This lesson which deals with the central conflict in the story, the conflict between good and evil, is on the surface about making comparisons.
- Chart paper
- a copy of Redwall by Brian Jacques
- A chart for each child (PDF document)
Set Up and Prepare
Write Characters at the top of the chart and divide vertically into two columns, one that says Good and the other Evil. Later on we add a third column in the middle entitled Not Sure. The characters in this book are many different species so I have symbols to denote species. I also have stars for main characters and small circles for those characters that die.
As we read the book I stop every time I get to a new name and talk with the class about where we should add that character and her/his species. After a week or so the children stop me and say, "We don't have Constance and Winifred on our list." As I write up the names, the students record the names on their personal lists which they keep in a little folder that is just for Redwall.
Supporting All Learners
One fabulous thing about read-aloud books is they level the playing field. Even non-readers listen and are part of the discussion. So read-aloud books like Redwall are for all students regardless of reading skills. In fact some of the non-readers are more perceptive about social nuances in characters than their more-able classmates.
What I find is that students begin to keep lists of good and evil characters in the books they are reading. On little scraps of paper they record the names of characters and proudly show me what they have written.
The official Redwall website. There is even a fan club kids can join. Lots of pictures and information about the many characters in this book.
We have wonderful discussions about the attributes of characters and whether or not they are good or evil. We talk about the characteristics of various characters, their motivations, and the author's purpose in including them in the book. These are grown-up conversations for second graders.