What Does the Evidence Say About Our Characters?

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SWBAT analyze a character from a literary text and draw a conclusion about them.

Big Idea

Is Prince Charming really charming? Is the Giant really a bad guy? And, Goldilocks, where are your manners?


5 minutes

Summary and Context:

My students need practice with understanding the value of evidence. The Common Core State Standards asks students to supply text-based reasons for their opinions. In order for students to be able to do this, they need practice. My students, who are mostly ELLs, benefit from much practice and scaffolding. Because many fairy tales are familiar across different cultures, using these texts to teach finding evidence in a text is a natural scaffold. In this lesson, I am asking my students to read another fairytale, choose a character from the fairytale, and write down evidence about what the characters say and does. Once they are done writing down the evidence, they will draw a conclusion about their character, given the particular evidence.

I want my students to gain independence in the skills I teach, so, in order for students to comprehend text independently, I give them opportunities to practice the skill and read independently. This also helps engage them in the standard RL.2.10 ("read and comprehend literature in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently...").

After they finish their writing, I will give them an opportunity to share with each other. Also, I will debrief what they are learning about evidence and how that helps us to know about the characters we are reading about.

Lesson Opening:

To help them analyze their character, I model the process using the Wolf from the fairytale, Red Riding Hood. The reason I use the wolf is because his traits are very well known, and I tell my students that, in order to look for particular evidence, we need to have in mind what we are looking for. In this case, we know the Wolf is a villain, a bad guy. To get them started, I ask them to think about their character in terms of bad and good, and, as they find and record evidence, other and more specific traits will be revealed, just as I show them in my modeling.

Furthermore, I review the elements of a fairytale and add to our chart.

Reading the Fairytale

20 minutes

My students spend time reading their chosen fairytales. They read purposefully. As they read they will choose one of their characters to analyze. In reading, I help my students build their stamina which is critical for students to have success with the demands of reading. This helps to build their confidence too.

As they read, I walk around and make sure they are on task. I give support as needed.

Brain Break

2 minutes

After reading for a while, I get my students to move. They will be transitioning into finding evidence about their character, and I want them to go into reenergized.

I have my students take deep breaths and we move arms and legs. Two minutes is enough time to wake up our brains.

Independent Writing Time

20 minutes

My students now work independently to anaylze their chosen character. They will write down evidence about what the character says and does. After this, they will draw a conclusion about the character given the evidence they collected. I am looking for them to be on task. I am looking for them to refer back to their books for the evidence. They are recording their information on a template I draw on the white board for them to draw in their response journals.

Here are examples of their journal responses:

After my students are done, I ask them to share with me their responses. In this way, I can give them feedback. My students need much practice with academic language. Here are a couple of examples:

Sharing Whole Group

5 minutes

Some of my students have the opportunity to share with the whole group about their characters. It is important to give students different audiences for them to share.

The CCSS asks students to communicate for various reasons in front of various audiences. For my second language learners this is a great opportunity to build their language skills.

Here is another student that shares: Goldilocksis Naughty.

I teach my students how to start giving each other feedback. This is the system I use:

  • Two Stars: Two different students share what they specifically like about the content of the writing.
  • A Wish: Another student shares specifically how they think the writing can be improved.