I begin the lesson by explaining to my students that a character is a person or animal in a story. Character traits are words used to describe a character, usually in the form of adjectives. Adjectives are words that describe a noun. When you use character traits to describe a character, you consider the character's words, thoughts, or actions. You also use evidence from the story to back up your description of the character. For instance, if I say the grandfather in "Grandfather's Journey" is adventurous, my evidence of that is the fact that he eagerly traveled to new places.
Next, as a motivational strategy, I have students complete a quick write by telling if they were a character in a story, how would they describe themselves and why?
Now, we take time to complete a Character Analysis graphic organizer about the grandfather in "Grandfather's Journey." First we brainstorm a list of character traits of the grandfather. Now, students select 3 of those adjectives and complete the rest of the Character Analysis graphic organizer.
Now, I have students to independently use the information they noted on the Character Analysis graphic organizer to create a 1 paragraph character sketch of the grandfather in "Grandfather's Journey." I remind them to be sure to discuss the grandfather's motivations, feelings, thoughts, words, and actions.
To close the lesson, I have students to share our character sketches by reading them aloud. This helps them practice their speaking and listening skills after they have practiced their reading and writing skills. This lesson correlates well with CCSS ELA shift 2 - reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational. I also allowed students to ask each other questions about the character sketches they shared.