Whenever possible, I begin my lessons with silent, independent reading. During this time, I actively monitor their reading progress by checking their out-of-class reading logs and engaging in reading conferences that cover a variety of topics.
To find ways to enact this section, please see my strategy folder.
Students take notes on a couple of key ideas. Before I present the notes, I tell students that there are a couple of overarching prototypes of characters. We can usually fit characters into at least one, sometimes more of these categories.
Here are the Character Notes.
I always urge kids to use notes as a guide. Try to remember the notes we've taken and use them as a model as we read. Who are the classic protagonist and antagonists you've read about in the past? Are there movies that feature these types of characters? TV shows?
I read aloud to the kids a short story from Knucklehead by Jon Sczieska. I love using the story Knucklehead for a few reasons. One, it is divided into tiny chapters with lots of visuals, so it is sure to pull in reluctant readers. Second, it is technically a memoir, but Sczieska's story is told with a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole. It reminds me so much of the way a sixth grader would tell their own story.
Kids listen to me read aloud, and as they listen, they're using the Character Description & Prediction Sheet, and watching me track traits for the characters, Jim & Jon.
I model a few traits for the kids and fill in the sheet with my own work. Kids listen and copy the model to use later while working with a partner.
When I complete my read aloud, I put students into random pairs so they can complete their own Character Description & Prediction Sheet.
I photocopy the next chapter from Knucklehead, so kids continue to grow familiar with our two protagonists, Jim & Jon. Often kids will ask if one of these brother's is the antagonist, because they often fight and trick one another, in a prankster manner. However, we ultimately decide that both boys are protagonists and round.