The students read a story by Gary Soto titled "The Born Worker" last night for part of their homework. To bridge the story to today's objective and to set the students up for today's lesson-I will have the students complete a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the two main characters. This will force the students to think of the characters in regards to their traits-which sets us up for today's lesson.
This Venn Diagram could be used as an assessment piece for the homework from the previous night. It will let you know who read the story, but also of those students who did read it, it will let you see which students were able to analyze the text for character traits. The students need to have a good understanding for character traits in order to be able to find success reading more complex texts. Character traits allow us to understand the character and make predictions or other important inferences.
Once the kids have filled out their Venn Diagrams, I will have them share their work with their Shoulder Partners. This will allow them a chance to share their thoughts, but also hear the thoughts of their peers. The students can add any missed comparisons onto their own Venn Diagram. Using our peers to validate our work is important because not only is a social skill practice, but it also opens their eyes to how others think.
Finally, discuss the Venn Diagram as a class. This will reinforce and validate the students work, as well as clear up any misconceptions.
Now that the students have had the opportunity to go through the text and identify the traits of the characters, I want the students to get more practice and experience with analyzing the text for indirect characterization.
I will use the Characterization Powerpoint to refresh the students as to why character traits are important and how they motivate the characters actions and drive the plot. I do not have students take notes from this power point because we already have notes from a previous lesson. I go through the power point and have the students try the sample questions.
One activity I like to use is white boards. I pass out a mini white board, marker, and eraser to every pair of students. I do this because we are building the skill and the students still need some support. By working with their peers they can use each other to think through the problem.
As I go through the power point, I will display a slide that will have the text sample on it. The text sample will provide different practices for the students to complete to practice analyzing text for character traits. For example, one slide states that Dr. Owens is the best dentist in town. All of his patients feel very comfortable with him. He is gentle and caring. The author directly states the character traits of the dr.
They will take turns writing the answer on the board. I have one student record the answer, while the other student coaches and then have them switch roles. I do this to hold every student accountable and keep them both engaged.
Once the students have their responses done, I have them hold the boards up high in the air. This allows me to do a quick assessment. It also gives the students a chance to check their work against their peers. If the students are correct, I have them record a mark in the upper corner of their white board. Creating a little competition increase the level of anxiety just enough to motivate them to think.
I will go through as many slides as is necessary before moving on. If I notice the students need more practice there is enough material on the power point to provide additional practice.
Again, I always try to think about my struggling students. By having them work with a partner, they are already paired with someone stronger. I encourage every pair to discuss their answers before they write them down. I emphasis, model, and have them practice how the discussion should go. Most students think discuss means to say the one word answer and that is considered "discussion". I coach them on what a discussion looks like. We practice "discussing" some of favorite topics, just to get them into the habit of discussing. I use a lot of "discussion" and peer checks and need to know I have trained them on what that should look like.
Now that we have we developed and sharpened our skills on analyzing text for character traits, and inferring character traits through indirect characterization, I am going to have the students put those skills to work.
I will pass out the Independent Practice handout and have the students complete using the characters from the story we have read throughout the past two weeks. This will allow them to take a closer look at the story, analyzing it for characterization. Using stories we are familiar with will allow them to focus on applying the skill. They will have reread, but can use any markings we have made to find text examples we have already underlined.
The students will work to identify direct and indirect character traits on characters from the stories Tuesday of the Other June, The Snake Chief, and The Born Worker. I am using stories we have already read to give my students the opportunity to practice that skill with me present. If I send a new story home for homework or even have the students spend the remaining class time reading a new story-this will not allow me to reteach on the spot, work with the students who struggle or even correct immediately.
I will use this to demonstrate how the character traits are what drives the plot, creates conflict, and in the end creates a resolution.
To asses the students' understanding and to help the students process their own learning, I will ask them to complete a Closure Slip.