Character Sketches (Literally)

Exploring character traits through inventing/creating new superhero characters and shaping their stories around our lives.

Photo of Chris Good

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Some of the most intense examples of character traits - both positive and negative - are expressed on the pages of comics. Superheros and Supervillans represent the absolute best and the absolute worst in our society (and when most successful, they challenge us to realize that the lines that divide those extremes are deeply blurred).

What if students explored the impact of character and specific character traits by inventing their own comic book characters.
Students would explore and research how different character traits influence their lives and craft original backstories for their characters. Each backstory would define the life events that shaped their character's world view.

As a follow-up exercise students could be asked to explore how their original character might interact in certain prescribed scenarios. 

Students could also adopt these characters as personal avatars for the class - a constant reminder of specific traits each student hopes to portray on a daily basis.


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Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

I actually did this! The first day of school, my grade team partners and I came dressed in superhero costumes. We created our own alter-egos that explained who we were and what strengths (and possibly weaknesses) we have. Then, we guided the students through a process where they came up with their own representative superhero personas, and then presented them to the class as an introduction to themselves. I think this concept could be exploded (this was a few years ago we did this) - how about a superhero cocktail party where the students mingle as their character? What about a class-published comic featuring the characters?

Love this idea and love that you reminded me of this happy memory with my grade 7 students. :)

Photo of Chris Good
Team

Superhero cocktail parties sounds like the most amazing thing ever!

Photo of Chris Good
Team

Cosplay definitely required!

Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

Not even optional!!!

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Chris,
This could be a lot of fun. Teachers could also use the student-created comic book heroes in a lot of different content area projects-- writing, reading, etc. For older students, a study on the history of popular comic book heroes and how they reflect the political, social, and economic feelings of the time would be an interesting history lesson.

Photo of Chris Good
Team

Yes, yes, yes... this could be a lot of fun!

Photo of William Cavada
Team

You can check out this link to Helvetica,  here a superhero was created around social justice and would be a great starting off place for students. Bold http://toolkit.opportunityagenda.org/

Photo of Chris Good
Team

The design nerd in me is sooo incredibly happy that there is a superhero named Helvitika Bold! This is a great link! Thanks so much for sharing!

Photo of Valerie Lewis
Team

I really love this and they could use storyboardthat.com to create an actual storyboard to develop those stories. the class avatars as reminders of the traits we want to see in the room is a "SUPER" idea! 

Photo of Chris Good
Team

Whoa Storyboardthat is soo cool. Sending this link to my daughter right now. Thanks for the cool resource!