Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Their Eyes are Watching

Lisa Glenn


Students create a character map for each of the seven characters in the novel, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.


The student applies a variety of response strategies, including rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, writing a formal report, and relating what is read to his or her own experiences and feelings.

The student locates, gathers, analyzes, and evaluates written information for a variety of purposes, including research projects, real-world tasks, and self-improvement.

The student selects and uses appropriate pre-writing strategies, such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, and outlines.

The student uses effective strategies for informal and formal discussions, including listening actively and reflectively, connecting to and building on the ideas of a previous speaker, and respecting the viewpoints of others.


-Copy of novel, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston
-Unlined paper
-Colored pencils/markers
-Unlined paper


1. Read novel
2. Develop traits you want to see for each character.


1. Gain attention Tell the class: We have a new way for you to learn about the characters in this novel. You will create a character map for each character in the novel, adding to each as he or she is revealed in the novel.
*There should be one page designated for each character.
*Each page should display a visual representation of each character. (You will not be graded on artistic ability, but on clarity of conveying what each character looks like). Each character must have the physical characteristics that are listed in the novel; i.e. long blonde hair, drawn or colored on the specific character.
*Descriptive words should extend in mapping form listing attitudes, personality traits, strengths, etc. (as shown on board).
*There should be a minimum of five characteristics per character.

2. Present objectives: Tell the students: “Your goal is to know each character by physical description as well as by personality traits.

3. Relate to present knowledge: Tell the class: You have read, A RAISIN IN THE SUN and are familiar with racism and prejudiced attitudes.

4. Engage students in learning: Tell the students: Listen and learn! Find out how each character uniquely deals with the attitudes and injustices that he or she meets. See how you can “visualize” the character and inner strength, or lack of!

5. Provide for practice: Teacher picks a well-known character, cartoon or person, and develops a character map illustration on the board for students to see.


Students should have seven pages, one for each character.
Each character should have at least five characteristics. (Visual and word combination should total at least five characteristics).
The character-maps should be collated and stapled. (The teacher should have a checklist of each character and the traits he/she would like to see addressed). Students present their character maps in groups as part of their assessment.


Students could demonstrate their knowledge of each character by presenting in oral form to class. Students may dress-up in character and provide oral clues for classmates to decide which character he or she is.
Character maps could be altered to the mapping form with words only.

Web Links

Web supplement for Their Eyes are Watching
Novel Guide

Web supplement for Their Eyes are Watching Index

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