Characterization Recipe Card Activity


Students will create recipe cards that describe characters from the novels they are reading.  Students will walk away with an understanding of characterization, including the application of reviewed terms, such as direct and indirect characterization and static and dynamic characters.  


CC.1.5.9–10.B Evaluate a speaker’s perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence. 

CC.1.5.11–12.B Evaluate how the speaker’s perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric affect the credibility of an argument through the author’s stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone. 

L.N.2.3.6 CC.1.2.9–10.F Analyze how words and phrases shape meaning and tone in texts. 

L.N.1.1.4 CC.1.2.11–12.D Evaluate how an author’s point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. 

CC.1.2.11–12.F Evaluate how words and phrases shape meaning and tone in texts. 


Download: Character_Recipe.pptx

  • Index Cards
  • (Optional) Incentives, such as small candies or tokens
  • Pre-written recipe that describes a character from a previously read novel in class (sample provided)



Do Now:  Look up the recipe for one of your favorite foods.   With a partner, discuss the language and formatting of a recipe.  What words are included?  What verbs are used?  How are the steps described?  


  1. Show the recipe for a character from a novel we have read together.  This includes a sample recipe for the character Candide from Voltaire's Candide.
  2. Students will read through the example and guess which character the recipe describes.  (optional:  offer an incentive for the first student to guess the character)
  3. Introduce the assignment to the students as follows:
  4. Students will then receive a recipe/index card and write a recipe for one of the characters in their lit circle book.  
  5. (optional) Each student will then get a piece of candy of their choosing and share their recipe card. 
    1. If people can guess your character, you have to give them the candy. 
    2. If nobody gets it don't, then you keep it for yourself.  
  6. Students' index cards will be graded on relation to chosen character, creativity, and following the language of a recipe


Review the terms direct/indirect characterization and static dynamic character as a class.  Ask students to share how they feel their chosen characters are characterized.  On the front of their cards, students will circle certain traits and indicate whether they are directly or indirectly characterized.  On the back of their cards, students will write whether they feel their characters are static or dynamic.  


This activity could be completed as a class, creating one master recipe for lower-level grades.

Students could complete the assignment orally

Students could simply identify previously-created recipe cards rather than create their own

Recipe cards could be made based on real-life historical individuals rather than fictional characters

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