- Generate a list of traits that facilitate success. (tolerance, respect, integrity, etc.)
- Identify the traits portrayed by characters in literature.
- Various picture books where characters demonstrate traits of success
- Photocopied covers of the literature
- Chart paper
- Writing journals
Set Up and Prepare
- Mount the photocopied book covers on poster paper.
- Select books to read with the class and for small group work.
Step 1: Write the objectives on the board and share them with the students. Next, write the following question on the board: What do successful people do? Tell the students that in order to begin generating a list of traits that successful people possess, we need to think about successful people and what they do. Give students 1 minute of think time.
Step 2: Direct students to answer the question “What do successful people do?” in their journals as a quick write (brainstorm, list, or other writing that does not concern itself with spelling/grammar).
Step 3: Have students share with a partner. As students share, walk around and record ideas you hear that you want to share with the entire class.
Step 4: Record student ideas on a chart paper that you label: What do successful people do? You can add some of your own ideas to the list as well.
Step 5: Communicate clearly the purpose of the reading: Students are to listen and identify traits that help Grace be successful. Read Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.
Step 6: Create a web on chart paper (Remember that you have mounted a photocopy of the cover on the chart paper). In the center of the web write the character’s name. Create stems off of the center that name the traits identified by the students that helped Grace achieve success. Provide evidence from the story to justify each trait and how it helped Grace. Model at least one of the stems for the students:
Grace-creativity-she acted out stories she heard
Grace-enthusiasm-she was excited about stories and learning new things
Grace-confidence-she had the courage to try out for Peter Pan when others told her she couldn’t
Step 7: Arrange students into cooperative groups (3 student groups work well for this activity). Give each group a book to read and the corresponding chart paper. Have students repeat the activity with new literature. If you use cooperative group roles- timekeeper, writer, and readers work well
Step 8: Have students post the chart paper on the wall and share traits. Review the objective with the students. Discuss: Did we meet our goals? How did we do it?
Step 9: Repeat steps 7 and 8 with other books until you have generated many traits of success.
Step 10: Compile the traits generated by the students into a master list (also on chart paper). Bridge to the next lesson: Have students start thinking about which trait they think is most important.
Supporting All Learners
English Language Learners may need a small group lesson on character traits. This could include a small list that you generated beforehand and explicit instruction on what those traits mean.
Students who struggle with reading can be paired with more successful readers or given an audio version of the text. These students can also be supported through small group guidance from the teacher.
Written Response to Text
Grace displayed many traits of success.
- Which trait do you think helped her the most?
- How did it help her? Provide evidence from the text to support your answer.
Connection to Self
Add to the brainstorm list traits that are demonstrated by the students during school day.
Students can retell the story to someone at home. Together they can discuss ways that the student is alike Grace and ways they are different from her.
In groups, students create lists of character traits that foster success.
- Did the students have a clear enough understanding of successful traits in order to complete the task in groups?
- Did you model clearly enough for the students to complete the task in cooperative groups?
- Were the books you chose appropriate in level and content?
- Were the characters in the books representative of the students in your classroom?
- Did you brainstorm enough ideas together?
- How would you change this lesson the next time you taught it?
Take anecdotal records on what was shared during the small groups. Make special note of any successful traits you observe the students using during the cooperative group work.