Character Traits

Sunday, November 3, 2013

     Grades 1-5 are all in the midst of a character unit in Reading Workshop.  This week, I thought I might focus a bit on what a character trait is.  According to,
character traits are "all the aspects of a person’s behavior and attitudes that make up that person’s personality. Everyone has character traits, both good and bad. Even characters in books have character traits. Character traits are often shown with descriptive adjectives, like patient, unfaithful, or jealous."
They have a nice post that analyzes them a bit. 

     If you think about character traits and feelings like the weather in Chicago, it can be a helpful metaphor.  Around here, the day can start sunny, turn into a cloudy, rainy day, and then end with snow.   Those are all examples of a character's feelings.  They change like the wind (quite literally, in this metaphor).  Character traits are more like the climate.  The general type of weather we have in the winter last for a long time.  That is more like a character trait.  Traits don't change nearly as often as feelings, just like climate doesn't change as often as the weather.

    This teacher does a nice job explaining how she teaches character traits, with the common core in mind, in third grade. I especially like the scaffolding she does with her kids.  She has them start with just finding examples of a single trait in their reading.  Then, she moves on to finding support in the text to show the trait using her read alouds first, before releasing it to the kids independently.  They even think about their own traits in the process!  This is hard work.  Giving the kids scaffolded release will really help them become more independent.

     Here is a pinterest board on both character traits and feelings.  Really, they are both lessons on inferring.  Inferring feelings AND character traits are important.  It is just helpful for the kids to know the difference.  There are some good ideas to help with this on the board.

     Have fun exploring character in your classroom!  It will really boost the level of the conversations you have with the kids when they take the time to really understand character traits.


  1. I think your comparison to Chicago's weather is awesome! Great metaphor to teach our students.