Add a Character Writing Assignment Lesson Plan

As Mrs. Cantwaitfortheschoolyeartoend approached her classroom, she realized she had no lesson plan for the day. When she heard the principal Mr. Likestofire would be visiting her that morning, she started to panic, ran down the hall screaming, crammed her hand down her throat, and vomited on my shoes. I instinctively told her she didn’t have to fake sick, pulled out one of my favorite literary character lesson plans, sent her back to her room, and changed my shoes.

In order to help prevent vomiting on shoes at your school, I now share my “Add a Character” writing assignment lesson plan, which also doubles as a characterization lesson plan or, as some like to call it, a character traits lesson plan.

Before we present this wonderful character traits lesson plan, I will vomit (figuratively) ELA Common Core Standards that this lesson covers on to your computer screen.

  • W.9-10.3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • W.9-10.3b – Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
  • W.9-10.3c – Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
  • W.9-10.5 – Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

In addition to these writing standards, you can reinforce several Reading Common Core Standards as well and, as with all writing assignments, you can focus on language common core standards, too.


We now interrupt this awesome lesson plan for something even more awesome!

Once upon a time you had no simple, effective writing lesson plans. Let’s change that.

The “Simple Writing Assignments” teacher’s guide contains 8 simple writing lessons that require very little if any preparation on your part. It contains:

  • lesson plans aligned to common core standards that you can print out, stick in a binder, and dazzle your administrator
  • graphic organizers for each lesson that will help you teach and your students write
  • a rubric for each lesson that makes grading a snap

These are lessons I’ve used and have keep coming back to during my 18 years of teaching.


Let’s get this learning extravaganza started.

This assignment works well after having finished a literary work in class–novel, short story, or even a narrative poem. If you don’t feel what you just read lends itself to this type of assignment, let students choose their own book, story, movie, or TV show to add a character to.


  1. Do a quick review of a story or novel you have read recently in your class. A couple minutes should suffice.
  2. Explain the premise of the assignment: Your assignment is to add a character to the story you’ve been reading and create a scene with the character in it. The scene should be about _______ page(s) long and must contain elements of narrative writing (plot, characters, setting, conflict, details, correct word choice, characters (obviously), and dialogue).
  3. Instruct students to draw on their paper a circle, large enough to write the new characters name, surrounded by four boxes, large enough to describe specific character traits. Of course if you purchased the “8 Simple Writing Assignments” Teacher’s Guide which contains lesson plans, graphic organizers, answer keys, examples, and rubrics, you would have a graphic organizer that you could copy, give to the kids, and simplify the lesson even more (and a rubric, too).
  4. Instruct students to fill out the chart. In the center circle, write the name of the character. In the character trait squares, write down the attribute and an example of the character acting that way. I’ve provided a sample below.
  5. After the chart is filled out satisfactorily, instruct students to write an additional scene starring their new character.

Here’s my incredibly creative example.

I created a character named “Bob the Slob”* for the Harry Potter series.

Don’t mess with Harry Potter!

New Character: Bob the Slob

  • Attribute #1 with Example: Bob the Slob is lazy. Instead of sticking around after school to make up his missing assignments, Bob the Slob goes home and sits on the couch all day.
  • Attribute #2 with Example: Bob the Slob feels entitled. When Bob the Slob gets his report card, he’s stunned about the ‘F’ he’s received. He yells at the teacher, blaming the teacher for reminding him only 23 times to turn the assignment in.
  • Attribute #3 with Example: Bob the Slob is mean. Sullen and looking for someone small to pick on, Bob the Slob runs into his old friend, Dudley Dursley. The two bullies plot to take out their frustrations on Dudley’s cousin Harry Potter, who returned a week early from his “freak” school.
  • Attribute #4 with Example: Bob the Slob is stupid. After seeing Harry Potter turn Dudley into a walrus, Bob thinks he can overtake the young wizard and receives a magical wedgie.

*Any resemblance to an actual person named “Bob the Slob” is purely coincidental. And by the way, if your name is “Bob the Slob”–like your real name–go punch your parents. And if you call yourself “Bob the Slob,” stop it!

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  1. Great lesson. I had finished Lord of the Flies early in one class and needed something. I decided to use it in my other classes, which means I need another lesson. Thanks for the great lesson.