Character Traits in “Soaring Soren”
Students will identify the traits, motivations and feelings of a character in a story and describe how those contribute to the story.
Common Core Standard
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events
Three different color sticky notes (one set for each student)
A copy of “Soaring Soren: When French Bulldogs Fly” by Deborah Stevenson
Computer access to or print out of French Bulldog Information from www.akc.org
Introduction and Teacher Modeling
- Explain to the students (and write on the board) that every character in a story has three important things that describe them.
- The first is traits. A character’s traits mean what they look like and how they behave. Encourage students to explain how a character’s traits might influence events in a story. An example of a trait might be that a character is brave. This character’s bravery will be featured in the story and will affect the plot.
- The second important thing that describes a character is their motivations. Motivations mean what the character wants. A common motivation in children’s stories is friendship. The main character often wants to find (or keep) friends. Ask students, “How might a character’s motivations influence events in a story?”
- The third important thing that describes a character is their feelings. For instance, if a character feels hurt by a friend’s words/behavior, it will affect the way he or she behaves and the plot of the story. Ask students how they think feelings affect what happens in a story.
- Be sure to write these explanations clearly on the board so that they can be referred to later in the lesson.
- Give each student three different color sticky notes.
- Introduce the book “Soaring Soren: When French Bulldogs Fly” by Deborah Stevenson.
- Ask students to view the cover the book and consider who might be the main character in the story. Why do they believe that?
- Explain to the students that as you read, they should be making notes when they hear one of the three important things that describe a character. Remind them of the three important things: 1 (traits), 2 (motivations), or 3 (feelings).
- Every time they hear a trait of Soren described, (i.e. he is a French Bulldog) they write that detail on one colored sticky note.
- When they hear a motivation of Soren described, (i.e. he wants to win the agility championship) they write that detail on another colored sticky note.
- When they hear about feelings that Soren has, (i.e. he is sad when he cannot be a show dog) they write that detail the last colored sticky note.
- It might be helpful to place one color of each sticky note on the board and assign each color to be traits, motivation and feelings. Make sure this is in a central place so that students will not get mixed up as they work.
- Read the book aloud to the students. Be sure to pause when you come across traits, motivations and feelings so that students have ample time to jot them down. If you find that some students aren’t writing, stop and review so that all students copy down each trait, motivation and feeling.
- Post the drawing of Soren on the board or wall. If you have a document camera or Smart Board, it would be ideal to utilize that so that you may enlarge the drawing to be the size of the board.
- Invite students to come up to the board and post their “trait” sticky notes on the image of Soren.
- If you have the capability to project your computer screen to be visible for students, show them the details about the French Bulldog breed from the AKC website (http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/french-bulldog/). If you do not have the capability to project it, divide students into groups so that they may view the information on classroom computers while you read through it. If you do not have classroom computers, you can print the material from the site.
- Read through the description of a French Bulldog and ask students to volunteer ways that Soren is similar and ways he is different.
- Read through the traits that the students stuck to Soren. Ask students to describe ways that these traits affected the story. If they struggle, give them some examples. For instance, Soren was a big French Bulldog and was unable to be a show dog. This allowed him to try a different path, agility. For reference, refer back to the AKC French Bulldog traits. (i.e. Most French Bulldogs are not athletic, however Soren was very athletic. How did this affect the story?).
- Once all traits have been reviewed, invite students to post their “motivations” sticky notes on the image of Soren.
- Ask students to describe ways that Soren’s motivations affected the story. If they struggle, give them some examples. For instance, Soren wanted to make Deb happy so he worked hard to win the agility championship.
- Once all traits have been reviewed, invite students to post their “feelings” sticky notes on the image of Soren.
- Ask students to describe ways that Soren’s feelings affected the story. If they struggle, give them some examples. For instance, Soren felt excited to compete in the agility trial where he earned his championship. He didn’t want to sit down before beginning.
Review and Closing
- When all of the important things that describe a character have been reviewed, ask students to explain why these things are important in a story and how they might affect the story (i.e. they give the reader more detail, they help the reader relate to the character, etc.)
You can find other great resources for “Soaring Soren: When French Bulldogs Fly” at http://www.frogprincebooks.net/.
Additional standards based lesson plans, hands-on activities and professional development can be found on the AKC® Educator Resources page found here: http://www.akc.org/public-education/educator-resources/.