Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Character Traits, Fact & Opinion, and Snowflake Bentley

Happy Tuesday, teacher friends! A few weeks ago we studied the life of Snowflake Bentley in second grade during our winter themed week. In reading, we learned all about William Bentley, the first man to photograph snowflakes, and in science, we studied the weather associated with winter (snow, ice, etc.). Using Snowflake Bentley was the perfect way to integrate literature and science and I used several activities from Susan Morrow’s unit throughout the week.

One of the things I’ve learned from working with students is that they LOVE finding out more about their teacher. I took this knowledge and used their curiosity to introduce the concepts of character traits and fact/opinion during our wintry week. We started out by discussing character traits. We discussed how authors use words, actions, feelings, etc. to give readers a better understanding of the characters. Character traits are the aspects of a person’s behavior and attitudes that make up that person’s personality. Everyone has character traits including characters in the books we read!

My goal for the lesson was that my students would be able to use the words and illustrations in Snowflake Bentley to identify William Bentley’s character traits. Before they worked to identify his character traits, I had them practice by identifying mine. I had four questions that they answered one at a time using post-it notes. They used their post-it notes to label me and we discussed what their answers taught us about my character traits.

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They loved this activity and I enjoyed see their responses to the questions. Plus, it gave them a clearer understanding of what to do when they transitioned to identifying William Bentley’s character traits. 


Labeling Character Traits

Later in the week, I introduced the concept of fact and opinion. My goal was that they would be able to identify the difference between a fact and opinion and that they would use that knowledge to identify facts about Snowflake Bentley. After a mini-lesson, I wanted to give them the chance to practice and have a little fun identifying facts and opinions. In order to do this, they all got their dry erase boards out to play “Facts and Opinions about Ms. Shepherd!” I had prepared a series of slides including various statements about me and their job was to determine whether each one was a fact or an opinion. Before we started, I reminded them that facts are something we can PROVE while opinions are just something that we think.

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As we went through each slide, I had them share reasons why they decided each statement was either
a fact or opinion. So fun to hear their conversations and reasons!

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My students really enjoyed this activity and getting to learn more about me through the statements and pictures. I heard comments like, “Ms. Shepherd, is that REALLY your mom? You look just like her!” and “Does your dog actually look like that? What’s her name?” I love when they are learning and don’t even realize it!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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