In Search of Character
The students in 5A have begun their second round of “Book Clubs” which have proven to be very rewarding for the learners. All of the novels the learners are reading, analyzing, and discussing are related to WWII which supports our upcoming Social Studies unit “Peace and Conflict.” In preparation for reading these novels about an extremely complicated subject with complex characters, we have been discussing character traits and how we understand the personality of a character as we read.
We read two wonderful picture books, My Ol’ Man by Patricia Polacco, and Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges. As we read them, we were in search of actions, speech, and thoughts of the main characters in order to discover or uncover the traits that define their personalities. It sometimes seems obvious that a character is constructive or selfish, but as we probe deeper, while seeking evidence from the text, the complicated layers of a character emerge.
The students are applying this strategy during independent reading as they each prepare for their book club meeting. When the students meet, they share their ideas with the evidence from the text and evaluate the characters. Through their discussions, it is clear that the students are utilizing this higher level skill. Hopefully, each reader learns about him or herself through this process.
The group reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry examined a Nazi soldier’s actions and words toward three young children and discovered that even though he was following orders from his government, his kindness toward the children was evident.
Another group of students reading Hiroshima by Laurence Yep is beginning to analyze the pilots who followed orders from their government and how they each faced a difficult internal dilemma.
Through the conversations about a character’s choices, the learners are becoming more aware of the complexity of our world. They are realizing that the decisions we each make and the actions we take have far-reaching impacts.
According to Confucius, “When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis