To begin the lesson, I reminded students character traits are how a person behaves most of the time. It’s the type of person they are. It’s their personality. Character traits are different from a character’s feelings because feelings are how you feel at the moment about something that just happened. We learned how to identify character traits based on what a character says and today we focused on character actions. I told students we could also analyze a character’s actions to determine character traits. I said I would show them by analyzing Papa’s actions.
I placed the Case File I have been building for Papa from Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan on the document camera. I reviewed the traits I had assigned Papa and read the evidence based on what he said as a review. I placed my copy of the book on the document for all students to see. I placed a transparency on top so that I could underline text evidence. I modeled reading and stopping and something Papa did. I said that I could tell Papa is loving because he hugs Anna when he comes in the cabin. He also lets Caleb hug him and swings him around. That shows Papa is cheerful, too, so I’m going to write it under cheerful. I wrote both pieces of evidence in their respective places in the Case File.
I guided students in identifying other traits based on Papa’s actions in the chapter and modeled writing the trait and evidence in the Case File.
Students got out their Case Files and gathered in their groups. They self-selected groups by character (Caleb, Anna, Sarah). Before they began, I had them read each page of their Case Files to connect with the previous day’s learning. They’d assigned character traits by analyzing dialogue, so I wanted to refresh their memories about the traits they would be looking out for today. I had them reread chapter 1 to find the traits based on their character’s actions. This gave them the opportunity to use evidence they had missed and increase comprehension by rereading. I circulated around the room while students worked and assisted as needed.
I informally assessed students as they worked. I looked to see if they correctly assigned traits based on their character’s actions and/or added behaviors as evidence for traits they’d assigned previously.
Partner Up – Students paired up with a partner to tell them 3 behaviors displayed by their character as evidence for a particular trait. They had to choose someone with a character different from their own. This allowed students to begin to see the formation of a character’s personality based on the evidence. It also gave them the opportunity to learn more about another character in the story.