Common Core Connection
RL.1.3 states that the students should describe the characters, setting and major events in a story, using key details. This standard lays the foundation for the corresponding College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard, which states that the learner will analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of the text. Students need to read a wide variety of high quality text in order to develop a knowledge of a broad range of subjects and literature.
This lesson allows the students to analyze and describe the character of their choice using a graphic organizer. Analyzing is a higher order thinking activity that will help students get a foundation for the College and Career Readiness standard, and labeling the graphic organizer allows them to organize their thoughts. Learners work in collaborative heterogeneous groups to support each other in learning. Common Core promotes students learning from each other and learn from each other. This creates a positive classroom community where students help each other.
I place the spider web on the Promethean board. I ask the students to discuss how a character web might be like a spider web. This really activates their thinking and makes them curious. I allow one volunteer to share. I tell the class that a character web has many parts and each part is different just like each part of a spider web.
I explain that we are going to make a character web today together and then they will work in small groups to make their own. I used a text from a leveled reader in the Read Well Curriculum because I could match it easily to my students' lexile. I used the lowest lexile because I wanted each child to be able to read the text. The text they select will be on their individual lexile level.
I say I can describe a character. They say it, tell a friend, and repeat it with me. Repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes the lesson goal personal.
I had six books, allowing each group have a book. It is very important that each group have a book so they can all contribute. I ask the groups to select one person to read and the group members listen. I call on one person to select a character to analyze. I write the character's name on my graphic organizer on the board. Then they add this to their graphic organizer, which came from Florida Center for Reading Research.
I show them an example of one thing we can add to the graphic organizer. Then I allow volunteers to share different things to add. I do make each volunteer tell us where they found their information and everyone has to find it. Evidencing the text allows everyone to learn how to find the answers in the text.
The students are grouped in heterogeneous groups of two or three. More than three creates confusion, and they can't seem to get their work done. Students go to the center table to allow more space to work and I have their materials available. I also like to move them because first graders need a transition after about twenty minutes.
They are given a choice of books which I elaborate on in the reflection. The students select their favorite character and create a character web. I did not put a specific amount of responses I wanted because everyone is so different. I did not want to limit some or make others feel like they did not meet the goal. I selected books that I knew they would be interested in and were on their lexile level. Selecting books of their interest is huge in motivating the students to complete the task. The video (Character Web) in the resources shows an example of their work.
I knew this would be one activity everyone would want to share. To save time and engage all students in practicing their speaking and listening skills, I had them all share at the same time. We make two lines. Line one read to line two. Then they reverse and line to read to line one. There is a red line on our floor and we stand on it. The other group stands shoulder to shoulder in my line. They line up perfectly with these instructions.
I ask each student to tell their partner one thing they learned today. I call on two students to share. Common Core encourages discourse among students. I try to make this like a conversation. My goal is for them to be able to have higher order discussions independently. I ask if anyone can add to or expand on what _____ said.
I restate the lesson goal. I can describe characters. Students echo, tell a friend, and repeat it with me.