Lesson: Doña Flor - Pat Mora: Characterization

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to identify the protagonist or main character and analyze their traits with the use of a character map. Students will be able to identify the three elements of characterization as 1) Physical appearance, 2) Actions, speech, and behavior, and 3) Interactions and use these to help them understand the character better.

Lesson Plan

Objective: 

Students will be able to identify the protagonist or main character and analyze their traits with the use of a character map.

 

Students will be able to identify the three elements of characterization as 1) Physical appearance, 2)  Actions, speech, and behavior, and 3)  Interactions and use these to help them understand the character better.

 

 

Lesson Plan

 

DO NOW (10 minutes): Tell me about your favorite character in the reading you have done to the present.  Write 3-5 sentences.  

 

Opening:   

 If I asked you WHO the characters in book were, you'd probably be able to name them. For instance, you might know that Charlotte is the main character in Charlotte's Web.

You probably also know WHO the characters are in television shows or movies that you've seen.  

Stories need a plot (the series of events that happen), setting (the places where they occur), and characters (the people or animals who are affected by the plot and setting). But that's still WHO the characters are. We're talking about WHAT character is, not who some characters are.

 

Direct Instruction (I DO)/Guided Practice (WE DO):

When we are talking about character development, we are looking at the collection of features that bring the people (or animals) to life. It's not just their physical features, but their mental features, their personalities, their appearance, and so on. Character is something you can figure out by paying attention to what they do, what they say, what they think and feel, and what others say about them.

Explain that sometimes characters are very predictable.

 

Think about the following kinds of characters: (identify some characters within popular stories/media:

The Hero/Heroine

Class Clown

Bully

Brain

Athlete

 

For most of them, you can think of specific features that they're likely to have. In a good piece of writing, the characters go beyond the obvious features.

·         They might have an unusual or surprising feature. Look at not just the person's outer qualities, at what the character looks like, but also at the inner qualities.

How often have you seen a movie after reading the book it was based on and said, "That's not how I pictured ______, she should be [taller, meaner, funnier]"?

 

Readers often see themselves or others they know in the fictional characters (human or animal) they read about in books.

 

When we think about all the features that make up character, what the readers bring to the story is just as important as what the author wrote.

 

Read Doña Flor by Pat Mora and ask students to identify examples in the picture book that illustrate the development of main character, or protagonist, in the story.

Draw a three-column chart on the board, and label each column with one of the elements on the Three Elements of Characterization handout (see attached file).

 

Model describing what the character looks like.  How do you know this?  In the case of Doña Flor, the character is a giant woman.

Allow students to provide their input after modeling:

  • How can you tell Doña Flor is a giant?

  • What other ways can you describe her appearance?

  • What can you tell about her appearance from the book's illustrations?

As students provide examples, refer to the words in the book, and reread the word or phrases so that they see and hear them within the context of the story. For instance, readers can tell Doña Flor is tall because she can reach down to the mountain tops, gives children rides to school when they are late, and makes huge tortillas.

Model how to find how the character acts within the text. For Doña Flor, point to the subtitle of the book, A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart.

Ask students what the author means by the last part of the subtitle, that she has a "Great Big Heart."

Have students identify specific details from the text that support their observations, and record their responses on the chart.

·         Doña Flor helps the children who are late for school, she is concerned about the puma that is scaring her neighbors and friends, and creates a riverbed to distract her friends from their worries.

Go to the third column and model how to figure out how to describe how the other characters in the book relate to the main character. For the book Doña Flor, ask students how the friends and neighbors in the pueblo, the children, various animals mentioned, and the wind react to Doña Flor.

·         Have student give their own input on the story.

·         Record this on the chart.

Facilitate a discussion about how the author wrote the character and how you knew the answers to the questions in the chart:

·         What words and phrases does the author use to help you learn about the main character?

  • What plot events in the picture book help you learn about the main character?

  • How do the illustrations help you learn about the main character?

Invite students to make observations and draw conclusions about how authors make the characters they write about vivid and believable.

As a class, write a paragraph about the character that was being analyzed in the book.

Model using the character traits list (see attached file) to assign and character trait to the protagonist.

Independent Practice (YOU DO):

Allow students to read their own independent reading book and use the process modeled and practiced above to help them analyze the main character in their story.  

 

Students will complete a character map and write a paragraph summary of their character and assign as character trait.

Lesson Resources

Lesson 90 Characterization   Activity
14
Lesson 90   Lesson Plan
16
Lesson 90 Sample Character Traits   Notes
10
Dona Flor
89

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