Analyzing Character Traits

This week, our Journeys anchor text was Jean Fritz's book, Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?

In this book, we see King George's perspective of the American Revolution, who felt like a "father with a family of very, very disobedient children." As usual, Jean Fritz does a great job of telling his story using very interesting facts and entertaining thoughts.

Journeys focused on opinion and fact as the target skill, but I thought that this would also be a great opportunity to also bring in character traits.

We used Laura Candler's {Analyzing Character Traits} as an introduction to character study.

As far as the product itself, it is laid out very well and clear instructions are provided. You could print this out, pick up a few books recommended on one of the pages, and teach a complete unit on character traits. This is my first time using one of Laura's products, and the first few pages were incredibly helpful.

Even though a complete unit is provided, I felt that I was able to pick and choose based on my literacy timetable and adapt it to the text that we were currently reading.

First, I handed out the list of character traits included in this packet. There were two versions, and I used the one with traits that were more descriptive that the more basic list so that my fifth graders could learn some vocabulary as well.

Then we examined one of the traits that we felt King George possessed most, completing a graphic organizer together as a class. We came up with a definition of that trait, then specific examples of how King George acted and spoke to support that trait.

After students were comfortable with that, I grouped them together to complete a graphic organizer of multiple traits that he possessed. Students found specific quotes in the story to support those traits.

I heard some great discussions and debates as they settled on the four they wanted to use. Some students wanted to traits like helpful to describe King George, so they were having interesting discussions about what he thought he was doing to be helpful really wasn't helpful. Even as they were disagreeing, they were referring to the text for specific examples. Going back to the text is a skill that we are working hard on this year, so I was pleased to see them actually practice it!

I think that my students enjoyed these activities, as I didn't have many classroom management issues. (Isn't that the mark of a good lesson?!) They were engaged with each other and spent a lot more time on discussion than I had expected. Since I didn't want to interrupt a good thing, I just let them go. :)

There are additional activities in this packet that look great, but I'm going to save those for another story since they didn't fit well with this particular text. They are more appropriate for stories with multiple characters and events that mold their personalities.

I hope to revisit this topic again in social studies when we actually study the Revolutionary War. That won't be until April and May. Then my students should be able to do Laura's {Character Bio Reports}.

Even though we did this in literacy, I'm linking it up to my Revolutionary War ideas. Please feel free to add your ideas/product to any social studies topic listed under the social studies tab at the top of this page :) Or click {here} to see all of the topics!

American Revolution Linky

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