When introducing a new topic, it is always important to make that particular topic relevant to students. The same applies for introducing character traits to your class. Before you have students looking for evidence from the text, make character traits relevant.
One of the best ways to make character traits relevant to students is by having the students describe their own character traits. This will make applying character traits to characters within the text much easier.
There are several fun ways to do this.
Character Traits Mobile
Have students create the character trait mobile pictured using my free Character Traits Mobile Template. You can find this template on the Character Traits Page of my Members Area. Look for the red “free” next to the resource “Character Traits Mobile.”
This template requires students to choose several character traits that describe themselves and explain their reasoning.
To prevent students from describing themselves with boring character traits like “nice” and “smart,” I would usually display a Character Traits List that included a variety of interesting character traits. After discussing some of the words that might be unfamiliar to students, the students would choose character traits from that list to include on their mobile.
It’s amazing how honest students can be! I always expected them to only include positive character traits, but many students were aware of traits that they needed to work on and included words like “bossy,” “lazy,” and “messy” on their mobiles! Sometimes I would have these hanging in the classroom during Parent-Teacher conferences, and parents always got a kick out of reading how their children described themselves.
Character Trait Web
This one is extremely low prep, just requiring a piece of blank paper for each student and a Character Traits List to display to the class. Simply have students draw a picture of themselves in the center of the web and then list different character traits that describe themselves on lines that extend from the center of the web. There are a lot fun variations of this activity that I’ve found on Pinterest. For example, Mrs. Patton’s Class used a real picture of themselves and described both their “inside” and “outside” character traits.
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