Lesson: Character Traits

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Lesson Objective

Students will determine character traits (physical and emotional)

Lesson Plan

Warm Up (3-5 mins) Students are seated on the carpet with a partner.  Students will be expected to turn and talk with this partner during guided practice. Students read the objective.  We have been talking about characters over the past few days.  Today we will begin to describe characters physically and emotionally. 

Instruction (3-5 mins) Today we will learn about character traits. Character traits tell or show you how the characters in a story look, feel, and act.  When we talk about character traits you can think about how the character looks, what the character says or thinks, what the character does or how the character feels.  There are two types of traits we will talk about today, physical and emotional.  Physical traits describe how a characters looks while emotional traits describe what a character is thinking or feeling.

Modeling/Guided Practice (10-15 mins) By this point in the unit we will have read The Name Jar repeatedly in class.  Any picture book or book that students are familiar with would work for this lesson.  Teacher reads aloud entire book as a refresher for students.  Teacher stops on a page that has an image of the main character Unhei.  Teacher write in character trait chart under physical descriptions a description of the main character modeling thinking.  I noticed that Unhei is a Korean young girl with black short hair.  Turn and talk to your partner about another physical trait you notice about Unhei.  Students share out responses and teacher adds to class chart.

Now we will try to notice Unhei’s emotional traits.  Teacher rereads the paragraph below. 
On the bus home, nobody teased her, but Unhei kept thinking about her name.  “How was school, Unhei?”  her mother asked when she walked in.  “Did you understand the teacher?”  Unhei simply nodded.  She unpacked her school bag and set the red pouch by a photograph of her grandma.  “I’m glad you are learning English well,” her mother said.  “You must study hard, behave nicely, and get good grades to show that you’re a good Korean.”  “I will,” replied Unhei.  “But…but I think I would like my own American name, “ she said quickly.  Her mother looked at her with surprise.  “Why? Unhei is a beautiful name.  Your grandma and I went to a name master for it.”  “But it’s so hard to pronounce,” Unhei complained.  “I don’t want to be different from all the American kids.”  “You are different, Unhei,” her mother said.  “That’s a good thing!”  Unhei just wrinkled her nose.

Readers, I learned so much about Unhei in this paragraph.  I noticed that Unhei says she would like to have an American name.  This makes me think about some character traits that could describe Unhei emotionally.  I think she might be self-conscious about being different and wants to fit in and sees having an American name as a way to fit in.  I am going to add self-conscious to our character trait chart.  Now you try!  Turn and tell a partner another emotional character trait that could describe Unhei in this paragraph.  Students share out responses and teacher adds to class chart.

Independent Practice (15-20 mins) Students return to their seats and complete their own character trait chart.  Students should read independently in their "just right" books and fill out the chart using details from their own book.  Students work independently for approximately 15 minutes.  Students who struggle with determining their own character traits may use the list of character traits attached to this lesson. 


Exit Slip (3-5 mins) Students complete the character chart as an exit slip to ensure all students mastered the objective for the lesson.  Students may use their own independent reading book to complete the chart if the class has multiple levels or teacher can post and read aloud a grade level appropriate text for all students to use.


Reflection: I have found that students easily master physical descriptions but struggle with personality traits.  I found it useful to give students a list of character traits and define some of the terms for them throughout the lesson.  They kept this list of character traits in their readers' notebooks to reference for the rest of the unit.   

Lesson Resources

character traits graphic organizer   Activity
Character Traits List   Activity


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