[This post was written way back in the middle of December and I am just now getting around to publishing it…sorry for the absence!]
I have finally made it to post #20! Yippee!
We are reading the book The Family Under the Bridge throughout the month of December. Because we usually take a break from our Harcourt stories this month, I wanted to make sure we were still covering comprehension skills, literary elements, and vocabulary.
After each chapter that we read, the students answer comprehension questions that I found on this website. Each student has a copy of the questions and they record their answers in their reading journal. In addition to the questions, they also must go through each chapter and find at least THREE vocabulary words whose meanings they may not know. Now, several of my students have great vocabulary, but there are some toughies in this book, so my kiddos have not really had trouble with this at all. I require them to write down the word and its definition after looking it up. At the end of the book, I will compile a list of all of their vocabulary words and we will study these as a class and take a short quiz on their definitions.
One literary element that is easy to discuss with this book is characterization. Armand, the main character, is the perfect character for this! We talked about why authors include so much information about certain characters. We looked at the main ways that authors reveal the personality of the characters – through words, thoughts, and actions.
I then split my kids into groups to dive further into this topic. Each group was given the task of creating a life size portrait of Armand…
All 4 groups traced a group member but added a little extra “flub” around the middle, because Armand is portrayed as a rather large hobo. They turned out GREAT! After sketching and illustrating their portrait of Armand, they had to find examples from the book that reveal his character through his thoughts, words, and actions (2 of each). They typed these up and glued them on their portrait – some were super clever and attached his thoughts in a thought bubble, his words in a speech bubble, and his actions near his hands or feet! They are so creative 🙂
Finally, they had to type a short summary of Armand’s character, bringing in what they learned from his thoughts, words, and actions.
Overall, I was really impressed with their work. They did a great job of finding examples and creating a summary.
There are so many good characters in the novels we read this year; I think I will continue this activity for others because they enjoyed it so much and learned from it as well!
*Now that we are done with the book, we looked back at their character descriptions and saw how much Armand changed throughout the story! It was neat to have the concrete evidence from the beginning right in front of us so we could really observe the changes in the protagonist*