Character Development

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This story was originally designed for 5th graders

  • Introduce the book Lion's Share: A Tale of Halving Cake and Eating it Too taking a minute to discuss the two idioms that are used in the title. (To take the lion's share is to take all, or almost all of something. Having your cake and eating it too usually means wanting more that is reasonable for you to have.)
  • Read the book, and take the time to enjoy some of the math in it.
  • Discuss with students how the author played with the idiom "The Lion's Share" He took the idiom and made it come true. Then pass out the flow map of the story and have them see how the events were layed out.
  • Point out that another fun thing the author did was develop great character, especially with the ant. Reread the book to the students, having them keep an eye out for those moments when the author really developed the ant's character. When you come to such a spot have students add a detail box to the flow map to show this deliberate chracter development. teacher's guide
  • Now challenge students to write a similar story.
  • Put the following three idioms on the board; When Pigs Fly, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, A Leopard Can't Change His Spots. Discuss their menaing with the class.
  • Tell them that you need a story idea for the class to share. Have them talk in table groups to come up with some ideas for one of the idioms. (Example: A husband and wife dog duo spent the whole day fighting over who buried their last bone and where it was. They exhausted themselves fighting and digging up the yard to look for it until they fell asleep under a tree. A squirrel who has been watching, wonders if he should go tell them that the cat stole it. The squirrel's mother tells him to just let them sleep because they are happy.)
  • As a class hear the best idea from each group and choose one favorite. Talk it out together and create a flow map on the board of the story idea. Each student should also copy the flow map on a blank piece of paper.
  • Then challenge the students to individually choose one character in the story they'd like to focus on. Have them add 3 detail boxes to their flow map with ideas of how to develop their character.
  • Check these flow maps before letting the children write. If their flow maps are a mess, their story will be a mess too.
  • Give the students time to write their stories.
  • When grading their stories, focus on how well they followed their flow map, and used good character development.
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