The Outsiders – Character Sketches

Posted October 25, 2010 by 6 Comments

Here at Novel Novice we’re big supporters of using popular and enriching YA literature in the classroom. Under our classroom tab, you can find many unit plans designed by staff members and lessons design by teachers who frequent the site.

In this tradition, we will be hosting two new weekly columns here at Novel Novice. I am currently teaching two novels in my 8th grade English classes: The Outsiders by S.E Hinton and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Mondays for the next several weeks will be known as Outsiders Mondays. Fridays will be known as Hunger Games Fridays. During these days, I will post lesson ideas I have implemented in my classroom.

This week’s idea? Character Sketches. One of the many things students in the 8th grade need to understand is the concept of characterization. Characters can be analyzed by the following: their actions, their words, appearance, and what others say and think about them.

Keeping these characteristics in mind, students will work in groups to create life-size portraits of a character from The Outsiders. Their portrait must reflect the physical description given in the book. Once the drawing is complete, students will answer the following questions using specific examples from the novel:

1) Other people think I am…

2) However I am….

3) One day I will….

4) I really dislike….

5) I like people who are….

6) I consider myself….

7) One lesson I learned….

Example: I consider myself part of family despite having a drunk for a mother and a father who beats me. My friends are my family, and I can trust them to be there for me no matter what. (Johnny)

The students put these examples directly on their portraits and we hang them around the room.


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6 responses to “The Outsiders – Character Sketches

  1. sgundell

    D’oh! I need to make banners & landing pages for you!

    (And YOU still need to link your account to our Twitter … hmmm …)

    • sgundell

      Sweet. I’ll make banners & landing pages this week & email info to you.

      I’ll go ahead & tweet this manually so more people can check it out — very cool stuff!!!

  2. Great idea! We are starting The Outsiders next week with our 8th graders too. I do a lesson called “Opportunities of Life” where I let them participate in activities where half of them are the Greasers and half are the Soc’s. They have to go through the whole day completing tasks (only takes one class period). For instance, they have to “eat breakfast” and the Greasers have to use a little teaspoon and a real egg and run a lap around a certain area (we do this outside) while the Soc’s have a ladle and a plastic Easter egg and only walk 15 steps and then turn around. The activity lets them see the advantages that the Soc’s have and they have to write about it and reflect on that. I also have them write about the comparison of the Greaser’s and Soc’s to our socioeconomic classes today. I have done this for 5 years now and it is one of those things that sticks with them. If anyone wants the lesson I will be glad to send it. Shoot me an email… randomchalktalk at gmail dot com!


  3. mstruitt

    I have done this in the past. it’s a lot of fun. would be happy to post pictures and your lesson on a outsiders monday. let me know!

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