I don’t know about your students, but mine seem fascinated by the changes characters can go through in a story! We have been having some great discussions about this. I use that roller coaster visual to help them “see” the changes and it really helps.
We started off with Finklehopper Frog- great story about a frog wanting to fit in with his friends, but he gets made fun of and feels left out. I always love those moments when my students react the way they do when a character is mistreated in a story. They are so empathetic and look as if it almost hurts THEM when the character gets their feelings hurt. LOVE that!
We stop part way through the story and brainstorm some character trait words. I do a lot of talking about Dollar Words and Penny Words in my classes. I teach the students to be mindful of word choices. Again, the visuals truly help- dollar vs penny.
It is funny how quickly the students realize when they use a penny word and want to switch it out for a dollar word! They also like coming up with new dollar words that we haven’t used. Great for their writing and vocabulary development too!
After we constructed our character changes anchor chart together, we were ready to do a little more independent work on our own. Chrysanthemum follows the same pattern of character changes that Finklehopper Frog does, so we tackled this one next.
I had the students fill in the visual roller coaster first. Then they went back and used that visual chart to help them prove the evidence. Being able to provide evidence is a huge step! The students inferring and deeper understanding is amazing. They surprised me at how some of the understood that when Chrysanthemum went home, her parents tried to push her up the coaster hill with their encouraging words and actions, but each time she went back to school and was made fun of, Chrysanthemum would slide back down into that valley. They totally understood that back and forth until there was a change at school with the other characters’ behavior!
You can grab a chart like these by clicking here or on either of the two above pictures if you are also working on character changes. Hope your kids love it like mine have!
Story Retelling Puzzles-Includes recording sheets