ALEX Lesson Plan


True Identity

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Jenny Ryan
System: Florence City
School: Florence City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33427


True Identity


After reading a chapter book together as class, table groups will each be given a different story character to analyze in more detail.  Student groups will chose from a given list of choices how they want present their character via a creative app on the iPad to the rest of the class.  The other table groups must guess the character being presented and base their guess upon text evidence.  The table group that everyone guesses accurately wins.


 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
3 ) Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions). [RL.4.3]

NAEP Framework
Anchor Standard::
Anchor Standard 3: Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Cognitive Target::
  • Identify textually explicit information within and across texts such as character traits, sequence of events or actions, setting, (identify) figurative language.
  • Consider text(s) critically to evaluate a character's motivations and decisions.

NAEP Descriptor::
Evaluate and explain which story character is most important and provide specific info. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Infer character trait from story details to provide a description. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Evaluate character development using text support from beginning and end of a story. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Identify and explain attitudes of two main characters. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Use story events to support an opinion about a character's behavior. (Critique and Evaluate)

NAEP Descriptor::
Describe how main character's feelings change over the course of the story. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Infer a story character's feelings to provide a description.

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize reason for story character's action. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Use story events to support an opinion about story genre. (Critique and Evaluate)

NAEP Descriptor::
Evaluate and recognize primary importance of a character to the story. (Critique and Evaluate)

NAEP Descriptor::
Infer and recognize main problem faced by a story character. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize the main way author presents information about a biographical character. (Critique and Evaluate)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize description of character's action explicitly stated in a story. (Locate and Recall)

NAEP Descriptor::
Interpret description to recognize how story character feels. (Integrate and Interpret)

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.4.3- Describe and/or identify a character, a setting, or an event in a story.

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
32 ) Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. [SL.4.1]

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion. [SL.4.1a]

b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles. [SL.4.1b]

c. Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others. [SL.4.1c]

d. Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion. [SL.4.1d]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will use detailed descriptions based on text evidence to describe a story character.

Students will work together in groups to chose a project, create a presentation together, and make a presentation to the class.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • Student Reading Journals
  • Multiple copies of the chapter book being read aloud

Technology Resources Needed:

  • 5 iPads or enough to have 1 iPad per group
  • Projector
  • Document camera


Students will have prior knowledge of adjectives to describe a character.

Students will have prior knowledge of how to determine appropriate traits to describe a character such as a character’s thoughts, words, or actions.

Students will have prior knowledge of how to find and document text evidence.

Students will have had experience using the iPad.

This lesson would be good to do during a Unit Review week if your school system follows a reading series that has five weeks of reading lessons with one or two weeks of unit review in preparation for the Unit or Benchmark test.  The use of chapter books during review weeks is a great source to check mastery of skills within one text.

