Writing Mini Lesson #19- Developing Characters in a Narrative Essay

I hope you enjoyed the previous lesson on Building Suspense and Climax!  Today you will get ideas on how to teach students to develop characters in a narrative essay.

Developing Character:  Mentor Text:  Rotten Ritchie and the Ultimate Dare by Patricia Polacco

SKITTLE ACTIVITY:  Hand out a skittle to students and assign colors to a character trait or emotion.  Whatever color they receive, they have to tell or write about how to change a character with that trait or emotion.  When they finish, give them a handful!!!

Common Core Standard:  We can apply grade level Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text {e.g. a character’s thoughts, words, or actions}.”)

To write a well-crafter paper, show the development of the characters throughout the story.
*Did they change in any way?
*Were they bossy at the beginning and then caring towards the end?
*Did something happen to cause this damage?

There are two kinds of traits:
1.  Outside traits:  Physical traits that you can actually see.  (blonde, tall, messy hair, dirty clothes)
2.  Inside traits:  How the character feels or acts.  (bossy, lonely, mysterious, thoughtful, clumsy)

This is a great time to read from the book Rotten Ritchie and the Ultimate Dare.  Richie teases his sister Tricia about taking ballet.  Tricia knows how much work it takes so she challenges Ritchie to perform in her ballet recital.  Ritchie agrees, under one condition:  Tricia has to join his hockey team for the big game!  Ritchie’s character changes throughout the story as he realizes how difficult it is to perform ballet.

Changes in Ritchie:  Teasing, belittling, disgusting to being respectful towards his sister’s hard work.

In the class story, go through the characters and decide how they can change throughout the story.

Next, students will first brainstorm ideas for their main character.  I love how my students took their time to really develop their characters!  They were instructed to first draw the character, then cut down the middle and glue on edges.  Then open up the face and tell how the main character may change!!!  (think of the plot)

 He He

When students are finished with developing the main character, it is time to work on the other characters in the story!  I usually have my students pick three of them to develop.  How will they change and develop over the course of the story?  This is extremely helpful to keep the interest of the readers and so the readers get to know the characters at a more personal level!

I hope you enjoyed learning how to develop characters!  Next lesson will be using dialogue!
Like always, 

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