Writing

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

Do you need helps with ideas for teaching students how to develop characters in their narrative essay? This post will share an effective way to teach character traits and developing characters. These ideas are ideal for any writing curriculum and are a part of a series of mini lessons for writer’s workshop designed for scaffolding through the writing process.

 

 

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}.”)

 

1. TEACH

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)

 

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?

 

2. MENTOR TEXT

Rotten Richie and the Ultimate Dare by Patricia Polacco

 

 

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

 

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

 

3. MODEL

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

 

4. TAKE NOTES

Students should take notes about character traits.  If you have a resource with a list of traits, they can add that to their writing folders or you place them in a writing center!

 

5. PRACTICE ACTIVITY

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!!!

 

6. APPLY

Students will first brainstorm ideas for their main character. When students are finished with developing the main character, work on the other characters in the story.  I usually have my students pick three characters 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 the readers will get to know the characters at a more personal level!

 

  

 

7. SHARE

Share, share, share.  It helps to have students share their ideas!  They may be able to build upon their story by sharing or give others ideas to add to their writing.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed learning how to develop characters!

 

 

 

LAST LESSON:  WRITING MINI LESSON #18- BUILDING SUSPENSE AND CLIMAX 

 

NEXT LESSON:  WRITING MINI LESSON #20- DIALOGUE IN A NARRATIVE ESSAY!

 

CLICK HERE TO START THE FIRST LESSON IN WRITER’S WORKSHOP 

 

This lesson is also included in the STEP-BY-STEP Interactive Writing Notebooks with mini lessons for paragraph, narrative, opinion, and informative writing designed to scaffold through the writing process.  It includes anchor charts for teaching, interactive notebook pages for taking notes, modeled stories, mentor text, practice sheets, tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, and so much more!  Click on the pic below to find out how to motivate students and boost test scores with this STEP-BY-STEP year-long writing program!

 

“My grade level used this last year and our state assessment scores improved greatly in writing!!!  Other grades are using your units!  I am soooo excited to see what the kiddos remember from year to year since it spirals.  It’s helped them TONS and with our population, we always struggle to find successful resources.  We love them!!!” – Megan

 

 

ROCK ‘N’ WRITE!!!!

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