Students will gain a deeper understanding of the characters in the novel.
Students will create a stronger personal connection to characters in the novel.
An identity chart is a graphic tool. It is meant to help students to understand the motivations of characters—the factors that have shaped characters. Identity charts can also be done autobiographically; that is, a student can chart him/herself.
This activity is meant to be done on an on-going basis throughout the reading of the novel.
The Grapes of Wrath
Large pieces of butcher paper to post the work where students can see and interact with it
Brief introduction to the Identity Chart process
Copies of Identity Chart Sample (optional).
15-45 minutes to introduce and begin the process for the first time
3-5 minutes per class period
Open with a discussion about what makes someone who they are. Another way to phrase this is to ask students, “How do you define who you are?”
~Answers may include:
~~Place in family, classroom, or community (e.g.: a daughter, a son, a student, an altar boy, etc.)
~~Things about a student’s background (e.g.: Buddhist, Muslim, female, place of birth, ethnicity, nationality, etc.)
Explain how an Identity Chart works (see example below).
Assign or take volunteers for each of the characters who have appeared in the novel. (This will vary depending on how far into the novel this activity is first begun.)
~This can be done as a large group or in small groups.
~Have student(s) complete the chart as thoroughly as they can.
Allow time during the period to discuss how the characteristics and facts listed on the chart may be important.
~How have some of the characteristics shaped a character’s actions, relationships, fears, etc.?
Allow students to add to the chart on a daily basis.
Have students complete an identity chart on themselves.
Have students complete an identity chart on someone in the family.
Have students make predictions about what characters will do based on what they have listed thus far in the Identity Chart.
Students should begin to see what shapes the actions, emotions, beliefs, and so on, of characters in the novel.
Students should be more familiar with the characters in the novel.
Use the chart as a discussion starter, or have students add things to a character’s chart after other activities, discussions, etc.
Quiz on the characters (based on the student findings in the Identity Charts).
~The quiz could be to create an identity chart for a character or characters.
~The quiz could be strictly factual (e.g. "which character used to be a preacher" and so on.)
When a new character appears in the novel, have students individually create an Identity Chart for that character.
~Assess how well individual students are understanding the process and the novel.
Common Core State Standards Met
Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
~Key Ideas and Details: 1
~Craft and Structure: 6
Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1
~Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: 4
Language Standards 6-12
~Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: 5
Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12