When teaching character traits in the primary grades, it can be difficult for students to grasp the traits the character has. Many of the mentor texts we use for teaching character traits do not flat-out tell our students, “this character is bossy, this character is humble,” etc. Also, there are so many different traits a character can have- both negative and positive- that we need to teach our students. Keep reading to find out some tips for teaching character traits to your primary students.
Blog Posts For Teaching Main Character and Character Traits:
1. Introduce The Vocabulary
When teaching character traits, it’s important students know exactly what that means. So, what are character traits? They are the different qualities a character has, such as behavior, thoughts, and feelings. When determining a character’s traits, we need to think about how the character is acting/behaving, what the character is saying and thinking, and how the character feels. This will help us figure out what their traits are.
2. Use Anchor Charts
Anchor charts are very helpful when thinking of character traits. We can list multiple character traits to help students brainstorm and think about the character. You can grab these charts for free to use in your classroom!
Click above to receive 3 FREE charts to use when teaching character traits! Plus, you’ll get small ones that are the perfect size for student book boxes and bookmarks for students to use as well!
3. Model With Mentor Texts
Using mentor texts to model your thinking about characters is helpful. I typically start with fiction picture books, but using fairy tales and non-fiction books with real people is important as well.
Here are my favorite ones to use:
4. Model With Your Students
Use post-its for students to label different character traits you and their peers have! To start, give each student a post-it note for them to write a character trait about you. Then, they will stick it to you. Carefully take off each one and read the traits to the class. This is sure to get some giggles and they will remember this activity all year!
Afterward, students can do this activity with one another. You can put them in pairs or groups of students. Some students may not want to have traits written about them and that’s okay too!
5. Character Trait Collages
Provide magazines, newspapers, and art supplies. Ask students to find pictures of people or characters who exhibit specific character traits (e.g., a picture of someone helping others for “helpful”). Then, have them create collages with these images, labeling each one with the corresponding trait. This hands-on activity combines creativity with character trait identification.
Encourage students to participate in role-playing activities where they act out scenarios demonstrating different character traits. You can provide scenarios like resolving conflicts peacefully to illustrate “peaceful” or helping a friend with their homework to illustrate “helpful.” This interactive approach allows children to experience and understand character traits in action.
7. Character Trait of the Day
Select a character trait to focus on each day or week. Display it prominently in the classroom and discuss its meaning with the students. Throughout the day, encourage students to share examples of when they or their classmates exhibited the chosen trait. Recognize and praise students for demonstrating the trait. This daily reinforcement helps reinforce the concept of character traits.
Different Traits To Use For Character Trait of the Day:
8. Use Our Main Character & Character Traits Reading Unit
Want to save time planning and plan your main character unit in a snap? Check out our full comprehensive reading unit for everything you need to teach main character and character traits!
9. Download Your Free Teaching Character Traits Poster
Make sure to click here to download your free character traits posters and bookmarks. Displaying these in the classroom will help your students identify different character traits. Plus, there’s small charts that are PERFECT for student book boxes!