Characterization Thumbprint Lesson

Here is a fabulous characterization idea, based on the artwork of Darren Booth!  I saw a similar idea on Pinterest, pinned by Rebekah Lyell, who had her students create them for an “identity” unit on themselves.  I saw that, and thought, what a great idea to incorporate characterization, getting deeper into the thoughts and perspective of the character!

There are two ways to make these Characterization Thumbprints, depending on the amount of work you are willing to do!  The first way is to have students take an impression of their own thumbprint using ink–or even better–washable marker (just have them color their thumb, then take the imprint, then wash).  Be sure to have wipes on hand.  Next–be sure student’s names are on their paper–take the thumbprints to the copier and enlarge them by 800-1000% if you can.  Once you give them their enlarged thumbprints, have students recreate their thumbprint with concepts, thoughts, ideas, and facts about the character of their choice (which works well if you are working on a novel at the time).  This works really well when it is written in first-person, and even stream-of-conscious.  Encourage them to follow the movement and breaks of the thumbprint as they write.

The quicker way is to just make a copy of one thumbprint (can be yours), and display it with a projector.  Students can then follow the curves and breaks of that thumbprint when putting together their thumbprint on paper.  Obviously, it is not completely important that the thumbprint is perfect–but that the characterization is right. Again, this works really well when it is written in first-person, and even stream-of-conscious. It’s an art project and characterization activity all in one!

If you have any ideas, or you decide to use this in your own classroom, please share pics and/or stories of how it went.

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Great idea, but I think even a loving couple could do it on a budget for Valentine’s day. Or frame it for their loved one.

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