Underlined words are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
Bring students to a common starting point
My perspective is that it’s engaging to introduce this idea using familiar movie/cartoon characters because the kids should start from the known and bridge to the unknown. I chose characters from these movies/books because they really change over the course of a story, in feelings, appearance, and other ways. I want to teach this first lesson with pictures only and get the kids used to thinking about character traits and how they are evidence in the illustration. In the next lesson, Characters Change - Read to Find Out How, I'll use the same activity but we'll look at short stories, instead of just pictures.
Explain the lesson ideas
I introduced these literature elements in several previous lessons. If your students need more opportunity to practice identify story elements, here links to those early 'literature text features' lessons: Who's In the Book and What Are They Doing?, When, Where, and What's the Problem, and Who Done it - Let's Play Clue and Ask Questions?
Model the skill
Explain the craft
Explain the task
As students examine the changes in the character over the course of the text (RL.2.3) and how the story structure affects these changes (RL.2.5), they are learning how to interact with text, a new focus with the Common Core Standards. 'Close readers' are those that examine character traits and changes as they read. This is not an innate skill - we need to model and give students practice with this character analysis. When students are able to use this analysis independently, they are deepening their comprehension, understanding how the author sets up the story and looking at character changes to better see how the story elements interact.
Monitor students' work
Explain the activity
Discuss the ideas
Ideas for Scaffolding and Special Education - This lesson can be scaffolded up and down, depending on the level of your students.
With one of my special education students, we had to take time to review the story that he chose, because he was not able to clearly verbalize all of the events. Once we talked about what happened in the story, he did well with ideas. Several students needed some prompting with ideas, which could be addressed by writing clues on their slates on the desks.
For students with stronger academic skills, they could really be challenged with this lesson! There is opportunity for higher level vocabulary (excited vs happy, crabby vs mad), more inferences that really explain their ideas (not just 'she wanted to dance' but 'she wished she could have more treasure). By challenging these students to go deeper and make more inferences with higher level vocabulary, you are truly individualizing.