Saturday, September 17, 2016

Teaching About a Character's Feelings

We have spent quite a bit of time these first two weeks of school developing growth mindset, validating each other as classroom team members and developing classrooms of safety and kindness.

Our first book in fourth grade that teachers and students have read as their universal text is titled, Dexter the Tough by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
From Peterson's blog:
"I'm the new kid. I am tuf.  This morning I beat up a kid."
 "It's only the first day of school for Dexter, but he's already mad at the principal, and the secretary, and the janitor, and the kids who laugh at him.  When his teacher tells the class to write a story, Dexter writes about how toug he is-and how he's already gotten into a fight.   Is any of Dexter's story true?  Why was the other boy crying before Dexter hit him?  And why would the other boy still want to be Dexter's friend?  Even Dexter  doesn't know the answers to some of those questions  But as he deals with family problems, a persistent teacher and a boy who's strangely interested in floor wax, he discovers many surprised hidden in his own tale.
Although there are many layers to teaching about characters including feelings, traits, thoughts, actions, reactions, internal and external characteristics, talking about and identifying feelings of characters was the main focus to start out the year.  We develop all of these other areas as the school year progresses.

As students read a series of chapters, they were asked to record their ideas about Dexter's feelings as well as Robin's feelings. (Dexter and Robin were the two main characters in this story.) The anchor chart we used to introduce characters is above.  We also sprinkled in character change as this is fundamental to Dexter the Tough and his growth throughout the story as well as establishing growth mindset in the classroom.

Kids recorded their ideas in journals while working with partners.

I also found {THIS} anchor chart when I was working on our anchor chart, which would be the next layer in citing text evidence.  I think we will incorporate it into our next book.

Happy new school year!

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