Character Analysis – Speed Dating Style

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 24, 2015  in: #tlap, characters, dress-up;, Engagement

Sometimes my craziest ideas turn out to the be the best ones.  We are getting close to the end of the school year, so it’s time for a party in reading class.  But not just any party.  This party was a “dress as your favorite character from a book” party.  Additionally, they brought 5 props or things that the character needed.

When I thought about ways for each student to present, I realized speed dating in character would be the most engaging way to share.  It could get boring listening to 25 kids present their character, but meeting each one on one was perfect!


Students met one to one to share their favorite character and props.

When the students entered the classroom, they noticed the desks were rearranged into groups of 2.  They selected a color dot name tag to write the name of their character and then chose to sit at any desk that had that same color dot. What they didn’t realize was that they were selecting their speed dating group.  Excitedly the students all got into costume and arranged their props.

We started with a mini-lesson on how to introduce yourself, shake hands, and ask interesting questions when you meet a new “person” or character.  From there, they went to their desks and began the process.  I showed them how they would rotate so that they would have a chance to meet the other characters in the room.  I even set a stop watch for 2:30 to keep us on schedule.

Lucky for me we had an odd number of students so I could participate.  Of course my character was Mrs. Frisby, from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.  I wore an apron and brought a little stuffed mouse to represent the rats as well as a picture of a home, the word courage, and a stethoscope to represent the doctor for poor Timothy.


They took notes to record the best word to describe each character they met.

As I listened to each student present their character, I realized this was a great example of character analysis.  These kids knew their characters so well.  They gave evidence of why they chose each prop and why that prop was important for the character.  They explained to each other one word that best described their character.  I was impressed over and over with their commitment to this task.

I could have asked them to write a paragraph about their favorite character, but I don’t think the level of engagement or excitement would have approached the fun we had at this party.  Sometimes you have to go outside the box to create an experience.  This was a very fun day in reading class that they will remember for a long time.


Winnie the Pooh brought his friends from the Hundred Acre Woods


Meeting one on one improves engagement.


Tim Green’s Troy and Stanley Yelnats meet new friends.



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