Because of Winn-Dixie Scrapbook
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
About this book
After reading the book Because of Winn-Dixie individually or as a class, students analyze the story's main characters by creating online scrapbooks in which they identify character traits and use textual evidence to support their ideas. In turn, they form a deeper understanding of the book's characters.
- Review a model scrapbook page
- Create a scrapbook featuring characters from the book
- Develop personalized avatars of each of the main characters
- Generate a list of 10 traits to accompany each character avatar
- Flashlight Readers Activities
- Computer: activities can be modified from one computer to a whole computer lab
- Flashlight Readers: Because of Winn-Dixie Scrapbook
- Printable Scrapbook
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Optional: Basic art supplies (paper, glue, markers, etc.) for extension activity
- Optional: Power Point, LCD Projector, and Overhead Projector
Transparency Paper. Print out selected Web pages and make transparency copies to post on the overhead, if you don't have access to a computer
Step 1: Review the main literary elements: character, setting, plot, and theme and list on the chalkboard. Tell students they will create online scrapbooks as a way to explore the characters in Because of Winn-Dixie. Be sure they understand that a character is a person or an animal in literature. Point out that in the book, Opal meets different characters in her new community who become her circle of friends. List the names of the characters on the chalkboard, including: Winn-Dixie, Preacher, Gloria Dump, Otis, and Miss Franny Block. It's through these characters that Opal learns about friendship, belonging, and acceptance. Ask students what the story would be like without these characters.
Introduce the term character trait - a distinguishing quality of a person or character that can include personality, likes/dislikes, and behavior. Explain that authors reveal characters in two ways. One is by directly telling what the character looks or acts like. Invite students to turn to page 8 in the book, near the beginning of Chapter One, and have a volunteer read aloud the second paragraph that begins "And then the dog came running...". Point out that the author directly describes how Winn Dixie looks - big and ugly. And how he acts - smiles by pulling back lips, wags tail hard.
The second way to describe characters is indirectly through what they say, how they act, or what others say about them. Invite a volunteer to read aloud from page 68 near the beginning of Chapter Ten. Have the volunteer read the second paragraph that begins "And the whole time..." to the bottom of the page. Then ask students what they can tell about Gloria Dump. Point out that Opal's description of how Gloria acts while she's telling her story says a lot about Gloria Dump's character.
Gather the class around a computer or use an LCD to project the screen. Click the Scrapbook activity. Read aloud the directions and review Opal's sample scrapbook pages for Winn-Dixie. Invite a volunteer to read aloud the ten character traits and discuss what other ones they could have added.
Next, invite students to choose a featured character. Then print out and distribute copies of the Printable Scrapbook for students to fill in as a draft. Instruct them to write down the ten traits and to draw a picture of their character. Encourage students to return to the text to find both direct and indirect descriptions.
Divide the class into pairs to do peer reviews of each other's Scrapbook drafts. Have students review the comments and make revisions as needed.
Arrange for students to use the classroom computers or go to the computer lab to create their final draft scrapbook pages. Print out each student's page and create a class scrapbook.
Once students have completed the scrapbook and played the Stump the Dump maze game, they will earn a reward. Upon completion of both these activities, invite students to click the Secret Drawer to reveal an autographed photo from author Kate DiCamillo.
Supporting All Learners
Language Arts Standards (4th Ed.)
- Understands elements of character development in literary works (e.g., differences between main and minor characters; stereotypical characters as opposed to fully developed characters; changes that characters undergo; the importance of a character's actions, motives, and appearance to plot and theme)
- Makes connections between characters or simple events in a literary work and people or events in his or her own life
- Working in pairs, have students share their character scrapbook pages with each other. Encourage them to find similarities and differences in how they described the same characters.
- Copy and distribute the Printable Scrapbook. Instruct each student to draw a picture of herself in the frame and to list 10 character traits that describe who she is and what she is like. Encourage students to share their pages with each other and correct any spelling, mechanical, or grammar errors. Then, collect the pages and publish a Classroom Scrapbook, or create a bulletin board display titled “The Characters in Our Class.”
- Review each student's scrapbook to see if the avatars and written descriptions for each character are true to the book. If not, have the student return to the book and make changes as needed
- Check the "10 Things I Know About..." captions for correct spelling, grammar, and mechanics
- Review captions for students' use of vivid descriptions