It seems like it’s been way too long since I’ve blogged about what we’re up to in my classroom. The month of November has been a CRAZY one for me, but in a great way!
We spent four fun-filled days in Nashville attending the AMLE conference. We brought all three kids with us (!!) as well as my in-laws, who made the family trip possible by helping with the kids.
We are HUGE country music fans in my house, and my oldest son, Tyler, is an awesome guitar player. It was a dream of his to visit Nashville, and we surprised him with CMA Awards tickets! Here’s a photo of Tyler and me from our seats, one row from the top!
Can you believe that boy of mine is ONLY 13?!
The next day, he worked off those CMA tickets by helping out in our booth.
We even had our two youngest boys (ages 9 and 6) in the booth for a couple of hours. Talk about a family affair!
Meanwhile, I really wanted to leave something meaningful and productive for my students to do in the classroom since I’d be out for three days. I decided to start a second class novel right before leaving and have the students read the majority of the novel while I was gone. So, that’s how we came to finish The Sign of the Beaver in just over a week! I decided to try something different this time and do more with the entire product of the novel, instead of smaller chunks along the way. So far, I’m really pleased with that. It’s a short novel – the audiobook is under 3.5 hours, so that should give you some perspective.
With this novel, I’m focusing on story devices and characterization. Since I plan to hit back on characterization a lot over the next few months, I put together this little characterization tab book for my students to glue in their notebooks.
This interactive notebook activity includes well over 100 sample character traits, organized by generic traits such as happy, sad, mad, lazy, smart, and even positive and negative traits.
I’ve already emailed a free copy of this activity to all of my email subscribers. If you’d like a free copy of this character traits interactive notebook activity, simply type your email address below to subscribe. After confirming your email address, a copy of this activity will be automatically delivered to your inbox.
What makes this novel so great for characterization is the fact that the book has two strong, dynamic characters. So, we analyzed one of the characters together and then the students analyzed the second character on their own.
I started by using this graphic organizer to analyze Matt.
We glued it in our interactive notebooks, making it a left-side page for the new character traits tab book. (Read about what I’ve been doing with left side pages and graphic organizers here.)
Now, since the students have this example we did together in their notebooks, I can pull out this organizer at regular intervals throughout the year for new literature we read and expect that my students can complete it independently. If a student claims that he has forgotten what to do, I’ll refer him to the page in the notebook and let him know he’s a big boy and can do it on his own.
So for now, my students will complete the organizer for the second character, Attean.
I also use this characterization lesson to teach my students how to do a Character Analysis project that they’ll have to do in the spring with their literature circles. Here, I’ll ask them to draw the character, list 3 traits with text evidence, identify one of the character’s goals, one problem, and a solution to that problem. Whew!
And for those of you following my Grade 6 Pacing Chart, you might be noticing that I’ve strayed from the plan. I’ve strayed far, far from my plan! Just when I get something how I like it, I go and change it. Why must I do this? Am I the only one who can’t do ANYTHING the same two years in a row?!