Saturday, November 22, 2014

All About Characters: Task Cards, Graphic Organizers, and Short Stories

Hello! I'm SUPER excited about my newest pack!

 First off, let me tell you that I've always loved teaching character analysis. I think it's interesting. I love analyzing people in real life so, of course, I love analyzing characters in books. I sort of have a problem. I will be reading a book with my kids and I can't help but talk about the characters. My son will sometimes say, "Mommy, I just want to read the book, not talk about the character's feelings." Oops! Yeah, overkill. Teacher occupational hazard? Luckliy for me, my students have no choice but to humor me. Sorry kids, we are going to dig deeper and analyze this character. It's for your own good though. :)

Anywho, I had some fun with this pack.  About a month ago, I blogged  about character analysis lessons for fall read-alouds. You can read more here. This post is one of my favorites. It's all about ideas for teaching character analysis for specific books. No buying, no selling, just some great teaching ideas. If you want to take it a step further, this is where you want to go. 

First, I made task cards. My students are all about task cards. They love them! They love to take their white board pens and find evidence in text. These task cards have a short story with four character traits at the bottom. Students will read the story, decide which trait fits that character, then underline evidence in the text. Perfect for guided reading groups or partner activities!

Here's how you use them:

I read all the of word choices for the character traits. I explain what they all mean before they choose the word. Sometimes it might be helpful to read the words, then read the story then read the words again.

Highlight or underline the evidence to support the character trait. Let's get serious here. Using a dry erase marker make everything more fun. :) For this card, reliable was a new vocabulary word. As we reread the story, I kept asking, "Are they being reliable, someone you can count on?" or "Is this an example of being reliable- someone you can count on?" We took it line by line asking that questions over and over to help find that evidence.

Totally getting off track real quick...
As we were using these, I had some unexpected teachable moments:
Before getting into the character analysis, we highlighted the inflectional endings. It helped with accuracy. 

The word, always was a tricky word, we highlighted the words and reread the story. 

Okay, back on track!
I also included some task cards with questions to use with any book. This spinner is another option. Read a winter book and use these task cards and spinner to challenge your students to really think about the characters. Use them in small groups with the book you read, during read-aloud, or during partner reading.

I am also all about graphic organizers. This is how my brain figures things out. Give me a visual and I got it. I think our students are the same way usually. You can use these graphic organizers with any book that are read aloud or use during small reading groups. They will also work with some of the story cards in this pack. You can print these or draw them on chart paper to use as a whole group lesson.

(I wanted to reuse these to save paper so put them in a sleeve.) 

I decided to include a "ready-to-print" option. As much as I love using the laminated cards, there are times when you just need something  now. You can't laminate, you're out of color in your printer, and you just want to make it easy. I get it. I have been there and will be there. So I made this option for myself as much as for you! This is perfect for seat work, homework, and still guided reading groups. They can highlight evidence in the text and there is an extra question to get them thinking, 

This pack has 20 stories. they are in task card form and worksheet form. I also did an easier version of the stories so all students could use this pack. 


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  2. Sarah, I absolutely, positively, totally adore these activities! You have thought of everything!