Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mentor Monday (or Thursday Night..whatever)-Analyzing Characters

Due to my Spring Break hiatus, I am trying to catch up...but that's because I couldn't miss this Mentor Text Monday! I'm pretty sure there are a zillion books you could use for when teaching students to analyze characters. In 5th grade, my kids have to be able to identify character traits, relationships and conflicts...that includes noting how and why characters change. Well, I have used several books to teach and reteach and reteach this (because sometimes, it just doesn't stick or another example is even better!) Here are a few books I use for teaching character:

Julius Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
Not only is it hilarious, students can see how Lily goes from thinking her brother is "disgusting" to being fiercely protective of him. And of course, kids can make lots of connections to this book!Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Here is a summary: 
The main character in the picture book is a very lonely man, Mr. Hatch. The story begins with a description of Mr. Hatch's lonely daily life. He lives alone, barely knows or talks to anyone, works all day in a shoelace factory, buys a fresh turkey wing for supper each day, eats, takes a shower, and goes to bed. In his neighborhood and at work people say the same thing about Mr. Hatch, "He keeps to himself." Mr. Hatch's loneliness is illustrated with drab colors and by the way in which the artist depicts him: shoulders slumped, head down, manner subdued.
All of this changes when the postman brings Mr. Hatch a huge, heart shaped box of chocolates along with a card that says, "Somebody loves you." Mr. Hatch is so happy he does a little dance. Because he thinks he might meet his secret admirer, Mr. Hatch puts on a colorful tie and some old aftershave. He takes the box of chocolates to work to share. He even talks to Mr. Smith at his newspaper stand, notices he looks sick, and offers to watch the newsstand while Mr. Smith goes to the doctor's office. Mr. Hatch continues to talk to others, to help those in need, and to share with his neighbors. In fact, Mr. Hatch bakes brownies and holds an impromptu picnic for his neighbors at which he plays his old harmonica for them. His neighbors enjoy being with Mr. Hatch and like him very much. The more Mr. Hatch is friendly and kind to his neighbors, the more they reciprocate. When the postman tells Mr. Hatch that the candy had been delivered to his house by mistake and that he doesn't have a secret admirer, Mr. Hatch becomes withdrawn again. The postman tells the neighbors what has happened. The neighbors get together and throw a big surprise party for Mr. Hatch, complete with candy, a new harmonica, and a big sign that said, "Everybody loves Mr. Hatch."

This book is so sweet. It is great for character changes...and bonus! If you go to Storyline Online, it can be read to your students :) 

And last, but of course NOT least, I always always always use 
Yes, I use the Little Golden Book version, (I still have mine from when I was a kid) because it is short enough to read in one mini-lesson but I have several version to choose from. :)

For more info on how to use this timeless story, see this post!

Those are my go-to books for characters but there are sooo many more I love to use too! Can't wait to see what everyone else has been using! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Caitlin,
    All three of these books are excellent choices for analyzing characters. I just love Julius and Mr. Hatch. It's awesome that you are reading a book -that you saved from your childhood- to your students! What a great way to model how important reading is to you. :)
    Thanks for linking up. :) :)