Characters: The Struggle Within

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SWAT analyze a complex text for conflict and see connections to the character traits.

Big Idea

How can a character trait cause conflict? Students work with a text to see how one girl's boldness changes the customs of a hundred year tradition!

Advanced Organzer

7 minutes

Today's lesson involves analyzing text for conflict and relating it to the character trait.  To prepare the students for the instruction today, I will inform the students that we are going to be watching a scene from the Hunger Games. The scene I have chosen to use is the scene where Katniss has to demonstrate her skills to the panel of sponsors.  Within this scene, you see a variety of character traits.  It gives the students some very obvious character traits, but also some that they infer based on her actions.  While they are watching the scene, they are to chose one thing that happens that they could use to prove a character trait in a character.  They can pick an action they character does, words the character says, thoughts (inferred), feelings (inferred), and describe it on one column of their spiral.  On the other column, they are to explain a character trait they inferred from that action, word, thought, or feeling. 

Once they have had a chance to record their thoughts, I will have the students complete a Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up to discuss their responses. This will get them up, moving, and hearing the ideas of other students as well as set them up using the same skill for the story Ta-Na-E-Ka. 

Once they have done a Stand Up, Hands-Up, Pair-Up, I will ask students to share with the whole class.  We will discuss their responses.  I will ask students to cite from the scene, why they chose that character trait. 

One modification I will provide is to pass out the Character Traits handout and have the students tape it into their spirals.  This will be a word bank of traits for the students to use.  I have discovered that most students can provide evidence of character traits, but will often struggle coming up with the right word.  This handout allows them to focus on the skill. 


15 minutes

To bridge the concepts of conflicts with characterization, I am going to have the students create a Characterization Notes Foldable found in the "Reading Literature Interactive Notebook".  It is lesson 7. I review this to first review and understand how author's develop indirect characterization.  I want the students to understand that most writers will indirectly give character traits through the character's actions, thoughts, words, feelings, and choices.  This will help the student to understand how to analyze the text for characterization. 

I will pass out the foldable and have the students cut, color and glue.  To keep this a manageable task and to not take too much time away from the concept, I set a timer.  I give the students 6 minutes to cut, glue and use the remaining time to color.  They can color the remainder of the foldable in any down time. 

The foldables are very useful as study tools.  They are engaging and help the students learn how to interact with their notes, which will help the students realize the importance of studying. 

I will have the students label each piece of the foldable.  See Student Work Sample.  I like the students to be as involved in the creation process as much as possible because then it creates a sense of ownership for them and their learning.  They are more engaged if they are involved. 

Guided Practice

20 minutes

After practicing with the movie clip, I am going to have the students practice with the story Ta-Na-E-Ka.  We have read the story and have demonstrated comprehension.  This is important and allows the students to focus on the skill of characterization today. 

I will pass out the characterization handout and use the Ta-Na-E-Ka Characterization chart. power point to go through each way an author can demonstrate characterization.  Both of these resources can be purchased through the link.  They are located in the Reading Literature Interactive Notebook. I will display the text example only, model how I think about the text, and prompt the students to assist me in finding the character trait I can infer from the text. 

Since this is guided practice, I will provide the students with the text.  However, I will also ask the students to think about other character traits they could use to describe the main character.  Then, working backwards, ask them to defend their answers using the text.  Citing text is an important skill for students to learn and practice.


Independent Practice

15 minutes

Now, I will pass out another blank Characterization handout found in the Reading Literature Interactive Notebook.  I will have the students attempt to complete it, identifying the actions, words, choices, thoughts, or feelings that helped them infer the character trait.  I will allow the students to complete the chart on any character we have encountered in our reading within the classroom.  I am doing this to allow the student's more choice and motivation.  They will be able to pick their favorite character and work with that character.  It allows them to take ownership in the activity and hopefully they chose a character they have more of a connection towards, allowing them to have success with the activity. 

I will allow about 20-25 minutes for the students to work.  They will need to go back into the text to look for support.  I will have all copies of the stories available.  I will also encourage the students to use the traits handout that we have taped into our spiral.  This handout will provide them with a word bank of character traits.  This will again allow them to focus on the skill of supporting their trait by analyzing the text, which is the skill we want to get them to move towards mastering. 

If the students do not finish, I will assign the rest for homework.  If they do finish, I will collect for a grade. 



7 minutes

To help the students understand the development of character traits and how it affects the plot, I will bring the two concepts together with the closure.  We have been working with both of these concepts and I want to see if the students can explain the connection between characterization and conflict/plot. 

I will have the students respond to the following questions in their journal.  "How does Mary's character traits change the customs of her families tradition?  How would the story had been different if Mary was not as bold?"  

I would allow the students a chance to respond.  I would collect today's journal to check for understanding.