Character Challenges and Fall!

This post definitely has two parts - first will be the "here's what I did last week but somehow I never got around to sharing it with you" part....
and then will come the "here's what I'm doing this week that if I don't show you now I may not have another chance" part.
So here we go!
Last week we finished up our focus on how characters respond to challenges.  We read lots of books with an "It's ok to be different" theme and focused on how each character handled their differences.  Between Molly Lou Melon, Freckleface Strawberry, Big Al and Chrysanthemum, we had quite varied ways those characters dealt with the fact they were different.
We kept track of our thoughts on this chart:
It looked much cuter when it had images from all the books we had read, but I can't share those with you because of a little thing called copyright law.... so you can add in your own.
For each book we read, we completed this chart:

 After a few days, my kiddos were seeing BIG differences in the way characters approached a challenge - and were beginning to use character traits to explain themselves.  We're still working on that.  They're great at saying a character was funny, or brave.... but they don't always choose the traits that explain how they respond to challenges...
I did a quick informal assessment by reading a final book to them - Elmer, by David McKee.  Then they had to complete the chart independently... ok, sort of independently... we went step by step through each part, but THEY had to come up with the ideas themselves.  It was a quick way to see who was getting the idea and who still needed more opportunity. 
You can download the charts for yourself by clicking on the images to go to Google docs.

Now on to Part 2!  I am really looking forward to our fall theme for the next six weeks.  Yes, I know... I'm a little late to the party, but here in CT fall is really just getting started.  The trees are peaking in their color and we've had a few crisp days.... we've also had a few 70 degree days which makes it hard to wear my fall boots and pants... but you gotta go with it!  We can do fall all the way through November. 

I'm doing a common core "seasons" unit, but with a major focus on fall.  I'm sorry people, but I just CANNOT do winter books in the fall... nope, sorry, I tried... doesn't work.  So, we'll talk about different seasons, but use fall as a jumping off point. 

This week we're starting with a fun Henry and Mudge story
I like this one as our introduction because it is readable for all my kiddos and it is VERY OBVIOUS that it takes place in the fall.  We'll talk about setting as our focus.... what information do they get from the text... from the pictures.. that tells us the setting.  How would the story change if the setting was different?  My mind goes off..... and while I was googling to find a picture of the book to use in my post I also found some great ideas for the book.... no wonder I don't get anything done...

Anywhooo.... I also spent a ton of time this weekend finalizing my fall activities bundle for TpT.
It is filled with math, language arts and writing activities with a fall theme - of course!  But rather than just be simple skill practice, I tried to include activities that extended to have some application - tasks that require students to DO something with the skill.  Check it out and see what you think!
You can get the math or the ELA activities separately, but the writing is only available with the bundle.  You can click on any of the images above to got my TpT store... or click here.
And to celebrate the start of fall in my classroom, I'll give away one set of my "Falling Into Autumn" bundle (math, ELA and writing) to someone who leaves a comment below.  I'm always looking for new fall books to add to my collection - fiction and nonfiction, so leave me a comment about a favorite fall book of yours.  I'll have my niece choose a random number Friday night.  Don't forget to leave me your email so I can send you the file if you win!
Happy fall!   Note: Congratulations, Karen!  Your fall activities are on the way :-) ~ Lisa

1 comment

  1. I just discovered "Harvest Moon" by Ralph Fletcher. What word choice and writer's craft lessons can come from this book. And it's beautiful just to listen to and enjoy.


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