August 24, 2012

All About Character Traits

Our reading Common Core standard the last two weeks was all about character traits. The thing is... it's not just what a character looks like or their feelings. It's more about how characters change and react to things that happen around them. We've had a lot of fun examining and talking about characters so I wanted to share some of what we did.
First of all, we had to go back and talk about character traits as a review from first and second grade. We've been reading Ramona in the afternoons while they pack up so that was a good character for us to list character traits. We made sure to talk about the difference between inside traits and outside traits.
Excuse the fact that Ramona looks like a man...
Next, I had the kids list character traits about themselves. They made those face-picture frames that are all over Pinterest. You know what I'm talking about...
The next day, we started talking about how we have to provide textual evidence of the character traits. So, we read A Bad Case of Stripes and made a chart together to describe Camilla Cream.
We kind of sequed from this chart to the one below. My friend Kate made this and it was such a great tool to help the kids explain how the character's traits change throughout the story. We did a lot of "I do, We do, You do" with this. We made a chart together, then I gave the kids the traits for Strega Nona and they had to prove it to me, then I gave the kids their own books and had them find the traits and provide the evidence. (Oh, and my whole team did all this! It's not like I just thought it all up by myself. I have a great team!)
This week, we focused more on how the characters change and drive the story. We used another graphic organizer that Kate thought up and I made to do this. It worked soooo well!
We read The Great Fuzz Frenzy and filled in the chart to show how the dogs changed in the story.  The kids kind of loved that book! It was actually a great book to show change in characters.
One day, we talked a lot about the characters different perspectives. We read Strega Nona Meets Her Match and filled in a graphic organizer.
We also read A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee which could very well be one of my top 5 favorite children's books. I just love all the rhyming and the pictures and the kiddos loved the story.
We made a chart to go with it to talk about how the characters drive the story. The kids came up with all the things by themselves - I just "prettied up" the wording a little. We used the chart to talk about the characters in all the books we read. It was a great checklist to guide our discussion! The kids got good at telling how different characters did each of those things.
When I read the book outloud, I had the kids turn their graphic organizer over on the back and write down character traits as they noticed them. They worked with a partner to then tellhow the character traits changed.
I didn't get a picture... but the chart was just like the one above.
To wrap up the standard, I had the kids make a paper bag character report. I basically teamed the kids up and gave them a book that we had read in class. Except the really high kids... they got a new book :)
They read the book and then filled in a graphic organizer with six shapes on it. Each shape had a question on it: What are the character's likes and dislikes? How did the character change? How did other characters react to them? What event did they cause to happen? What does the character think about? What does the character say?
I had them draw the character and glue them to the bag. Then, they cut out the shapes and glued them to the bag. They also had to draw three objects that are important to the character or represent the character.
It took them a looong time, but they worked so hard! I think they turned out a ton better than I was imagining. I'm glad they got into it and I could tell from their answers that they were thinking and having good discussions about the characters.
We won't have time to do these all the time... but, I will for SURE be doing them again.
I'd say that...


tcbooth said...

The bags are such a cute idea. I like your chart titled characters drive the story. :)

Amber @ Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher said...

Thanks for linking up! I am doing a whole unit on character this month! :)
Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

Laura the Librarian said...

What a great lesson! I love this! Just trying to wrap up character traits lesson & trying to figure out how to wrap it up! Thanks for the ides!

Anonymous said...

Super duper, this is my second year teaching and I love to see how creative I could be!! Thank you so much for sharing!

Michaeline Duskova said...

I'm a writer, and I just love this post -- especially the "Characters Drive the Story" chart. I'd like to use the picture in a blogpost about writing refreshers -- and of course, link back to this blogpost. May I?

Lindsay said...

Of course! Thanks for asking :)

Carol said...

Do you have the blackline for the six shapes you had the students fill in for each character? Thanks!


Jloupass said...

Hi there! Could I get a copy of the shapes that the students fill in for the character bag?

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Could you email me a copy of the shapes that the students fill in for the character bag? I am thinking that I could extend some of my guided reading groups with this assignment! Love the bags...great idea!!
Thank You!
Lei Ann

Anonymous said...

Where can I get your documents you used with Mr. McGee?

Schroeder Family said...

Can you please send a the blacklines for the character trait bags? Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! I am starting character traits and inferring this next unit and, you have given me great ideas on how to teach this skill. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

We have been teaching this standard so long that I've wanted to scream. Thank you for some fresh ideas.

MPP said...

Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. Could you send me the copy of the shapes for the character book report.
Thank you,

Sharon said...

I'd like to have a copy of the shapes, too. This is such a great idea! And I'm definitely using your Character Development anchor chart. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am wrapping my character traits unit up. I wanted to do something like this in my class. Can you please email me the template for the shapes?