I feel like by the time students get to 4th grade, they are OVER Character Traits. However, knowing what Character Traits are doesn’t prepare them for the types of characters or the way traits are “shown” in 4th grade text. This week, we are diving in deep with character, their traits, inferred traits, and the changes characters undergo. Amanda (my teacher BFF, owner of ETX Teaching on TpT, and FABULOUS HUMAN) to the rescue. She created this incredible resource that includes allllll of those I mentioned plus some other incredible parts that we use later in the year!
So we started yesterday with talking about inner vs. outer (physical traits) and talked about how traits can be positive or negative. I was surprised to see that the students had not ever thought of the traits as either positive or negative. This led to some really great conversations.
Getting Creative with Characters
We also designed our own character with half being inside traits and half being physical traits. I told them they could design themselves or a fictional person. I chose to not allow them to do people in the classroom. My group of kids is working HARD on kindness this year because we are struggling with self-control and using appropriate words with each other. I did not know if they would be nice when designing a classmate. So, I set boundaries.
I did give them some freedom on either drawing symbols to represent a trait or just writing the trait. They enjoyed coming up with symbols for some traits.
Identifying Inferred Character Traits
Following this activity, we discussed how authors use inferred traits to build their character’s personality. We read an excerpt from Charlotte’s Web (my student teacher’s idea.) Even though the excerpt didn’t SAY Fern was kind and brave, the students could tell based on the author’s description and the situation.
Next, they worked on groups on this Inferred Character Traits Activity.
I had the students start on different traits and set the timer for 20 minutes. I knew they might not get finished with all of the traits and this made it better for when we played the game we played.
Concluding the Activity and Lesson
After the timer went off, they took turns sharing and the other groups guessed the trait they were describing. The kids loved this! They pulled a post it with a number written on the back off of the cabinet each time they guessed one right. At the end, the highest score got a homework pass! The great part of this game is that MOST of the groups got every trait right, so they got to choose multiple post-its before the game was over. Then add up their final score.
This is my second year using this lesson and it is such a winner! We will use the rest of the resource in a few weeks when we discuss plot structure!
I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!