Character Quotes

There is nothing more powerful in Social Studies than using primary sources to teach your children about history – but sometimes primary sources can be hard for students to access. How do you introduce primary sources in a way that doesn’t intimidate your students? Try using Character Quotes.

Character Quotes can be used to both introduce primary source quotations and key individuals in history. What better way to learn about someone than analyzing their words? Take a look at this quote – what personal characteristics does this person have?

“…I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch… If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country VICTORY OR DEATH.”

Some of those character traits might include: 

  • Patriot
  • Brave
  • Honorable
  • Courageous 
  • Selfless 

This quote can start tell you about the man behind it – William B. Travis, and the situation he was in – trying to defend the Alamo.

But how do you use Character Quotes in a lesson? My favorite place is always the preview.  Start off your lesson with two or more quotes from the same individual or quotes describing the same event from two or more individuals.  Place your students with a partner or in a small group and assign each group a quote – you can have more groups than partners.  Challenge your students to create a list of as many traits you think that individual has based on their quote.  That will lead to a great class discussion and into your lesson 🙂

Here are a few Character Quotes embedded into a lesson. 




These quotes start to give your students the different ways Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar approached their presidencies. 

Have fun! I hope you enjoy using this strategy in one of your Social Studies lessons. 

This strategy – along with many others – can be found in my Biography Book.  



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