Character and Motivation

Thursday, September 19th, Mariposas from 4th grade to high school gathered for our first writing session. As you can see from the picture above, enthusiasm and cheer were high as we began to examine character traits and motivation in our first writing session.

In opening, students described cited what they thought of as their best character trait. They set the mood with rich, reflective answers like loyalty, kindness and imagination.

Then we turned to examining character traits and motivation (what a character wants more than anything) in Yuyi Morales’ Dreamers which won the 2019 Pura Belpre Illustrator Award. This picture book memoir tells of Morales’ entry with her young son into the United States “unable to understand and afraid to speak” until they discovered libraries “where we didn’t need to speak, we only needed to trust.”

Co-teaching with Jose Nambo was full of playfulness and interplay as we analyzed the character and motivation with Story Skeleton. The main character, I/Yuyi “headed” up the story, we represented character traits by adding “hair” and last examined the motivation, placing this all important element in the “spine” as it connects the entire story!

Story Skeleton of Yuyi Morales’ Dreamers

For me, the most magical part of the evening came when we turned to the writing portion of our evening, playing “Questions, No Answers.” In this activity we imagined as many questions about our main character, a river that listens, as we could. There were 43 of them, but the depth of was what impressed me most. Never have I had such thoughtful questions from students. Some of my favorites?

Can the river speak? Why does it listen? What has it heard? Can it hear kindness? Does the river listen to everyone? What does the river do with what it hears?

I can hardly wait to learn the answers!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *