Story Character Homepage
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Students look at a variety of student and family homepages and make a list of common elements. They then make a list of elements unique to them that would be found on their homepages. Next, students select a character from a novel they have read. They use an online tool to gather basic information about their character and analyze the character to determine what he or she might include on a homepage. Students make a list of graphics and links they might incorporate into their character's homepage, then plan the page using a storyboard. Finally, students create their character's homepage using a Web-authoring or word-processing program.
Literary Elements Map: Students can use this online tool to begin an analysis of their character.
From Theory to Practice
Today's students are immersed in technologies that enable them to communicate and create in graphically rich, flexible, multimodal formats. In their article "Infusing Multimodal Tools and Digital Literacies into an English Education Program," Doering, Beach, and O'Brien state that "in composing digital texts, adolescents need to think both multimodally and semiotically-that is, they need to think about which media and modality best represent their ideas and how to format their pages in ways that invite their readers to select those links leading readers to relevant information. The composing plan involves not only what one wants to say, but how one wants to say it, and knowing how to strategically place links that lead to the intertext."
This lesson requires that students integrate both written and graphic responses to a character in literature. Students must collaborate in an active, hands-on experience that requires students to combine character analysis with technology to construct their ideas in a new format.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
Materials and Technology
- Internet-connected computer for each group
- Web-authoring or word-processing software
- Access to a Website on which to upload homepages or CD burner and blank CDs
- Obtain access to computers and other software.
- Acquaint yourself with the method you choose for students to construct their Web pages.
- Make copies of handouts and rubrics.
- Test the Literary Elements Map on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.
- form small groups of 3 to 5 to analyze a character in a piece of fiction they have read either in literature circles or as a whole class.
- research personal homepages online or view teacher-selected personal homepages and compile a list of common elements.
- choose elements which they wish to incorporate into their character's Web page.
- analyze what information they believe their character would wish to put on a homepage.
- construct their character's homepage using a Web-authoring program (e.g., FrontPage, Dream Weaver, Communicator) or using a word-processing program (e.g., Word or Claris Works).
- use text, color, and graphics in their homepage.
- include in their homepages at least four hyperlinked pages: an index page, a favorite activities page, a favorite Websites page (this page can be eliminated if there is concern of students accessing inappropriate sites, or teacher could supply a list of acceptable sites for various interests), and a personal page.
- either publish their Web pages on the Internet or save on a CD to present to the class.
- Provide a handout with some links to students' ePortfolio homepages. It is also good to let the students do some of the research themselves. Most schools' software protects students from accessing inappropriate sites, but students could be limited to links on the handout.
- Students go on the Internet and explore homepages, looking for as many as they can find in the time allowed. One way to find homepages is to go to yahoo.com or google.com and type in "family homepages" in the search window. Another fun way is to type your last name in the search window and look at the homepages of people who share your last name. This step would be eliminated if students are given a teacher-selected list of homepages.
- Students make a list of elements that they find common to most homepages.
- Then they make a list of elements which would be unique to them and would be found on their own homepages.
- Students choose a character from their novel for whom they will develop a homepage.
- They then analyze the character thoroughly. What things might this person put on his or her homepage?
- Students can use the Literary Elements Map student interactive to gather basic information about their characters. Encourage students to answer the questions from the perspective of their character (e.g., what is the main conflict for the character you're exploring?)
- Students then make a list of the graphics and writing that they will put on their homepages.
- Here they can fill out the storyboard form for building a Web page.
- Using a Web-authoring or word-processing program, students create their character's homepage. It should contain a minimum of five graphic elements and three written elements. It should also contain a minimum of four pages hyperlinked to each other, as in the storyboard form.
- Once the homepages have been created, students save them as Web pages on the supplied disks, or, if the school allows, upload them to a Website.