Each year, in fifth grade, we teach a character unit in reading workshop and I love it because it really teaches students how to grow ideas about their characters. In the past, I usually only taught two mini-lessons on character impact and how events and secondary characters impact the main character.
This year, I chose to teach four different mini-lessons and focused on: How Events Impact Characters; How Decisions Impact Characters; How Words Impact Characters; and How Relationships Impact Characters (see charts below that were created in each mini-lesson). This instructional decision had a positive impact on my students as readers and lifted the level of their thinking and understanding for how many different factors impact our characters and cause them to act or feel a certain way.
After teaching these mini-lessons on character impact, I pushed my students' thinking even further and had them think about how we can apply these same lessons to our lives. Since we have been talking a lot about fixed mindset, growth mindset, and respectful language in our classroom this year, the students immediately made the connection to how events, words, decisions, and people impact us in positive or negative ways. This led to a powerful conversation about the power of words and actions and how someone else's words and actions can impact us. The time spent teaching this string of mini-lessons on character impact was powerful and lifted the level of thinking in my students as readers, learners, and individuals!