I love teaching character traits! I think it's because, as an ELL teacher, I get to introduce new, advanced vocabulary to my students and watch them soak it in. Then, when one of my kiddos uses one of the more advanced words correctly in a sentence, it's so rewarding!
That being said, character traits can be VERY challenging for ELL students (and many non-ELLs). Character traits are rather abstract, and if left isolated, they are meaningless to students. Furthermore, as students advance through the grade levels, we want them to use more varied vocabulary than just "nice", "mean", and "bossy".
I try to teach these words in several different ways... two of which I want to share with you today. First, I use word associations on an anchor chart using antonyms. One of the reasons I like this anchor chart is that it covers two ELA concepts: character traits and antonyms.
I carefully chose the words above, most of the time pairing a well-known word, like "kind", with a more advanced word like "arrogant". Clearly, teachers need to provide a detailed explanation to completely define the word, but now students can at least refer to the chart and recall that "arrogant" is the opposite of kind, and that it is a rather negative word that is used to describe a person who is not kind.
The second activity I want to share is a follow-up activity to introducing the anchor chart, and students LOVE it! After all the words have been defined, I split the students into four groups, and give them a set of papers (included in the download below).
The complete set contains all of the words from the anchor chart. Students divide the papers and work together to complete a collaborative book. Students look at the word written beneath the face outline, and think of something a character with that trait might say. They write the sentences in the speech bubbles. Then, students determine the expression that would probably be on the face of the character and draw it.
When these books are completed, students are SO PROUD!! They eagerly share their books with their classmates, and everyone enjoys seeing how their thought bubble sentences differ. We put the completed books in the classroom library, and students can refer to them when they need help recalling the meaning of a word on the anchor chart.
If you think you want to try this lesson with your students, here is the FREEBIE!!
If you are looking for additional character trait activities, check out my TpT store. The image below shows my bundle, but all of these products can be purchased individually, as well.