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Lesson: Understanding Characters & Character Traits
Level: IntermediateObjectives/CCSS Alignment:
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
*Note: This lesson addresses the part of the standards highlighted in teal only. Teachers will need to address other parts of the standards in future mini-lessons.
Visuals & Materials:
Anchor Chart – Story Characters: Inside and Out
Graphic Organizer - All About the Character
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Choose a book that has fairly distinctive characters, perhaps one that has some very different types of characters. In intermediate classrooms some good choices might be books by Patricia Polacco or Jacqueline Woodson.
Prepare “Story Characters: Inside and Out” anchor chart for mini-lesson.
Copy the graphic organizer “All About the Character” for each child in the classroom.
Set the purpose for the read aloud by introducing students to the anchor chart “Story Characters: Inside and Out”. Discuss the difference between physical traits (what the character actually looks like) and character traits (what the character’s personality portrays). Show and discuss the traits shown on the anchor chart, and then have students share more. Add the students’ responses to the anchor chart if desired.
Read aloud the story you chose for today’s lesson. At the end have students brainstorm both physical traits and character traits for a character in the story. *The teacher may choose to create a character map with the character’s name in the middle, and then use two different colors of markers to distinguish between physical traits and character traits.
Explain directions for today’s independent reading task – All About the Character Graphic Organizer.
Have students find spots to begin their independent reading time and complete the independent task.
Lesson Extension for 5th Grade
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
To extend this lesson to fit the fifth grade standard it is suggested that the teacher follow the above plans for a Day 1 mini-lesson to motivate students to think more deeply about the characters in a story. A Day 2 mini-lesson would involve a class discussion (based on the previous days’ organizers) using the Comparing Story Characters Venn Diagram provided.