Engage your students in a way that they will be asking, “When do we get to do that discussion again? You know, the one where we get to answer questions as our characters?”
Students select a character to track as they read Lord of the Flies, choosing from Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon, or Sam and Eric. After every four chapters, students then answer questions orally as if they are the individual characters.
Since students have paid close attention to their individual character and have already done some thoughtful analysis, they are eager to answer as their character.
Character interview questions can be used in a variety of ways:
• Students can interview each other (in character) in small groups
• You can conduct it as a panel discussion with students who volunteer to represent their character. (You or a student serve as an emcee.)
• Put students in a group with other students who have tracked the same character and ask them to discuss how they think their character would respond. They could also take turns answering the questions as the character.
• Depending on time, you could start with small groups and then move to the panel discussion. (I generally give students the questions a day in advance so they have time to think through their answers before they are put on the spot.)
No matter which you choose, be prepared for noisy discussions and lots of laughter as your students get into their roles.
While the character interviews are the highlight, the tracking that students do with each chapter prepares students for the interviews and results in thoughtful discussion throughout the entire novel, as well as insightful analysis and elaboration in follow-up writing assignments.
• Student instructions for tracking a theme, an individual character, and then providing a comment on the character’s actions. Instructions are detailed and contain several examples.
• Student form for theme/character tracking. Once completed, these lend themselves well for discussion after each individual chapter, as well as setting students up for success for any theme/character analysis assignment you might want to assign.
• Two rubric options for grading tracking sheets—one holistic and one delineated by section.
• Character interview questions to be used after Chapters 4, 8, and 12. Major characters (Ralph, Jack, Piggy, Simon) have 4-6 questions each; minor characters (Roger, Sam and Eric) have a couple questions. I included Roger to increase flexibility with the discussions, but since he is a minor character, I don’t have students track him throughout the novel.