Read the story to the children. Review the Character Map. Discuss using illustrations and text to help fill in the maps. We have found it helpful to have a list of personality traits which have been generated by the children posted in the classroom. As the year progresses, add to the list. You may also like to add the title of the story and name of the character that the trait reflects… this makes it a nice way to reference back to previous stories that the students are already familiar. It is important to discuss WHY you choose certain personality traits to describe characters.
Page 7— “Yahoo!” I yelled.
Page 8— I pulled on my red and white shirt, the one that says GO TEAM GO, and ran outside to the field. Model how this would look… with enthusiasm!
Page 19— But I said, “Our team is the best.”
Page 31— “Where are you going?” I grabbed the bat. “Some kids are playing ball. I think I’ll hit a few.”
Page 16— We played every day. I tried hard but the ball came fast.
Page 21— “Let me go next,” I said. “I can do that, too.”
Page 28-29— “How about a little practice?” he asked. We went into the yard. My father threw me some balls. I missed the first one… I missed the second. And then… I opened my eyes and swung. Crack went the ball. Discuss how even though it was difficult for him, Ronald Morgan did not give up — he kept practicing. He was determined!
Page 9— Michael was up first. He smacked the ball with the bat. “Great, Slugger!” I yelled. “We’ll win every game.”
Page 25— Michael said, “We need you. You have spirit. You help the team feel good.”
Page 30— “Hey, I did it!”
Page 32— I looked back. “And you know what else? I guess I’ll stay on the team. I have spirit… and sometimes I can hit the ball. Mike was right. I think they need me.”
With the class, or with partners, complete the Character Map. On chart paper, write a short paragraph on Ronald Morgan with the class using the map and checking off as you go along. Another idea is to give the children a copy of the completed map generated on Ronald before writing the paragraph so that as each sentence is written, the students check off the item on their individual maps. As always, numbering the categories is helpful for the students as they begin writing character descriptions.
Here is a sample paragraph from a group of students participating in an intervention group in Grade 2:
Ronald Morgan is a 7-year-old male. He has black hair and dark eyes. Ronald wears glasses. He is thin and has rosy cheeks. Ronald is enthusiastic. He ran out to the field and shouted, “Our team is the best!” He is determined. He never gave up on trying to play baseball and kept practicing. Ronald Morgan is a positive person. Ronald likes being at school, his friends, and playing baseball. He does not like striking out!
Notice in the sample above how the teacher has guided the students into giving reasons why certain character traits are chosen and these are included in the completed class paragraph. Since you know your students best, you must determine which skills to emphasize.
Maryellen Rooney Moreau
Maryellen Rooney Moreau, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is the founder of MindWing Concepts. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders at University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, and a Masters of Education in Communication Disorders at Pennsylvania State University. Her forty-year professional career includes school-based SLP, college professor, diagnostician, and Coordinator of Intervention Curriculum and Professional Development for children with language learning disabilities. She designed the Story Grammar Marker® and has been awarded two United States Patents. She has written more than 15 publications and developed more than 60 hands-on tools based on the SGM® methodology. Maryellen was awarded the 2014 Alice H. Garside Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Dyslexia Association, Massachusetts Branch.