Unit on Character through Literature:
Lesson Plans for Integrating Local Resources into the Classroom
written by Alice Wasson
Lesson Plan | Assignments
|Assessments | Materials |
Field Trip | Objectives
School and Age/Grade Level: Kirkwoods Adult /Alternative
Subject Area: Literature
Lesson Plan Focus
I will teach a 2-3 week thematic unit on character.
I will introduce the unit by presenting pictures of 4 or 5 people most students
will recognize. These people illustrate either admirable character or despicable
character. After a brief discussion of these people and what character means,
well read and discuss 2 poetry selections that also illustrate character.
Over the next 2 days I will briefly present the remaining pictures and let
students select the individual they want to research. The assignment will be
to write a 1 page report on how this persons deeds and character
influenced society for better or worse. The report will also be presented
orally. Also, each day well cover more selections from literature.
Over the next two and a half weeks well cover the remaining
literature selections. For each literature selection well focus on how
character is illustrated. Well also do a brief literary analysis of
each selection and highlight the more influential authors and poets. During
this period there will be 4 out of class journal assignments. Students will
also have a choice of writing an essay or putting together a collage. As
students complete their research papers they will share them orally in class.
There will be 2 culminating activities. One will be a field trip to the Cedar
Rapids Museum of Art to view the 21 Roman portrait busts. After Ive
presented a brief generalized overview of Rome and Roman life of that time
period, well visit the museum and view the busts. Ill ask
students to consider the legacy the ancient Romans have left us, and to think
about what these Romans might have to say to the various literary characters
weve been studying and to us today. A final assignment will be to write
a letter to one of the Roman busts. On the last day I will administer a test
encompassing everything weve covered in the unit.
Out of Class Assignments
1. One page research paper on one of 18 people who influenced society for
better or worse. It will be presented orally in class. (Some class time will
be allotted for research)
2. Collage - illustrating the meaning of character
3. Essay- A Person I Admire
4. Journal Entries (From the following 5)
- A. A character I admire or detest from our literature selections
- B. Moral dilemmas that test my strength of character
- C. Moral dilemmas facing our society today
- D. Questions I would like to ask one of the characters from our literature
- E. How would a character from our literature selections react to a
particular moral dilemma today?
- One page written and oral report
- Collage or essay
- Four journal entries
- Letter to a Roman Bust
- Lee-Stephen Vincent Benét
- Lucinda Matlock - Edgar Lee Masters
- Mother to Son - Langston Hughs
- My Last Duchess - Robert Browning
- Ozymandius - Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Portrait - Carolyn Rogers
- Richard Corey - Edward Arlington Robinson
- Speeking : The Hero - Felix Pollak
- The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost
- A Mother in Manville - Marjorie Kinnan Rowlings
- Shaving - Leslie Norris
- The Gift of Magi - O. Henry
- The Heathen - Jack Lindon
- The Quiet Man - Maurice Walsh
- Believing in Oneself - Lena Horne - from Many Shades of Black
- The Words of Chief Joseph - (speech delivered in Washington D.C. after
Nez Percé surrender in 1877)
Pictures of the following people (from magazines and other
- Booker T. Washington
- Helen Keller
- Albert Schweitzer
- Dennis Rodman
- Robert E. Lee
- Harriet Tubman
- Mahotma Gandhi
- Elizabeth Blackwell
- Rosa Parks
- Ryan White
- Saddam Hussein
- Jackie Robinson
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Abraham Lincoln
- Jane Addams
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
- Dr. Thomas Dooley
Written materials and computers from school library for research
Arrangements for Field Trip
- Kirkwood vans will be used to transport students to and from the Cedar
Rapids Museum of Art
- Permission slips are not needed since this is an adult high
- To understand that character is what makes each individual unique.
- To understand that an individuals character determines how he acts,
and thus, how he lives his life.
- To understand the relationship between values and character.
- To comprehend how a persons character can influence his family, acquaintances
- To understand that fictional literary characters as well as real people,
can illustrate various character traits.
- To apply universal truths and ideas illustrated in literature and biographical
sketches to real-life situations today.
- To improve writing skills.
- To improve public speaking skills.
- To practice doing simple research with computers and written reference
- To understand and be able to use literary terms useful in discussing and
discussing works of literature
- To do a simple analysis of a piece of literature
- To have a basic knowledge of some influential authors
- To become familiar with a pre-selected group of people from recent times
whose character and deeds had a tremendous impact on society either for good