Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Character Traits: 1st grade

This path that I have taken with Reader's Workshop feels risky at each step. I have a rough outline of where I want these kids to go, and I feel that we are taking these steps in stride, but really we are like pioneers. Each week I plan and attack, and each week the students retaliate with confidence. This week is a prime example:
We have been studying print strategies since the beginning of the year. Yeah, we spend much time organizing ourselves and developing procedures, but mostly, print strategies. (BTW: I am sick of print strategies right now!)
Monday, we began the work of story elements. We discussed what a character was and the clues to prove. Our chart:
Characters Are:
(Sometimes)In the title
On the cover
In the pictures
Tuesday and Wednesday we began a chart that looks like this:
Character Traits
...Who.........Trait............ How do you know?
We have been filling this chart with characters like, Skippyjonjones, Little Whistle, The Little Old Lady Who Names Things, Harriet Harris(You'll Drive Me Wild). At first I was nervous, what if they say their traits are a girl, a siamese cat that thinks he's a chihuahua, those are not character traits. Here is the kicker, it didn't happen, they must have gotten it from my example and they rolled with it. Yesterday, and today I gave them a mini chart like the one above and asked them to record that information with their partner. During sharing time they did beautifully. They got it, I had a wow moment!
Tomorrow, the setting. I have great titles to discuss: All the Places to Love, Through Grandpa's Eyes, and Night is Coming. Wish me luck!


Katie Dicesare said...

I like this!!! What kind of traits were they thinking about? What about the how did you knows? I would love to think more about this. I am sick of print strategies too. I feel like I will have to come back to print strategies all year. I have been mixing it up more now and really focusing on I wonders and thinking about meaning before reading...really having the kids take the I wonder and pic thinking independently. I have also been hitting fluency and we've been brainstorming why it's important and what we can do as a reader to practice fluency. I too amazed at what my kids are thinking. Thanks for sharing.

pmaxson said...

This was a great lesson. I used a book called Little Mouse, A Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. We talked about the title, cover, pictures, and words tell us about the character. That book was perfect because each part shed new information about the characters.

Quick question: Do you have a great lesson for teaching plot in First Grade? I've researched and I can't find it in a format like you just did: break it down to attainable information. Thank you, in advance, for your help!