Lesson Plan

Exploring the Relationship between Characters and Plot

Objectives

This lesson provides an introduction to identifying the relationship between character traits and plot. Students will:

  • differentiate physical characteristics and character traits.
  • identify the character traits of a character.
  • define the term plot.
  • explain the relationship between character traits and plot.

Essential Questions

How do strategic readers create meaning from informational and literary text?
What is this text really about?
  • How do strategic readers create meaning from informational and literary text?
  • What is this text really about?

Vocabulary

  • Physical Characteristics: The appearance of a character.
  • Character Traits: A character’s personality, values, and beliefs.
  • Plot: The structure of a story. The sequence in which the author arranges events in a story. The plot of a story includes a problem and solution.

Duration

90–135 minutes/2–3 class periods

Prerequisite Skills

Prerequisite Skills haven't been entered into the lesson plan.

Materials

  • animated version of “The Three Little Pigs” (optional)

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5hI9U19-m0

Related Unit and Lesson Plans

Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • animated version of “The Three Little Pigs” (optional)

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5hI9U19-m0

Formative Assessment

  • View
    • The goal of this lesson is to explore the connection between character traits and plot. Use the following checklist to assess students’ progress:
      • Student can distinguish between character traits and physical characteristics.
      • Student can compare the character traits of main characters in a text.
      • Student can explain the relationship between character traits and plot by determining how a plot changes based on a change in a character’s traits.

Suggested Instructional Supports

  • View
    Scaffolding, Explicit Instruction
    W: Help students identify character traits and explore the connection between character traits and the plot of a story. 
    H: Engage students by having them act out or view an animated version of “The Three Little Pigs.” 
    E: Have students compare two versions of the same story to investigate how a change in character traits changes the plot of a story. Then have them apply their understandings by predicting how the plot of another story might change if the characters had different traits. 
    R: Allow students to work in small groups to discuss their answers and ideas about the character traits of the characters in a story and the connection to the plot. Encourage students to re-evaluate their answers based on the discussions. 
    E: Have students apply what they have learned about the connection between character traits and plot by writing a story in which the character traits of the main characters are connected to the plot. 
    T: Provide a variety of materials to enable students to demonstrate understanding at their conceptual levels. 
    O: The learning activities in this lesson provide for large-group instruction and discussion, small-group exploration, partner interaction, and individual application of the concepts. 

Instructional Procedures

  • View

    Focus Question: What is the relationship between character traits and the plot of a story?

    Ask volunteers to act out the story of “The Three Little Pigs” or have students watch an animated version of the story such as the one suggested in Materials. Then have the class identify the characters (three pigs, wolf) and the setting (long ago, in a woodland).

    Ask, “What is the plot of a story?” Guide students to define plot as the sequence of events in a story. Write the definition on the board/interactive whiteboard. Then have students recall the plot of “The Three Little Pigs” and list the events in sequence.

    Part 1

    Review the term physical characteristics and ask students to give examples of the physical characteristics of the wolf and the three little pigs in the story. (The wolf is big and hairy. He has a gruff voice. The pigs are small and cute.)

    Write the term character traits on the board/interactive whiteboard. Say, Character traits are different from physical characteristics. Character traits are a character’s personality, values, or beliefs. We discover character traits through a character’s actions.”

    Ask, “What are some character traits of the wolf in the story?” (mean, scary) “What evidence from the story reveals the character traits of the wolf?” (He demands to be let into the pigs’ houses. He blows down two of the pigs’ houses.) “What are some character traits of the pigs?” (resourceful, clever) “What evidence from the story reveals their character traits?” (They use materials from the forest to build their houses. The last pig is clever because he uses bricks. They do not let the wolf in. The last pig saves his brothers. They make the wolf go away.)

    Read aloud The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.

    Distribute a T-chart (L-3-3-2_T-Chart.doc) to each student. Have students complete the T-chart about the character traits and physical characteristics of the wolf and the pigs in Jon Scieszka’s version of the Three Little Pigs story. Then have students discuss their T-charts in small groups. Encourage students to decide whether they have their ideas in the correct category and to make changes if necessary.

    Part 2

    Say, “The plot of a story involves a problem and a solution. What is the problem in the original story of the three little pigs?” (The wolf wants to get into the pigs’ houses, but they will not let him in.) “What is the solution to the problem?” (The pigs use a pot of boiling soup to drive the wolf away.)

    Remind students of the character traits of the wolf and the pigs in the original story. Discuss how the character traits are related to the plot of the story.

    Ask, “What is the problem in Jon Scieszka’s version of the story?” (The kind wolf wants to borrow a cup of sugar from the pigs, but he accidently blows down their houses by sneezing and eats the pigs.) “What is the solution to the problem?” (The third pig has the wolf arrested and sent to jail.)

    Discuss how the character traits of the wolf and the pigs change the plot in Jon Scieszka’s version of the story.

    Part 3

    Read aloud My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. Distribute the Character Comparison Worksheets (L-3-3-2_Character Comparison.doc) and ask students to compare the character traits of the main characters in the story—Richard and his sister Patricia.

    Observe students to make sure they are using character traits, not physical characteristics, in their charts. Make anecdotal notes about students’ understanding of character traits.

    Then have students work in small groups to answer the questions on the worksheet. Have students discuss their answers in small groups and then share with the class.

    Extension:

    • Students who are ready to move beyond the standard may read “The Tortoise and the Hare” (see Related Resources) or another one of Aesop’s fables that includes two main characters. Have students complete the Character Comparison Worksheet and answer the questions related to plot.
    • If students need additional practice, provide copies of the character traits and plot worksheet (L-3-3-2_Character Traits and Plot.docx). Model the task by reviewing the story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Have students identify character traits of Goldilocks that are important to the plot of the story. (curiosity, rudeness) Discuss how each character trait influences the plot of the story. (Because Goldilocks is curious, she goes inside the house of the three bears. Because she is rude, she eats baby bear’s food and sleeps in his bed.) Have students read other stories and fill in examples on the worksheet.

Related Instructional Videos

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Instructional videos haven't been assigned to the lesson plan.
Final 06/14/2013
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