Three Little Pigs and Three Billy Goats Gruff, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? That is the first question I ask the kids. These should be pretty easy answers. I explain to the class that almost all stories have a good guy and and a bad guy. They are each important to telling the stories and their are ways that we determine which is which. Also, as story get more complicated, the good guy is not always only good and the bad guy is not always only bad.
This lesson will show students how to determine which character is the good guy or which is the bad guy. I also introduce the terms "protagonist" and "antagonist".
I start by recounting the ideas from the class read aloud. For example, our main character seems good. I tell them that the good guy is usually the person that is doing good or the person that we are rooting for. I then chose a few examples from the text to support my description of the character.
I also do the same thing with the bad guy in the story. Sometimes the bad guy is more than just one character but we still describe the role he or she plays. We then use evidence from the book to support the idea.
After I model how to determine which character is the protagonist and which is the antagonist and use evidence to support the idea, I ask students to use their historical fiction books to do the same.
They work by themselves and write short paragraphs, one for the protagonist and one for the antagonist.
After they have had time to record their ideas, they work with book club group to add to their theories and possibly have their ideas challenged.
I asked to students to indicate what they have learned from their group by recording in their journals anything that they learned or understand better from their group conversation.