Lesson Plan Title : When They Were Young

Age Range: Grade 6 through Grade 8 (Middle School Level)

Overview and Purpose : Have your students ever wondered why certain story characters act the way they do? This lesson will help them figure that out, as students put themselves in the characters shoes.

Objective: The student will be able to use contextual clues to infer previous events in a character's life.


Teacher created worksheet


Divide the class into trios. Have each group choose one of the main characters in the story. Ask them to look at the life of the character and infer what his childhood might have been like. Explain that they are doing two things in this exercise. One is they are learning to look for contextual clues and the other is that they are learning to develop a character more fully. Cinderella's step mother is a good example to use. Based on her cruelty to Cinderella, the students might say she was treated badly growing up, she did not have a mom to learn good behavior from, or that she was not loved.

Have the students complete the worksheet and then present their findings to the class. Make sure to stress to the class that this is an exercise in looking for contextual clues. There is no right or wrong answer to what the character's childhood was like.

Sample chart for the worksheet:


Behavior or trait shown by the character
Possible Explanations
Had Cinderella do all the work
Not loved growing up, teased, mom was mean to her or she was nice and someone hurt her enough to make her mean
Locked Cinderella in her room when the King's men came    


Be prepared to talk to students about their own personal experiences with similar, real-life characters that they have come into contact with. What characteristics does the person have that may give clues about why they act the way they do?