When comprehending the plot of a narrative text, students need to have a strong understanding of the main characters. This requires taking note of literal details the author provides within the text, but also inferring beyond the text. To help students develop a more complete view of each character, try Character Cubing.
Here are the directions:
- With students in small groups, give each team two game dice (two different colors of dice).
- On the board, list the six characters you want the students to review in one column. And in a second column, list the six types of information you want them to provide about each character. For example, Michelle Sparling created the following for her Southwood High School (Wabash, IN) students after reading Romeo & Juliet.
CHARACTERS (blue die)
- Friar Laurence
- Lord/Lady Montague
- Lord/Lady Capulet
INFORMATION (red die)
- Draw the character (physical description).
- Describe the personality of character (trait).
- Explain the character’s problem.
- Identify a significant scene the character is in.
- Identify a significant quote by the character.
- Describe the character at the end of the story (i.e. resolution; emotionally).
- Each person in the team takes a turn rolling both dice. The number he rolls on the blue die determines the character he is assigned. The red die indicates what he has to share about that character.
- As the dice get passed from person to person, the students inevitably go through the list of characters multiple times, thinking about them through a variety of perspectives. NOTE: If students roll an exact combination, then they should roll again, unless they can provide new insights beyond what the previous student shared.
- While students are playing Character Cubing, the teacher roams the room validating accurate information and making note of misinformation that might need to be clarified.
Change out the character names and use the same list for another narrative text. This is an entertaining way for students to review their understanding of main characters. Love it! Thanks, Michelle!