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The learner will explore the personality traits that illuminate and motivate the characters in James and the Giant Peach by creating a “T" chart for each main character.
The novel James and the Giant Peach, several sheets of notebook paper (one for each main character in the story), pencil or pen.
1. Divide each sheet of notebook paper with a large “T".
2. Above the top line, write the character's name.
3. Above the left branch of the “T", write Actions/Dialogue. Over the right branch, write Personality Traits Revealed.
4. While reading the novel, whenever a main character does or says something you consider interesting (whether positive or negative), jot down the page number of the action/dialogue in the far left margin. Next to it, briefly describe the action or copy down the line of dialogue that the character says.
5. On the right side of the chart, describe what each particular action or dialogue shows you about the character. For instance, at the end of chapter eight after Aunts Sponge and Spiker have made a great deal of money charging admission to see the peach, a famished James asks to have something to eat. On the left side of the “T" would be the quotation “We're too busy to make food! We are counting our money!" On the right side could be written, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker show how incredibly greedy and selfish they are. Obviously, money is far more important to them than the wellbeing of their nephew.
1. Choose two of your favorite characters to compare and contrast with a Venn Diagram.
2. Write a letter to a relative or friend as if you were one of the characters from Jamesand the Giant Peach.
3. Pretend to be a talk-show host and write the script for an interview with one or more of the characters. Gather some friends and act it out!
James and the Giant Peach Character Study Activity
This series of articles includes lesson plans teaching the book James and the Giant Peach to upper fourth graders or lower fifth graders. With modifications, the book could be taught anywhere from third to sixth grade.