Events that Change Characters

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SWBAT explain the event that changes the character's behavior

Big Idea

Inventions like the printing press changed everything! Similarly, there are events in stories that changed the characters forever. In today's lesson, your students will learn to identify these events and their impact.


In this ‘wrap up’ lesson I wanted to introduce my students to how characters and events are related throughout a reading series.  We began this unit by looking at the characters and events in It’s the Bear! by Jez Alborough.  In today’s lesson my students had the opportunity to discover how the boy and the bear changed their feelings about each other.  To do this I read the next part in the series, My Friend Bear by Jez Alborough, to the class.

Common Core Connection:

Reading and comparing the characters and events in It’s the Bear! and My Friend Bear is a good way to introduce students to how to analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text (RL.1.3). It also allows them to engage in some deeper analysis of how the characters are different, which supports engagement with RL.1.9.

Lesson Overview:

Today my students reviewed the story elements in It’s the Bear.  I then read My Friend Bear and had my students listen to and compare the feelings of the characters in both stories, focusing on their feelings and what changed their feelings about each other.


It’s the Bear! by Jez Alborough

My Friend Bear by Jez Alborough

[If you don't have those, you might try: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevn Henkes; Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto; and Shortcut by Donald Crews]

Comparing Individuals, Events, and Ideas Activity Sheet (teacher created)


5 minutes

As my students settled on their rug squares I held up It’s the Bear! by Jez Alborough and turned the pages to show the pictures as I summarized the story.  When I finished I gave my students to think about the boy’s and bear’s feelings toward each other throughout the book.  My students agreed that the boy was afraid of the bear throughout the book, and the bear started off hungry but became scared when he saw the boy.  From there I told my students that, today, we would look at how the characters and events are not only are related, but how events can change the way characters feel about each other in another series about these characters.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I then had my students take a stretch and walk to their desks like a bear.  Throughout the lesson series I have been having my students walk to their desks imitating bears.  This helps promote vocabulary and creative movement.  

Once settled at their desks I reminded them of their good listening skills and to listen to how the boy and bear feel at the beginning, middle, and end of the story; as well as what event happened that helped them make this change.  I then read My Friend Bear, showing the pictures as I read.

When I finished reading I gave my students a chance to think about the sequence of the story and used the magic cup to select three students to retell those parts of the story to the class.  While these children shared out, the rest of the class showed me they agreed or disagreed with a thumb up or down.

Once my students finished retelling, I asked them to share with their partners how the boy and the bear felt about each other in the beginning, middle, and end of the story; as well as what helped them change their minds about each other.  However, I did not have partner pairs share their discussion with the class.  I wanted to give them an opportunity to share their ideas before letting them choose a partner to work on the activity sheet with.  When they finished table partner sharing I gave them the directions to the activity sheet they would complete with their partner.

Before letting them choose their partners I reminded them we were looking at the event that changed the boy and bear’s attitude about each other.  I then instructed them to get their pencils, stand up, and look at the partner they wanted to work with, quietly walk to that partner, and sit at the partner’s desk they were closest to.

Collaborative Activity

15 minutes

Before passing out the act the Comparing Individuals, Events, and Ideas Activity Sheet, I displayed it on the Promethean board and modeled how to fill in the title section, circling the words character and event because that is what we were mostly looking at today.  I then showed them how to fill out the ‘Beginning’ section, explaining they were to write what the event was and how the characters reacted.  I then used the magic cup to select a student to retell the class what they were to do with their partners.

Once satisfied that they understood what they were to do I instructed my students to first talk about what event they thought changed the way the boy and bear felt about each other and why.  As each partner pair finished sharing their ideas with each other I passed out their activity sheets.  As my students worked I circled around the room to check on each group’s progress.  The two boys in the accompanying video demonstrate that they are on the right tract.  As the groups finished I called them to the rug area to share with the class what some of the partner pairs agreed was a changing event for the boy and the bear.  The little girl you see in the video was working hard to finish so she and her partner could share their work.  Nearly all of my students agreed it was when the boy and bear started laughing.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

At this point we moved into our differentiated reading rotation stations. One station is a journalling station, at which students respond to a prompt from the main part of the lesson in their journals.  Today my students were to write about how the boy and bear changed and what event helped them make that change.

I put this prompt on the Promethean board: The boy and the bear were ___ because ___.  Then they ___ because ___.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

To earn a sticker my students wrote a quick answer to this question: What did the boy and bear learn?