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Observation One: Character Change Read-Aloud

Name: Sarah Thomas

Date and time of the lesson: October 20, 2016, 11:15am
School: P.S. 130
Grade: 4th
Cooperating teacher: Stefanie Chow
Room number: 408
Content area: ELA
Central Focus/Essential Question
Central Focus: students will be able to recognize and describe character change and the causes of
character change in literature. Using the mentor text Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman, students
will answer the essential question: how does the character of Grace change over the course of the
story and what causes this change?
Goal of Lesson
In this literacy lesson, 4th grade students will learn about character change through a read aloud of
a fiction mentor text and the completion of a graphic organizer, led by the teacher candidate. This
lesson will help students develop their ability to analyze texts and use evidence from text to
support their analysis, a critical literacy strategy. By the end of this lesson, it is the teacher
candidates hope that students will be able to analyze how characters change in a text and identify
the cause of this change. The lesson should prepare them to use this strategy on their own using a
different text from the one studied in class.
Common Core Standards (Standard 2.1, 2.8)
CCSS. RL.4.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says
explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS. RL.4.3: Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing
on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
CCSS.SL.4.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in
groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on
others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
CCSS. SL.4.2: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse
media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Prior Knowledge/ Key Misconceptions
Beginning in first grade, students learn to analyze characters: their traits, thoughts, and feelings.
As students progress in school, they learn to dig further below the surface. For example, over the
past few weeks, class 4-408 has been learning about character motivation and how one characters
actions can affect other characters. This work analyzing characters motivation will help scaffold
students learning of character change, and how it is affected by story elements such as problem,
setting, or other characters. They have begun to touch on the concept of character change in their
individual writing of personal narrative as well. Mentor texts in that genre that show character
change have been read and provided to them, although the use of those texts have been more
focused on story structure and the idea of exploring a small moment in writing. Therefore, the
students in this class do have some familiarity with the concept of character change but have not
studied it in depth. Based on my experience working with small groups of students, I think that
most of the class will understand the concept through whole group instruction, but may struggle
applying it in independent practice.

Materials & Resources (Standard 3.1)

Teacher copy of Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman
Student typed copies of Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman
Graphic organizer (see end of this lesson plan for sample)
Document camera
Lesson Development (Standard 3.1, 3.3) This should be the main section of your lesson plan.
1. Introducing The Lesson
I will introduce the topic of the lesson and tell the class that in many good works of literature, the
character goes through a change or has a realization and is different at the end of the story than she
was at the beginning. I will instruct students to turn and talk about a book theyve read where a
character changes and explain how they changed. Students will then share out with the rest of the
class. As they share, I will ask them what caused the characters to change? I will also ask them
why they think authors choose to have characters go through changes. I will then tell them that
today we are going to analyze character change in a book called Boundless Grace. This book is
about a little girl named Grace who lives with her mother and grandmother. Her parents divorced
and her father now lives back in Africa with his new wife and two children. Grace yearns for a
normal family with two parents and a younger sibling. She goes to visit her father and his new
family in Africa and feels jealous and angry towards his fathers new wife. However, as Grace
spends more time in Africa, she comes to love and accept her new family, agreeing with her
grandmothers earlier statement that, families are what you make of them. Note: I will not give
this description to the class but have provided it here for context. After introducing the book I will
show the graphic organizer and explain that we will use this to keep track of how the main
character Grace changes. We will write down what she is like at the beginning and end of the story
and what caused her to change.
2. Read Aloud
The first part of the book describes Graces desire to have a conventional family and the jealousy
she feels towards her fathers new wife in Africa when she visits them. I will read this first part of
the book to the students, stopping to ask questions to engage them. After I read the first part, we
will fill out the first box of the graphic organizer: What is the character like at the beginning of the
story? (note: at the end of this lesson plan is a graphic organizer that I have filled out with what I
hope to generate from the students). Below are excerpts from the text that illustrate Graces
feelings and attitude at the beginning of the story:
Page 1-2: I must have told you a hundred times about how we split up, and your papa
went back to Africa. He has another family now, but hes still your father, even though he
doesnt live with us anymore. Well that wasnt Graces idea of a father! She wanted one
like Beautys, who brought her roses from the garden in spite of danger. Not one she hadnt
seen since she was very little and only knew from letters and photographs. After reading
this, I will ask if students think this information about Graces father is important and why
or why not.
Page 3, Grace says: Our familys not rightWe need a father and a brother and a dog.
On page 5, Grace says: I wonder if Papa will still love me? He has other children now and
in stories its always the youngest that is the favorite.
Page 7: And when they reached her fathers compound, there was the biggest difference
of all. A pretty young woman with a little girl and a baby boy came to meet them. Grace
said hello but couldnt manage another word all evening. Everyone thought she was just

tired. Except Nana. Stop and ask: why do you think Grace is being so quiet?
Page 9: But she [Grace] had to feel cross with someone. Grace knew lots of stories about
wicked stepmothersso she decided to be cross with Jatou. I wont clean the house for
her, thought Grace. I wont eat anything she cooks, and I wont let her take me into the
forest. Ask: why does Grace have to feel cross about someone? Why wont she eat Jatous
food or help her?
Page 11: will you promise to try to be nice to Jatou? Youre both very important to me,
said Papa This is the turning point of the story and at this point I will stop reading and
work on filling out the graphic organizer with the class. I will ask the students how they
would describe Grace. What is the problem she is experiencing? How does she feel? I will
record this on the graphic organizer. After we fill out the graphic organizer, I will ask the
class to make a prediction of what they think might happen and how Grace will change. I
will have them turn and talk and then do a group share.
I will then read the rest of the book, which describes how Grace comes to enjoy being with her
new family and realizes that families are what you make them. This is an important point in
the book that is mentioned at the beginning as well and I will ask the class what they think that
means. I will facilitate a discussion with the class about how Grace is different at the end of the
story and record it on the graphic organizer. After we have discussed and written about how
Grace changed, we will discuss the middle box of the graphic organizer: whats the event that
causes the character to change?
3. Closing:
I will distribute a simple exit ticket to the students:
Provide an example of character change from your independent reading. What was the change and
what caused it?
Differentiated Instruction (Standard 3.2)
In addition to reading the text aloud to the class, each student will have a typed copy of the story
in front of them. This will allow students to easily look back at the text when questions are posed.
I have also built in several turn and talks, which are important for ELL students (this class has one
ELL and two former ELLs) and also good for the students in the class who have focus issues.
Assessment (Standard 4)
Students will be assessed based on their responses during whole class discussions and turn and
talks, as well as the exit ticket.


Character Change Exit Ticket

Provide an example of character change from your independent reading.
What was the change and what caused it?