What's Your Motive? - The Three Little Pigs

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SWBAT analyze a character’s actions in order to determine the character’s motivations.

Big Idea

Students will analyze a character's behavior in order to determine WHY they do what they do.

Do Now

20 minutes

To begin the lesson, I asked students if they knew what motivation meant. No one knew, so I told them motivation is the reason(s) why someone does something. I then gave the following real-life examples:  I set my alarm clock so that I can wake up on time. My motivation is I don’t want to be late for school. Your parents go to work. Their motivation is so they can pay the bills and buy clothes and food to take care of you. To connect it to their life, I asked: What is your motivation for coming to school? What might be your motivation for eating fruits and vegetables? To connect it to text we have read, I asked: What was Mulan’s motivation for going to war? What was Lilly’s motivation for yelling loudly? I noted that some motivations are good; some not so good.

After we discussed several examples of character motivations in stories we have read, I modeled how to identify character motivations in the story, The Three Little Pigs. I had written the steps on how to identify a character’s motivations on chart paper.  This would serve as a visual resource for students as they worked. I read the steps aloud.

The important action I used as an example was the sow sent her little pigs away. I asked aloud, “Why did the mother pig do that?” I placed the story on the document camera and used a highlighter to highlight text evidence that explained her actions. Next, I wrote the evidence on a graphic organizer. I did this with two other examples from the story.

Students were given a student sheet with various character actions listed. It contained a graphic organizer to help them see the connections between the character’s actions and text evidence to identify motivation. One important action in the story was the wolf invited the third pig to pick turnips. I told student stating the action in my own words was step one. I asked student to read step two aloud. I did this to help them keep the steps in mind as they worked. I asked them what came next. They said they needed to find evidence in the text to explain why the character did that. I asked them what that is called because I wanted them to use the academic language. They were able to tell me that it is called motivation

Independent Practice

20 minutes

After modeling for students and walking them through several examples with guided practice, I told them it was their turn to analyze a character’s actions in the story in order to determine their motivation. The student sheet contained additional actions from the story. Students were instructed to analyze the character's actions, identify their motivations, and provide text evidence to support their answers.

They worked with a partner to complete the remainder of the sheet. I wanted them to verbalize their thinking by explaining the reasons for their answers. That meant citing evidence from the text. This also allowed for partners to agree or disagree with what they heard and provide an alternative answer, if necessary.



20 minutes

I walked around and monitored student responses as they worked. I checked student sheets for correct answers. They were graded on a scale of 100%. A score of 80% or above was considered mastery.


10 minutes

12 Word Summary – Summarizing today’s lesson helps students solidify their learning by putting the concepts into their own words. Each student was given an index card and given the following direction: In 12 words or less, summarize what you learned in today's lesson. They were required to use the words character, motivation, and actions to ensure they used academic language.