Teaching Character traits - ProTeacher Community


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Teaching Character traits
Old 04-08-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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Hello,
How does one teach in depth character traits? I would like to read a story and discuss a character. What would be the best book to do this with third graders? Thanks in advance!


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Connect the character to a theme or idea
Old 04-08-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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I think one way of teaching it deeply is by connecting it to an idea or theme. During my "character" unit, I create a chart for each book I read. The chart had 3 columns with the headings: What the book says, What this says about the character (trait), So an idea in this story might be . . .

As I was reading, I would stop at parts where the students had to do some inferring. For example, with the book, The Honest-to-Goodness Truth, I copied a sentence from the book that is similar to this in the first column: ". . . Her eyes were watery and her bottom lip quivered. She felt like she had swallowed a handful of chicken feathers." I would ask what does this say about the character? (trait adjective) Guilty, Regretful, etc. I would write students responses in the second column. Then I would ask, "so this book might be about. . ." (idea noun) Regret, Guilt. I would write this in the third column. At the end of the book, we would reflect on the traits/ideas that were the most important in the book.

I spent quite a while on Eve Bunting books- her books are so rich with layered and deep characters. A great one is Sunshine Home. (These are all picture books though).

I hope this all makes sense. (I can't attach anything yet, otherwise, I'd post a picture of my chart).
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Mia Hamm
Old 04-08-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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One of my favorite books to read to my class is by soccer star Mia Hamm, called Winners Never Quit - it's about perseverance and good sportsmanship. The kids can totally relate to it.
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Books with character traits
Old 04-09-2008, 03:05 AM
 
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Would anyone like to list their favorite books to teach character traits for second/third grade?

Thank you for the previous response
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The Hundred Dresses
Old 04-10-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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I read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, to my second graders every year. I read it when I was in elementary school - probably written around 1930's or 40's - but I think it's still relevant today. It's about how we treat people who are different - in this case an immigrant girl who "talks funny" from the poor side of town. It always sparks a good discussion about respect and compassion.

Also some of the long Dr. Suess books are pretty good - Bartholmew Cubbins, Horton the Elephant, Sneetches, Yertle the Turtle.

The Whipping Boy is a good read aloud book, but I find that I have to stop and explain a lot of things in it.


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