Many of us have met "best friends" in the pages of a book. Understanding character is the very heart of what must do when they are reading fiction. In fact, "characterization" is often cited as one of the most powerful literary elements. A character's beliefs, feelings, and thoughts are the glue that "holds the story together."
Listed below are ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS of the Character Study:
Characters: Active readers synthesize what characters say, do, think, and determine their motivation for their actions and thinking, ultimately learning how to empathize with characters
Students will begin this unit of study reading the shared novel, Every Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant. This novel contains 12 short stories that each "captures the moment someone's life changes - when an animal causes a human being to see things in a different way, and, perhaps, changes his life."
Whole group lessons will focus on plot structure, summarizing, characterization, character change, and theme. Small group work, reading responses, and literature discussion questions will be differentiated based on need.
After, students will break into four different teacher-selected guided reading groups. The novels used during this part of the study will be There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar, James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. All four novels have strong characterization and include a main character who is dynamic and experiences a significant change. Instruction will focus on specific skills and strategies that each group needs.
Finally, this unit of study will end with literature circles. Students will get to choose from five different books, that all share the common topic of character change. Lessons will focus on how to have engaging and thoughtful discussions. Students will be responsible for preparing for literature circles and being active participants during discussions.
ACADEMIC VOCABULARY for this unit includes: characterization, character development, literary element, theme, plot, events, summary, exposition, rising action, falling action, climax, resolution, protagonist, antagonist, motivation, static character, dynamic character
Timeline Creator: Creating timelines with this tool becomes an engaging activity for students as they choose from five different units of measure (date, time, event, entry, or other) and add specific descriptions of each entry.
Newspaper Clipping Generator: Type in a main event or story, and this generator publishes your work to make it seem like it's printed from an actual newspaper!
Acrostic Poems: In this online tool, students can learn about and write acrostic poems. An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic word.
Shape or Theme Poems: In this online tool, elementary students can write poems based on shapes from five different categories: Nature, School, Sports, Celebrations, and Shapes. Within these categories, 32 different shapes are included.
Diamante Poems: In this online tool, students can learn about and write diamante poems, which are diamond-shaped poems that use nouns, adjectives, and gerunds to describe either one central topic or two opposing topics (for example, night/day or winter/spring).