Sunday, 21 October 2012

Creating a Character Trait Study

Studying the work of various authors is an important component to my writing program. As a young girl, I loved reading these little books written by Roger Hargreaves. Students in my classroom enjoy them too! At first glance, the Mr. Men and Little Miss Series of books appear to be geared toward primary students. However, they are perfect for studying character traits with Grades Four and Five!

I decided to pass out a basket of these books to each table group in my room. I wanted students to browse, read through and enjoy sharing some of the stories with one another. I needed to give them the time to discuss and familiarize themselves with these stories before digging deeper. Next, I asked students to revisit the texts and to think about the key features that make up a Mr. Men or Little Miss book. Here is our class created anchor chart:

Students were required to show how they would portray a specific character trait in a story. I decided to give each table group a character trait and they had to create a web of possibilities. The group below is sharing all the ways they could make a character look, act and feel “miserable” in a story. They also shared a possible problem that may arise and a solution to it. 

This group experience helped students understand how a character trait can be the focal point of a story. We created a special chart in our Book Lover’s Books after each group shared their web. I wanted students to be able to reflect back to this large group experience and the chart would be a great reference tool. 

Currently, students are working on their individual stories. They are also sharing their stories with each other to receive advice and feedback. Students will be reminded to look back to our anchor chart to make sure they have included the criteria needed to make a Mr. Men or Little Miss story. Revision is an important part of the writing process. Slowing down to rethink, rearrange and reflect helps lift the quality of writing.

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