Character Gallery Walk

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Objective

Students will be able to analyze how characters traits affected plot by completing a character gallery walk and discussing character traits.

Big Idea

Tracing how scapegoating develops conflict one character at a time.

Daily Grammar

15 minutes

We revisit the concept of hyphens in today's paragraph.  In line three, the prepositional phrase "for their one legged poses" appears. It's not one poses and legged poses.  One and legged combine to form the meaning, which is why it is one-legged poses and not one legged poses.

We also continue in the quest for subjects and verbs to agree.  In line five, the subject is scientists and the verb is to have.  Scientists has is incorrect because has is used for the singular (one scientist has).  More than one scientist has come to the conclusion, so scientists have is correct.

Setting Up for the Gallery Walk

10 minutes

The day before we left for Spring Break students worked on creating character posters.  Today I gave students ten minutes EXACTLY to finish up those posters and help me set up for the gallery.  Sometimes it's nice to have minions, I mean students to help you.

I reminded students of the parts that they needed to include on their poster. They needed an illustration, at least two quotes that clearly show the character's direct and indirect traits, and a paragraph that explains how those traits impacted the plot.  Their traits, or at least what other characters inferred from those traits, are what caused the characters to become scapegoats, and the reason they became scapegoats is what helped drive the plot.

After briefly running through that all again, students got ten minutes to finish their posters. 

When they were done, I gave them a couple pieces of tape and asked them to place them around the room.  By the time the timer went off, all posters were hanging up.  It was a miracle.  A miracle, I tell you.

Character Gallery Walk

20 minutes

Today students went on a gallery walk of their characters' posters.  They used a chart like the one in the picture to record the how the character's traits impacted the plot.  For example, Steve was the rational one. Throughout the play, he was the one that tried to calm people down.  Don and the Woman were the ones who freaked out the most.  Their behavior, especially Woman, escalated the plot due to her incessant accusations.

I gave students ten minutes exactly, measured by the trusty timer, to walk around.  See the video in this section to see them in action. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to get students up and moving.  Teachers are constantly reminded to give students opportunities to get up and move around.  It's fascinating to me that when they're given those opportunities, they're reluctant to move.  Nagging them sometimes works, standing really close to them sometimes works, walking them over to the posters one at a time works, giving them a challenge works. 

See this video to see students in action and hear how noisy a gallery walk can be. What's that sound?  It's the sound of learning.

Characters and Scapegoating: The Discussion

10 minutes

After the gallery walk, we had a short discussion about the characters based on what they'd learned during the gallery walk.

Here are some highlights from the discussion.

  • Steve was the only rational one.  Even though he was freaked out, he remained calm and logical.  Even when he was targeted as a scapegoat for having a ham radio, he didn't lash out at others.  He certainly did get defensive and he used sarcasm, but he never blamed others.
  • Tommy was the character who sparked the suspicion.  Once he brought up the comic book story about aliens who looked just like humans, the characters moved from being wary to being nervous.  Without that story, is it possible that they wouldn't have turned on each other?  According to Figure 1 in Act 2 Scene 2, they still would have turned on each other, but Tommy's story certainly was critical in starting the suspicion.
  • The Woman is fascinating.  It's easy to overlook her because she doesn't have a name.  She must be a minor character, right?  If you look at her lines, though, she spends almost the entire play blaming others.  She manages to never have suspicion cast on her, but she casts suspicion on everyone else. 

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