Students will have a greater understanding of the characters and their relation to other characters.
This activity can be done by students individually, in small groups, or the class as a whole. Either a character web or a simple chart can be used. This activity uses a graphic organizer to help students to understand the motivations of characters—the factors that have shaped characters. Other minor characters, such as the Boss or Whit, may be added.
- Copy of the Characters Organizer (optional)
- Large sheet of butcher paper (optional, for working together as an entire class)
- Sample Character Web (optional)
- If done as a character web, students need to have prior instruction in how to create a character web (see Character Webs lesson plan).
- Of Mice and Men notebooks
- 1 class period
- 5-10 minutes for multiple class periods (if done as an ongoing activity)
- Distribute chart (optional).
- If using a character web, review Character Webs. Distribute Character Web Sample (optional).
- Choose one character and, with class participation, model how to complete the chart/character web. If doing this activity on an on-going basis, or as a large group, single period activity, consider modeling on a large sheet of butcher paper (this can remain up throughout the unit).
- ~Start with the simple, objective facts (physical description, age, etc.).
- ~Move into more subjective descriptions (personality, attitudes, fears, etc.).
- ~Finish with how the character relates to others and their role in the novel.
- For a one day activity:
- ~Have students work individually or in small groups to complete the chart or character web.
- ~Or continue to complete the chart or character web as a class. Use student participation and input.
- ~Each student should create and keep a completed copy of the chart or character web, even if done as a group activity.
- ~If done individually or in small groups, allow time at the end of the class period for each group to share to the class.
- For an on-going activity:
- ~Post the chart or character web on the wall.
- ~During discussions of the reading, add to the chart or character web when important discoveries have been made. Consider allowing students to come up and do this.
- ~Each student should create and keep a completed copy of the chart or character web, adding to it as the unit continues.
- Ask students to predict what may happen in the novel based on what they have discovered about the characters. (Consider keeping a record of these predictions to follow-up on later.)
- Friendship is an important theme in Of Mice and Men. Students should be aware of what friendships are being made and why those friendships are important.
- How are the relationships between characters similar to relationships the students have experienced (parent-child, friend, mentor, etc.)?
- Students should come away from this exercise with more understanding of the characters and how they interact.
- When appropriate, go back to student predictions to see if those predictions came true. Discuss why or why not.
- How thoroughly did the student(s) examine the character and his/her connections to other characters?
- Quiz on the characters (based on the student findings).
- ~The quiz could be to create a table or an identity chart for a character or characters.
- ~The quiz could be strictly factual (e.g. “Who is the Boss’s son?” and so on).
- Points for maintaining a copy of the chart or character web
Common Core State Standards Met
- Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
- ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 3
- ~Craft and Structure: 5
- Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
- ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1