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Character Teacher Resources
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Combining art, music, dance, and reading comprehension, this lesson is geared to reach all ability levels. After reading a variety of fables and discussing story elements and character traits, class members select a moral to use as the basis of their own fable about two characters, one with foibles and one without. Your fabulists then collaborate on a class mural, a music composition, and a dance which reflect the traits of characters in their stories. Document it all on a class website.
Delve into narrative writing that puts choice in the hands of the writers. Kids pick their own characters, emotions, items, and places from a list and tie them together in the exposition. Several questions help guide the writers toward fully understanding and developing the characters in their story.
Some of what we know about a character is directly stated. Some of what we know is inferred by events in the story. Character maps help primary learners recognize the difference. After modeling with a story your class has read, pupils choose a character from one of their favorite books and use the maps to record and analyze traits. A character map template is available from Microsoft Visio.
Build reading comprehension skills with this lesson plan. Have your class listen, predict outcomes, retell the story, and produce a character web as you read the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni aloud. This lesson plan also asks learners to make connections between the book and their own prior knowledge about fish and oceans.
Creating a good main character is a must when writing a creative narrative or novel. Elementary aged writers create main characters for the novel they are writing. They first use themselves as a models, then create a character as a class. After working through each of the processing questions they create main characters on their own.
Combining descriptive and expository writing skills, middle schoolers create a character sketch about someone they know well. They use a graphic organizer to help them discuss a model character sketch and organize/write one of their own. The instructional activity could be modified for any grade level, and it could be useful when writing about a character from literature.
What ingredients make up a character? A cup of honesty, a dash of humor, a pinch of cynicism? Based on real cookbooks they review in class, learners at any grade level three and up write recipes to describe characters familiar to your class. Others try to decipher who the recipe describes.
Primary learners read Holly Keller’s That’s Mine, Horace, analyze the text and characters, and sequence the story. After discussing the experiences Walter encounters once he tells a fib, class members use a character analysis worksheet to identify the qualities found in the story’s characters. Finally, they write a friendly letter to one of the characters.
How best to get your novelists developing characters than to actually become some of them? Bring a bag of props into your classroom and let writers have some fun role-playing their own characters being interviewed on a TV show. Although the indicated worksheet isn't included here, it is easily found online. Kids fill out the answers to various interview questions for as their villain, supporting character, and protagonist, then partner up to conduct the interviews. The worksheet has all interview questions provided as writing prompts. You and your class will find this hilarious!
Following the model on book jackets, young writers draft their own author bio. After a discussion of the kinds of information they used in their blurbs that would prove interesting to readers, pupils work in groups to develop similar background material for a protagonist, antagonist, and two supporting characters. The 3rd in a series of lessons from the NaNoWriMo writing project, the concepts in this lesson can be applied to any study of characterization. Referenced worksheets are not included.