Dancing Character Traits

Chelsea Francis

Students will gain a deeper understanding of a novel’s characters by analyzing verbs the author uses when showing a character’s actions. Students will demonstrate the ability to identify verbs within a text.


Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea (read aloud novel). Must have met each character once!
Photocopies of each character’s section in the text for each group—7 total
Characterization chart (blank) for reading notebook.
Space – build “spacemaking routine” (set to music perhaps) to help students understand how to effectively clear a large amount of space in the classroom in minimal time.


1. Teacher will begin with read aloud. Upon completion and discussion, Teacher will reference what we know about the characters so far, and ask students how they know this about their character. Teacher will review the expectation that “You can say whatever you want about the text as long as you can back it up with evidence from the text.”
2. Teacher will introduce the activity – creating a dance for each character. Teacher will outline the expectation that the only motions a student can do must be created from a verb IN THE TEXT.
a. Teacher will review what a verb is, and as a class the group will brainstorm dance moves to a few common verbs (run, said, and flopped).
b. Students will go through and highlight the verbs in the text. Groups will brainstorm a dance move for each verb, and will choose 4 dance moves to create their performance (8 beats each, total of 32 beats).
c. Students will write out their verbs and dance moves – justifying their choices (EX: “We chose “murmured” as a verb because this character speaks quietly and we infer that she is shy. We made the movement small to show that she doesn’t like to draw attention to herself”)
d. Students will watch as each group performs their dance. Students will take notes on their characterization chart as each group performs.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Teacher will assist students with highlighting verbs if needed – if there is enough need, the teacher could select a group to meet together for a small group mini-lesson on verbs and on finding verbs in the passage. That group would be assigned a character and could be given additional support when creating the dance, if needed.
2. Teacher will challenge students by asking them to write out an introduction of their character that uses the verbs selected. Students will perform the dance moves as they hear the verbs read during the sharing of the introduction.


Teacher will collect the group’s verb justification papers (Procedure 2.b.i)
Teacher will give students collaboration reflection paper to fill out, which includes the question: How does focusing on the verbs in the text help you to make inferences about a character?

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

1. Creation of whole class characterization chart (anchor chart to display)
2. Found poem with direct quotes from the character

Additional Details

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