Do you work on character traits? Want a fun new way to work on this tricky concept?
My students have been working hard in their classrooms to understand and use character traits to describe characters in the texts they are reading. My students have a tendency to either 1. use the same traits over and over and/or 2. continue to struggle with how to develop their responses.
As SLPs, we have a tendency to use a different lens to teach concepts taught in the classroom. I find that classroom teachers ask students to pick a trait and then find a quote or evidence from the text to support their responses. I like to teach my students to go in the reverse! But first…it is important to make sure that my students know the vocabulary! My students always want to use “good” or “bad.” Well…I like to place those in the boring category! Not only are they boring, those words don’t tell enough! To teach the character traits, I like to do sorting activities to show the difference between words that describe our insides vs. outsides! I used the people cut outs that I purchased at Lakeshore Learning (but you can EASILY make your own). We came up with words to describe our own personalities! What makes us, US but from the inside! You can’t see these qualities, you have to know us to know these characteristics!
Then, we flipped the cut out over to the not so nice side and we wrote words to describe how we looked on the outside. I gave the students mirrors so they can view themselves how others might view them. They loved this activity and describing themselves.
Once my students understand inside vs. outside characteristics, we discussed good vs. bad character traits. What makes a person good and what would make a person bad? What would they have to do to become each character trait?
We used word webs or bubble maps to come up with events that helped shape character traits written on the cut outs. This helped my students comprehend that an action or event would need to happen in your life or in the life of a character in a text in order to have a character trait to be paired with it. I have also used Wordle to create word collages using their character traits and events in their life that helped create them. They have had fun finding the words in each others’ collages and finding the matching event!
To then bring the activity full circle and show my students how to use this skill in the classroom, I showed them that instead of coming up with a trait and then finding the evidence from a text, find a part in a text that was important or significant in the character’s life or journey. What word can be derived from that event? By going in the reverse, my students have had a MUCH better time comprehending and succeeding in these tasks! I should add that I found it SIGNIFICANTLY helpful to notify teachers of this strategy. They appreciate it and it helps them understand why their students are going in the reverse direction on graphic organizers! They also appreciate knowing about strategy for dealing with students struggling to comprehend character traits!
Missed my Periscope last night?! View the video below:
Below are some of my favorite storybooks to use to work on character traits:
Want more activities?! Check out my character traits fun product on TpT by clicking HERE!
Get more tips about teaching reading skills with this post about teaching talking while reading!