Student Party Planning to Creatively Analyze Book Characters

Oct 24, 2019

student party planning to creatively analyze book characters

For the past several years, Otis has been a well-loved name in our classroom.  If you have never met him, Otis is a kind-hearted, loving, red tractor that makes several new friends throughout the series.  I have written about this book throughout the years, as he has been used during theme and metacognition lessons within our classroom.  But this year proves to be just a little different.  Because this year...Otis turns 10!  And we are ready to celebrate.

One thing to note before we dive in.  The lesson being described can be used with any book or series. It is just important that the book being used provides a strong description of the character.

Strong character development is paramount to a good, engaging book.  As readers, we want to feel a connection with the characters we read about by either seeing ourselves in them, relating to them, or learning from them.  As teachers, we must model how to find or infer information about characters.

One way to work towards this goal, is to analyze people within the classroom.  Before reading the book.  Ask the students to describe you.  Using a web format on large chart paper or the whiteboard, record their answers.  They may provide some physical observations, they may supply characteristics, and they may even give some inaccurate information.  Once the web is complete, ask the following questions:
  • How are you similar to me?
  • How are you different?
  • How did you learn all this information about me?
  • What else do you hope to learn about me?
Then explain that good readers, ask these same questions about characters in books.  By making connections and asking questions about characters, we can better understand them.

Introduce the book of your choice (in this case, Otis), by asking the students what they can observe about the character on the front cover.  It would be beneficial to record these observations so that you can return to them later.
Some things they may notice: He is red.  He may be on a farm.  He has a kind smile.

As you read the text, stop frequently to ask your students the following questions and record their answers:
  • What do you notice about Otis?
  • What can you learn about Otis from these observations? 
student party planning to creatively analyze book characters

 For the Otis series, I find it beneficial to read the entire Otis series and build off these observations throughout the week.  By reading all the books, students should pick up on the fact that Otis is a very caring, kind-hearted friend.  He is loyal to his farm, owner, and the friends around him.

This year Otis turned 10 years old!  And we all know that children LOVE birthdays (my girls are planning their parties all.year.long!).  So it is only fitting that your students plan a birthday party for Otis using what they know about him.

 I think this activity may be challenging (in a good way) for our young students because they have to take what they have learned about Otis and apply it to a new situation--a birthday party.  I have watched my own children struggle with thinking outside themselves when it comes to birthday parties or present giving.  They want to think about what THEY like versus the person that the party or present is for.

To model this activity, refer back to the web that the students made about you.  Then display the party planning sheet:

student party planning to creatively analyze book characters

Ask your students to help you plan a party based on what they know about you.  Where would you like to have a party?  Who would you invite?  How would you decorate? What foods would you want to have there? What activities or games would you do at the party? 

Record their answers on the form.  If this is a struggle for the class, as a whole, you may want to model a couple more times using students in the classroom.

Once you feel that they understand how to use what they know about the character to plan a party, refer to the notes about Otis.  Tell the students that they will be planning a party for Otis' 10th birthday.  Remind them that they will need to use the information they know about Otis to plan a party that he would enjoy.

 Students can illustrate the party and justify their party planning using evidence from the text with these two additional sheets.  This can be modeled with the original planning sheet you created together about the birthday party they planned for you.  Why did they choose those guests?  Why would the character like those decorations?

student party planning to creatively analyze book characters

Now...if you would like to actually host a birthday party for Otis...that is completely up to you!!

student party planning to creatively analyze book charactersstudent party planning to creatively analyze book characters

Click on the images above to try this activity out.  I would love to hear how it goes!!  Feel free to come back and share your experience.  Please enter below for your chance to win $20 to Amazon.  Then click on the links below for more activities and more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

1 comment:

We love to hear from you! We will reply through email or in a comment above. Thank you!!