Literature Lesson about Archetypes for Students with Special Needs

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Teaching Strategies

Take a popular children’s fairy tale like Cinderella and list the following characters from the fairy tale: Cinderella, the step-mother, the step-sisters, fairy godmother, and the prince.

Write the word archetypical characters on the board and the definition.

List some examples: the hero, the good mother, the sidekick, the outcast and the villain.

Ask the students to name some additional archetypical characters or character types that they can think of and and write them on the board.

Next, put students in groups of four. Ask each group to choose a superhero movie such as Batman, The Fantastic Four or Spiderman. The students will classify characters from the movie. For differentiation, students with limited writing ability will be the group spokespersons and verbally give their responses to the class (two students from each group). Students with moderate writing ability will write the responses from the group.

Students will take notes using an archetypical characters’ graphic organizer. They will present their list of archetypical characters to the class.


You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Posters
  • Glue/glue sticks
  • Magazines (ask your media center for magazines that students may cut up for this project)
  • Markers

Students will create collages to illustrate archetypical characters. The teacher will give the students a list of archetypical characters from which to choose for creating collages. Some examples include: the athlete, the hero, the villain, the good mother, the good father, the popular student, and the college professor. Students will cut out pictures or draw pictures to represent the archetypical character that they select. Students may work individually or in groups for this extension assignment.

To add a technology component to this assignment, the teacher may ask students to create PowerPoint presentations to represent one or all of the examples of archetypical characters. Students can share their work with the class.