orderly, complete, and accurate; mechanics are mostly correct.

'C' chart: The chart classification clearly indicates character goals; the analysis only somewhat shows an understanding of the character; the chart is somewhat organized with difficult to read labels and headings; the format is somewhat neat, orderly, complete, and accurate; mechanics are somewhat correct.

'D' chart: Goals are not classified; the analysis demonstrates no understanding of the character; the chart is not organized; the format is not neat, orderly, accurate, or complete; mechanics stink.