True Identity

Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Subject Area

English Language Arts




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.

English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 4


Utilize active listening skills during discussion and conversation in pairs, small groups, or whole-class settings, following agreed-upon rules for participation.



  • Active listening
  • Discussion
  • Conversation
  • Rules
  • Participation


Students know:
  • Active listening skills.
  • How to engage in discussions and conversations in a variety of settings.
  • Agreed-upon rules for participation.


Students are able to:
  • Demonstrate active listening skills during discussion and conversation in pairs, small groups, or whole-class settings.
  • Converse in pairs, small groups, and large groups.
  • Practice the agreed-upon rules for participation.


Students understand that:
  • Conversations and discussions follow agreed-upon rules which help us actively listen and gain understanding.
English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 4


Analyze in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text.



  • Analyze
  • Character
  • Setting
  • Event
  • Story
  • Drama
  • Specific details


Students know:
  • Characters are any person, animal, or figure that affect the events of the story.
  • Setting is when and where a story takes place.
  • Events are situations that are described in the story.
  • A drama is a story with dialogue that can be read by different people.
  • Details in the text provide information about the characters, setting, and events.


Students are able to:
  • Use specific details from the text to explain attributes of the characters, setting, or event in a story or drama.


Students understand that:
  • They can explain details about characters, settings, and events in a story or drama by using evidence from the text.

Primary Learning Objectives

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.


Before Activity

  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 throughout the story as certain characters evolve. 

During Activity

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 characters 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 correctly 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.  Review your group work expectations and procedures. 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. 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:

After Activity

  1. Day 2: Creating on the iPads/digital devices using the software of your choice (40-50 minutes)
    *Alternative options with limited technology could be…
    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 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 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.
  2. 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 were 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 them on the computer to share with the class.
    If limited computer use, have students create posters and share by projecting their creations under a document camera.
  • 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 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, the placement of students is crucial.
  • After expectations have been discussed, the table helpers of the day will get an iPad/digital device 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.

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.

Total Duration

Greater than 120 Minutes


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.

Materials and Resources

Technology Resources Needed

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

Approved Date