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Characterization Mini-lesson: Literary Elements & Writing Analysis {COMMON CORE}

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1 MB|8 pages
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This listing is for a characterization activity entitled "Subtext Submarine" in which students analyze how subtext reveals character traits.

This mini-lesson is part of the Mega Characterization Bundle of over 15 characterization mini-lessons that get your students working with all literary devices and techniques. You can find it listed separately in our store at:


Bundle and save over $15.00!

For this mini-lesson:

To assess how subtext reveals character traits

To develop criteria for analyzing character
To assess comprehension of character development across a text
To support analysis with textual evidence
To use inference to analyze character
To present findings to the class in an effective, organized, and compelling way
To work effectively with others to produce a product

Common Core Standards
R1-4, 6, 10, 11/ W1, 2, 4, 10-11/ SL 1, 4, 6/ L1-6

Subtext is a difficult skill for students to comprehend because it requires students to look beyond what they see and to use their inference skills to draw conclusions about character. For this reason, I have developed the metaphor of the submarine to help students visualize this concept. In the “Subtext Submarine” activities that follow, students are introduced to the concept of subtext and then asked to apply that concept to character analysis. The Lead Activity contains an introduction to subtext using the metaphor of a submarine—the idea being that text exists on the surface (above the water), and subtext exists below the surface (under the water). Students are then asked to analyze a series of silly conversations for subtext and then to create their own. They will not only enjoy analyzing the silly conversations (“Ten Ways to Say NO!”) but also inventing their own (“Ten Ways to Say YES!”).

The follow-up activities ask students to find examples of subtext in a piece of literature and explain how the subtext reveals character traits. Students can refer back to the list of Characterization Adjectives at the beginning of this packet in order to select appropriate academic vocabulary as they assign character traits to each example of subtext. Finally, students will then create a skit in which they use subtext to reveal character in order to synthesize their understanding of the concept.

Once students have a grasp of the concept of subtext, they will enjoy working with it and using it to analyze character.
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