We are gearing up to begin our Civil Right Unit. In preparation, the classroom teachers are reading The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine.
Our experience using this book last year was a valuable in many ways. You can read what my 4th graders learned during a visit with Kristin Levine.
You can listen to my students talk about the book.
You can read this student's review:
Now, for this year's new addition to the project:
A student's response from last year led us in a new direction of focusing on character traits.
"I learned how to describe characters without saying or writing how they look. This is useful because there is no "right" or "wrong" of how characters look, (for readers) but you still know what personalities they have. I learned how to do this because the author of "Lions of Little Rock" wrote that in her second book. The character Marlee describes other characters as beverages. I can't wait to use this in my writing!"
Using a Google Form, the students in this 4th grade class each shared one word to describe Liz and one word to describe Marlee.
Using Wordle, it's easy to see which trait was most commonly used to describe each of these girls. I think it would be interesting to repeat this task after finishing the book, or near the end to see if and how the students' perceptions or understandings of the girls changes.
The second new aspect involved having the students think about their own character traits. As Kristin Levine does in The Lions of Little Rock, the students described themselves as a beverage and then brainstormed different character traits that described them.
They created a Tagxedo of their beverage:
They then used Wordle and brainstormed character traits/
beverage descriptions for themselves: