Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech the Plunge with the Character Scrapbook


Want to reinforce a variety of standards-based literacy skills in a fun and interactive way?  If so, then Scholastic’s Character Scrapbook is the answer!  This web resource is a user-friendly reader’s response activity students can use to analyze a character in their favorite book or story.  The template not only allows them to include details and reflections about a character through text, but it also provides the students with the opportunity to create a visual representation of that character as well.

Check out the first page of the template shown below:

Additional information that students need to summarize in the Character Scrapbook includes…

  • Ten words that describe __________.
  • Ten challenges __________ faced.
  • Ten accomplishments __________ achieved.
  • And more…

I recently integrated this activity into my Language Arts class after we finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows, and my students loved it!  Of course, their favorite part was designing an image of Billy, the main character, but aside from that, they really enjoyed using a “Cool Tool” to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.  As the teacher, it was very interesting to see how differently each student interpreted the text as well as Billy’s behaviors, actions and feelings in relationship to the events that occurred throughout the novel.

As an extension activity, students participated in a peer review of their classmates’ final product.  After reading the printed version of one another’s Character Scrapbook, students were required to write one positive comment regarding the project’s content.  At the conclusion of this assignment, all students not only received feedback from me, but they had commentary from all 26 members of their class.  How ‘bout that for addressing the four lenses of learning?

Overall, the Character Scrapbook resource was a very effective use of instructional time!  You should definitely consider giving it a try!

Check out a student sample from my class:

Character Scrapbook

In order to maximize time in the computer lab, I had students complete the template shown below prior to participating in the online activity.  Feel free to use it in your classroom!

Character Scrapbook Template

Classroom Connection:

Character Scrapbook provides teachers with an opportunity to incorporate a low-level technology-related activity  into the classroom—one that can generate interest in reading and writing.  Instead of assigning a traditional book report at the conclusion of reading a novel, go digital with the Character Scrapbook!  Not only is this activity a neat way to engage students, but it is a great way to help them form a deeper understanding of a book’s character(s).  Character Scrapbook can be utilized with fiction or non-fiction text as an individual, small group and/or whole class assignment.  The latter would be especially cool if you’re lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard!

In addition, the Character Scrapbook could be used to assist students with creating characters for their own stories.

Lastly, I realize the actual activity is more age appropriate for elementary and middle school students, but the concept can be adjusted for usage with older students (i.e. analysis of a character in a Shakespeare play).

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

Be sure to add this awesome tool to your tech-box!

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