Lesson Plan

Describing a character

Students will learn how to describe a character using traits, motivations, and feelings.
Stephanie J.
Classroom teacher
Eastern Elementary School
Hagerstown, United States
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My Grades 3
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

  • Describe characters in a story  by discussing their traits,  motivations, and feelings
  • Provide evidence  from the text to support their thinking
English Language Arts
Grades 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Creating

1. Ahead of time, generate cards for charades. Each card should have a character trait on it. 

2.  Tell students they are going to play a game before we better understand characters in a story. Tell students how to play (student/group pulls a card and looks at the card silently without letting anyone see. Then, using actions (no words) student acts out the character trait. The class will raise their hand when they think they know what character trait is being acted out.)

3. Play the game. Encourage students to give "evidence" for their character trait. 

2 Direct Instruction

1. Discuss that in the game, students were able to infer a character trait by analyzing the actions/emotions of the actor.

2. Explain  that good readers  can infer character traits by analyzing the feelings, actions, thoughts, and motivations of a character. 

3. Show Prezi-Character Traits by Karen Kinsley. Stop after each bubble to discuss each (trait, feelings, motivation). Have students turn and talk to generate more ideas that they have. 

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Reading

1. Explain that you will practice coming up with inferences about a character by analyzing their thoughts, feelings, actions, and motivations. 

2. Read, Jump by Sarah Matson. Display the text under a document camera or on the projector.  Read the text aloud as students follow along. Model stopping and thinking-aloud about the character. "What does this show us about the character?"  (She is nervous)

3. Reread the text and highlight parts in the story that really describe the character feeling nervous. Emphasize that you can describe her nervousness (trait) by her feelings and her actions in the story. 

4. Make an anchor chart fo inferring character traits by thoughts, feelings, action, and dialogue. Look back at the text to write down examples for each box (thoughts, feelings, action, and dialogue). Explain that all of these pieces of evidence prove to us that the main character is nervous.

5. Explain that each student will get a chance to analyze their characters' trait by looking in their independent text for thoughts, feelings, action, and dialogue. 



4 Independent Practice

Free, Paid

1. Explain that during independent practice today, students will use the app/website popplet to gather evidence describing their character's trait. (You could also give students a text and character trait and have the student provide evidence)

2. Explain that each bubble they add to popplet should be evidence that supports a character's trait. 

3. Give students time to look closely at their independent text and fill in their popplet organizer. 

Student Instructions

1. Read and reread a book of your choice. 

2. Use popplet to record your evidence of a character's thoughts, feelings, actions, and dialogue. 

5 Wrap Up

1. Mention to students that analyzing a characters' thoughts, feelings, action, and dialogue can help us better understand our characters especially in chapter books because characters can change from beginning to end.  Explain that these character descriptions can help us to relate to the characters and to other characters.  

2. Have students take a screenshot on their iPads of their Popplet. Lead students in uploading their popplet to their SeeSaw journal. 

3. Once these are uploaded to SeeSaw. Encourage students to comment on each others "popplet" description on how their characters are similar or different.