Characters and Their Traits Day 1 of 3

9 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT ask and answer questions to understand key details about characters.

Big Idea

Actions speaker louder than words, that is for sure!


10 minutes

Context and Overview

Today, I am working with the students on analyzing character traits. The CCSS are about developing depth of knowledge about key details about characters. I am helping students identify who the character traits is by analyzing their actions and words. I will distinguish physical traits versus behavioral traits.

To do this, I have gathered books with strong characters. I will model using the book, No David! by David Shannon, and then students will spend time reading and identifying traits of other characters. 

Then, students will have a chance to share the character traits they discovered.

After that, I will engage my students in the next chapter of Charlotte's Web: A Talk At Home. We will spend time analyzing Fern's character traits.

On the rug

After sharing the objective, I will ask students, "What are character traits?" They will engage in a think-pair-share before a few of them share out loud. I have created a Character Traits Chart and I will transcribe their responses.

Model with the book, No David!, by David Shannon

12 minutes

Before modeling the next task, I will ask students to stand up and stretch because they will need to sit down again on the carpet. This will allow them to "wake up," if they are falling asleep.

I will read the book, No David! by David Shannon. I chose the story because it is simple but fits the task very well and my students know it well. As I read, I want them to pay attention to how David is acting. I ask them to think about what he is doing and saying to determine David's traits. I ask my students to give me a character trait and to support it with evidence from the story.

I give them this sentence stem to provide them with a linguistic pattern:

"David is being ___________ because____________."

They can say it differently but I provide this to support those who need it.

Here are some of their responses: What Are David's Character Traits 

I will take David's Character Traits, write them on a post-it and then place them on the chart.

Reading Independently To Identify Character Traits

25 minutes

I have placed many books on their tables. I give them a few minutes to choose one. For a couple of students I have chosen the books for them due to their reading abilities, so I keep them on the rug to give them the books, while the rest are dismissed to choose one.

What types of books did I choose?

I chose stories with strong and visible characters. I visited our school library and got the tales of Anansi, Eric Carle's books such as The Grouchy Ladybug and others, Kevin Henkes titles, the Franklin series and some fairytales. The task was for them to read and find four character traits. Once they discover a character trait they are to write in on a post-it.

As they read, I walk around making sure they are on task. 

I make sure to give them uninterrupted reading time. After, I ask them about the character traits they are identifying.

In asking them about the traits they are identifying, my goal is to monitor the quality of the traits. I keep in mind what I would do, if a child writes nice or pretty. I will direct them back to the character's behavior and ask them to think of more specific traits. If the student is unable to produce traits, I will give them an example. In this way, I help to strengthen their vocabularies, while also not turning the entire lesson into a vocabulary lesson.

Sharing Character Traits

10 minutes

I bring the students back to the rug and give them the opportunity to share. I believe in giving my students as much time to practice their oral language development. This is one way. First, I ask the students to pair-share with each other before a few share out loud.

I like giving students time to share in small groups because not all them feel confident about sharing in the big group. Here is some of their sharing:

Sharing Their Character Traits

Sharing Character Traits With The Group

Once they are done sharing, I ask them to bring their post-its and place them on the chart to show just how many different traits they identified and to validate their hard work.

Reading Chapter: A Talk At Home

10 minutes

I had them practice identifying character traits because I want them to analyze Fern's character. Today, we are reading "A Talk At home." I will have E.B. White read the chapter himself (see the embedded video below). This will be a treat for all of us. 

After we finish of the chapter, I will ask them questions about Fern. I will ask, what do we know about Fern?

1. How is she like?

2. What does she like?

3. What does she have to say?

4. What does she think?

These questions will help the student determine Fern's character traits. 

What Is Mrs.Arable Thinking About Fern?

Here is the link to E.B. White's reading the chapters (it is also embedded below).

Charlotte's Web Chapter 8

What Are Some of Fern's Character's Traits?

15 minutes

Now, students will have the opportunity to reread this chapter and to analyze Fern's character traits. I have created a Character Trait template for them to gather the information about how she acts, feels, look, and says.

I am looking for them to use evidence from the book and specific to the topics written above. I am helping my students value evidence. This is one way I am teaching it.

I walk around and give support to students by directing them to the other chapters they can use to gather information. In doing this, this helps the students review the plot too. Here are some examples:





Completed Chart

Completed Fern's Character Trait Chart

Charting Fern's Character Traits

10 minutes

We will now create a classroom chart about Fern's character traits.

In making this chart, I am showing them a different way of organizing their material they collected on their individual templates. To create this chart about Fern, I ask for their input. I go step by step. First, I ask them to give me details about how she acted, then how she looks, how she feels and finally, some of the things she says. In listing what she says, I make it clear to the class that we need to keep in mind those statements that are important to the story, not just trivial comments.

In doing this, I am helping them synthesize Fern's character traits and now we have classroom chart that will be useful for tomorrow's lesson.