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The Color of Character

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School Foundational, Art, Citizen Honors

Two (or more) Class Sessions

Students will:

  • identify the character traits within Recipients, themselves, and local heroes
  • discuss symbolism and identify what colors they connect with each character trait

Medal of Honor Focus: Any Medal of Honor Recipient of Citizen Honors awardee

Introductory Activity:
Have students do a quick write about their personal hero and what character values they see in that person. Then have students write the values they see within themselves. Have students share with a partner or small group; then ask for volunteers to share with the class.

Whole Group Activity:
Discuss the symbolism of different colors, and have students decide as a class what colors will represent each character trait. Ex: Red- Courage, Orange- Commitment, Yellow- Citizenship, Green- Integrity, Blue- Patriotism, Purple- Sacrifice

Watch a Living History video (Citizen Honors or Medal of Honor Recipient). While students watch, have them take notes on the character traits they see in the Recipient.

After watching, discuss as a group where students saw the different character traits revealed.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Have students create a portrait of the Recipient using the colors which the class selected to represent each trait. Their portraits should reflect the story they heard in the video. For instance, if the person showed more courage, the portrait may be more red, and if the person showed more commitment, the portraits would be primarily orange. After students complete their portraits, have them share how they made their decisions about the colors.

Concluding Activity:
Have students do a self-portrait that portrays what character traits they see in themselves or want to see in themselves. Then have students write out what traits they see in themselves or want to see in themselves and how their picture portrays those traits.

Self-portrait, write-up, and presentation

Recipient or Citizen Honors Living History video, art supplies

Extended Activity:
Have students do the same activity, substituting a local hero for the Medal of Honor Recipient or Citizen Honors awardee.

Potential Adaptations:
For Fine Arts teachers, adapt based upon what art form you are currently teaching (i.e. Realism, Expressionism, etc.)