The Red Pony - Identity Charts


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Download "Identity Charts" as a Word file (64.5KB)


Language Arts, History

Grade Level


Type of Activity

Large Group, Small Group, Individual, Ongoing


  • Students will gain a deeper understanding of the characters in the novel.
  • Students will create a stronger personal connection to characters in the novel.


An identity chart is a graphic tool. It is meant to help students to understand the motivations of characters—the factors that have shaped characters. Identity charts can also be done autobiographically; that is, a student can chart him/herself.

This activity is meant to be done on an ongoing basis throughout the reading of the novel.

Materials Needed/Preparation 

  • Large pieces of butcher paper to post the work where students can see and interact with it
  • Brief introduction to the Identity Chart process
  • Copies of sample identity chart and blank chart (optional)
  • The Red Pony notebooks 

Estimated Time

  • 15-45 minutes to introduce and begin the process for the first time
  • 3-5 minutes per class period 


  • Open with a discussion about what makes someone who they are. Another way to phrase this is to ask students, “How do you define who you are?”
    • Answers may include:
      • Place in family, classroom, or community, e.g., a daughter, a son, a student, an altar boy, etc.
      • Things about a student’s background, e.g., Buddhist, Muslim, female, place of birth, ethnicity, nationality, etc. 
      • Physical characteristics
    • Explain how an Identity Chart works (see example below).

Sample Identity Chart

  • Assign or take volunteers for each of the characters who have appeared in the novel. (This will vary depending on how far into the novel this activity is first begun.)
    • This can be done as a large group or in small groups.
    • Have student(s) complete the chart as thoroughly as they can.
  • Allow time during the period to discuss how the characteristics and facts listed on the chart may be important.
    • How have some of the characteristics shaped a character’s actions, relationships, fears, etc.?
  • Allow students to add to the chart on a daily basis.

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up 

  • Post Activity
    • Have students complete an identity chart on themselves.
    • Have students complete an identity chart on someone in the family.
    • Have students make predictions about what characters will do based on what they have listed thus far in the Identity Chart.
  • Takeaways
    • Students should begin to see what shapes the actions, emotions, beliefs, and so on, of characters in the novel.
    • Students should be more familiar with the characters in the novel.
  • Follow-up
    • Use the chart as a discussion starter, or have students add things to a character’s chart after other activities, discussions, etc. 


  • Quiz on the characters (based on the student findings in the Identity Charts).
    • The quiz could be to create an identity chart for a character or characters.
    • The quiz could be strictly factual (e.g., “Who is Billy Buck?” and so on.)
  • When a new character appears in the novel, have students individually create an Identity Chart for that character.
    • Assess how well individual students are understanding the process and the novel. 

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
    • Key Ideas and Details: 1
    • Craft and Structure: 6
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
    • Comprehension and Collaboration: 1
    • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: 4
  • Language Standards 6-12
    • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: 5
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
    • Craft and Structure: 6
    • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 8