Hi there! It’s Deb Hanson from Crafting Connections, and I’m going to share a character traits lesson with you today. This lesson is based on one I did a few years ago for a formal observation. My principal at the time loved the lesson… I hope you will, too! If you do decide that you want to try this activity with your students, be sure to click on the following image. Everything you need for this lesson is FREE! (Well, almost everything… you’ll have to provide your own anchor chart paper and cups! :))
I almost always start my ELA units with a PowerPoint presentation to introduce the topic. Therefore, the lesson I am describing would occur on Day 2 of our character traits study. Prior to class, I would create the base of my character traits anchor chart. To start the lesson, I would use the anchor chart to review how good readers analyze clues provided by the author in order to infer character traits.
Next, I would read four short passages, and ask students to determine whether the character trait clue provided by the author was an example of a character’s feelings, actions, dialogue, or thoughts. After gluing (or taping) the passage onto the anchor chart, students would infer a character trait for the character described in each passage, and this sentence would be written on the anchor chart below each passage.
The next component of this lesson is my favorite part! I would present six plastic cups by spreading them across a table or chalkboard tray. As you can see, the cups have been labeled with various character traits. (I chose these particular traits because many young adult chapter books include characters with these traits, and I wanted to introduce my students to more advanced vocabulary.) I also have the small strips of card stock printed and cut apart. These strips contain very short reading passages.
After discussing the meanings of the words printed on the cups, I would tell students to listen as I read aloud one of the strips. (I would also use a document camera to display the strips so my students could follow along.) Students will need to match the story to one of the character traits. To make sure everyone remains engaged, I would instruct students to display each answer by holding up fingers… 1 finger for optimistic, two fingers for pessimistic, three fingers for insensitive, etc. After inferring each character trait, I would ask the students to determine whether the clue was an example of a character’s feelings, actions, dialogue, or thoughts. Then, the strip would be dropped into the cup. Once the strips have all been classified, your cups will look like this:
Finally, I would have my students add the following foldable to their reading notebooks. Students can refer to the anchor chart as they label the foldable. After gluing the foldable in their notebook, students will use a book that they are currently reading or have finished reading recently, and write under each flap how they were able to use that label (dialogue, for example) to infer a character trait. They will write down evidence from the text to support their answer. Providing the following sentence frame may be necessary for some students, especially English Language Learners: I inferred that (character’s name) is (character trait) because (text evidence).
If you are looking for additional resources for teaching character traits to your upper elementary students, feel free to check out the following resources.
Thanks for stopping by today!