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Teaching Character Traits!

My favorite thing to teach is Character Traits. Pair it with my favorite book and I am in heaven! 



When I teach character traits, I also like to tie it in with my writing workshop time so students get more exposure to developing a character's identity.

When my students and I completed this unit, they had some previous experience with character traits. I didn't need to spend a lot of time going over inside and outside traits.
I used this poster to review the concept.


After we went over the poster, the students and I read an adorable story called, "Jan's New Friend." We discussed the events that happened in the book (a little cause and effect can be integrated). Then, students and I came up with words to describe the main character, Jan. Once the reading was finished, I paired students up with a partner and they re-read this book together.

The activity that I gave students included a list of inside traits. Only some of them described Jan. The students had to decide which ones described her and which ones did not. The students glued the words around Jan on the character trait paper. It's amazing how students naturally HAVE to practice pulling out evidence from the text in order to justify adding a trait to the paper. I love this activity!


The next day, the students listened to me read the book, "Cindy Moo" by Lori Mortenson. This may be my favorite book. Something about it just warms my heart.


Once we read this book, we discussed it and then completed a reading response activity to keep it simple for the day.


The next day, we revisited the book and started to dig into character traits and providing evidence.
We walked through the book and described her and students help tell why (provide evidence).


Afterwards, students completed a character trait paper on their own.
This picture gives you a look at all of the reading responses that we did.

We ended out our week with a little craft. Students practiced identifying Cindy Moo's emotions during the beginning, middle and end of the story. They also wrote about a text-self connection!


During our week of Cindy Moo, students also wrote stories with characters. It was SO much fun!
The purpose of the writing was to allow students to practice including story elements in their writing as well as develop their characters so we could identify character traits for them too!

To begin, I gave students three choices for a setting for their story. Then, I laid out a lot of character options for their stories.

Once students identified a setting and characters for their story, then I let them play before doing any actual writing. This is always my favorite. Students get to be KIDS. They get with a partner and make up stories using their characters and setting like toys. Doing this always makes for amazingly creative stories.

Once students played, then we shared out our story ideas. We made sure to point out problems and solutions in stories because we wanted to make sure we all included one in our story.

Once we did that, then it was time for me to model how to take all of the ideas and turn them into real stories! We focused a lot on what belongs in the beginning, middle and end of a story. We referred to Cindy Moo during this too.


This is what I used to help guide my students through writing their own stories!

Once my students wrote their own stories and were ready to publish, the first did a little peer editing.
I am not always able to spend the time with students to edit their stories like I wish I could so I always have students meet with partners first. Honestly, partner editing works! If you haven't given it a try, do it!

The rule of thumb in my classroom is; I will not do a final edit until two people in the class have went through the editing checklist. In other words, two students need to help edit a story before I will do a final edit. 

Here is the checklist my students use. I laminate them and we use them throughout the year.


After students edit, then they work to on their cover page and adding detail to to their illustrations. I don't normally have students in first grade re-write their entire book. They only rewrite a page if it is not legible. 

If you're interested in this Character Traits unit, you can find it by clicking the picture below!

















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