  1. Prior to the character lesson project, the teacher will read aloud a chapter book that incorporates multiple characters with good character development. (The read aloud could take a few days to finish or a couple of weeks depending on the length, complexity, and time allotted.)
    • Throughout the story, character maps will be filled out in the students’ reading journals for each character (one page per character).  The teacher will model this under the document camera until students are ready to write their own as they progress through the story.  Students do not just write one-word character descriptions on their word web, they are expected to back up their adjectives with text evidence found throughout the readings along with the coinciding page number.  An example from the story “Holes” by Louis Sachar might be:  It says on page #__ that Stanley Yelnats felt _______.  That must mean he is _______.   Or X-ray did ________ on page #___.  That must mean that the other guys think he is _________.  Character webs will be added to throughout the story as certain characters evolve. 
    • Here are three examples of character webs that students draw in their journals:
  2. Day 1 after completing the book: Building and describing the character (30 minutes)
    • Tell the students that each table group is about to receive an enclosed envelope with the name of a character from the chapter book that they have just finished reading together. Each table will be given a different character.   Tell students to keep their character a secret from the other table groups.  Tell the students that as a table group, you will create a presentation of your character’s traits to the class.  The class must guess which character you are presenting about, so you cannot say your character’s name or write it in your presentation.  Tell students that the table group that guesses every character presentation correct will get a prize.  True identities will be revealed at the very end.  Remind students to not open the envelope until told to do so.  Together as a class, recite the group rules from the anchor chart. Now, count to 3 and have the table helper of the day open the envelope.
    • Once each table knows the character they will be working on, students are to go back in their reading journals to the character web of that particular character.  Today’s purpose is to use their notes to complete a more detailed character analysis.  Students will choose one option from the presentation choice board on how to present their character to the class (see attachment).  Group members will brainstorm ideas and organize their draft or outline for their presentation.  
      Any character analysis worksheet that suits your needs will work.  Here are a few that I like:
  3. Day 2: Creating on the iPads with the apps Screen Chomp or Educreations (these are both interactive whiteboard apps with recording ability)  (40-50 minutes)
    *Alternative options with limited technology could be…
    To plug an adapter into the iPad connecting it to the projector.  
    If  limited access to iPads or computers and students created a poster, share by projecting their creation under the document camera
    • The teacher will give students 5 minutes to rehearse their presentations or add finishing touches before the first presentation begins.
    • During each presentation time, the other table groups will have a character presentation
      assessment form to fill out while watching the presentations.  The student audience is independently looking for clues for a certain character from the story and listing the evidence from the text as to why they think it is a certain character (see attached form for assessment of character presentations).  After each presentation, give students one minute to finish their form and two minutes to discuss with their table groups to come to an agreement.  Continue this model after each group presentation.  The teacher will be circulating through the table groups making notes and checking for accuracy. 
    • After all presentations have been given and all student groups have had time to discuss and guess each character, true identities will be revealed. 
    • The table group that had the most correct guesses will get a prize.  Example: Table 2 correctly guessed the characters of Table 1, 3, 4, and 5. So Table 2 would get a prize.  If two tables tie, they both get a prize.  If all tables guess accurately, everyone wins and gets a prize. 
    • After true identities have been revealed, then students will individually complete a presentation review and reflection form (see attached form).
  4. Day 3 (and possibly Day 4 depending on time) Presentation via connection to the projector (about 60-70 minutes which may be broken up into two parts of the day or two different days if needed to keep students' interest.)
    *alternative options with limited technology could be…
    When I had only one iPad in my classroom, table groups created on the iPad in small group rotations which might add a day or two to the creations to give everyone ample iPad time.
    If no iPads, have students create on the computer to share with the class.
    If limited computer use, have students create posters and share by projecting their creation under an Elmo.
    • Have students get out their presentation choice papers for review before getting started today.  The teacher will give a reminder of the pieces of information that must be in the presentations. The teacher will give a quick review of how to use these apps.  The class will recite the group rules displayed on the anchor chart.  The teacher will move groups around the room or in the hallway depending on which type of presentation each group picks.  Since the goal is to be secretive until presentation time, placement of students is crucial.
    • After expectations have been discussed, the table helpers of the day will get an iPad and get their group started.  During creation time, the teacher is constantly walking around, questioning, observing, making notes, assisting, and making sure that everyone is engaged and working.
    • Once creations are made, students must rehearse their presentations that will be given tomorrow.  If student groups finish before the time is up, they must work on homework or read, but may not walk around the room to disturb or spy on others.

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Assessment Strategies

  • Observations and questioning will be used throughout
  • Assessment form that students complete during presentations to record their character guesses and text evidence
  • Teacher checklist for student guesses after presentations
  • Rubric for presentation criteria
  • Peer review and reflection form


This particular lesson uses five characters because I have five table groups (one for each group).  However, if the chapter book has more than five meaningful characters, this lesson can be repeated with other story characters and the groups have to choose a different way to present their findings.  Or, smaller groups can be formed to cover several characters.  If the story read only has two or three meaningful characters, then multiple groups may get the same character without knowing.

My groups are heterogeneous, but homogeneous groups can be formed with more challenging options on a choice board being given to the higher group.


I set up my desks in a way that form table groups that are heterogeneous, so there is a lot of peer assistance.  However, depending on a particular student’s needs, a teaching assistant or assistive technology may be necessary.  The Character analysis map can be adapted for easier use as well.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.