John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, is a staple of 8th grade Language Arts. Each year, students read the novel and participate in the requisite class discussions. Then Ms. Barnhart, 8th grade Language Arts teacher, takes the lesson one step Tara Barnhart with Students further.
Upon completion of reading the novel, students conduct analyses of the characters in the story. Groups of three students are assigned one of the principal characters and then each group creates a five-foot poster reflecting their person.
The posters include written and pictorial analyses of the characters including physical and emotional descriptions, revealing character traits through the use of quotes, and character interactions through dialogue. The students are also asked to investigate the role of the character within the story through a gender-based lens, the decisions the character makes given the circumstances and any prejudices the character displays.
The finished posters hang in the hall outside the 8th grade classroom and include the characters Crooks, Lennie Small, George Milton, Curley’s Wife and Candy.