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Language Arts, Writing, Writing Process, Art

Grade 1- 3


The students will draw pictures to generate ideas about a character. Students will use prewriting skills to plan written work. Students will dictate or write detailed descriptions of familiar person, places, objects, or experiences.


  1. Read the story Sylvester and the Magic Pebble aloud to the class. After you have finished, ask students to think about the people in this story. Using the overhead transparency, write the name of a main character from the story in each circle. As a class, brainstorm a list of words that could be used to describe the characters in this story. Write down as many words in the character web as students can generate.

  2. Explain to students that these animals are called the characters of this story. The characters are an important part of a story. Characters can be people or animals. Ask students to think back on different stories they have read before. Who were some of the characters in those stories? Encourage students to share examples. (Some examples might include the Berenstain Bears, Clifford, Sesame Street characters, etc.)

  3. Next, brainstorm a list of other character traits that can be used to describe a character. Write these on the chalkboard. Then distribute a copy of "Create a Character" (page 26) to each student. Using the list of words on the chalkboard, students select one or more words from the list and create a character. Using colored pencils or crayons, have students draw the face of this character. Some of the descriptions are harder to capture in a drawing than others.

  4. Divide students into groups of four or five. Have each student take a turn to share his or her character face. Have students describe to the members in the group all they can about their character. Have students cut out characters and post them on a bulletin board.

Portfolio Piece
Distribute copies of "Identifying Character Traits" (page 27) to students. On this page, have students write down descriptive words about the characters they designed on the character face. Next, have students think of new characters and then write descriptive words for them. Store this page in the students' portfolios. These characters can be used in future stories.


  • copy of "Create a Character" (page 26) for each student
  • overhead transparency of "Identifying Character Traits" (page 27)
  • copy of "Identifying Character Traits" (page 27) for each student
  • colored pencils or crayons
  • scissors
  • copy of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • 2982--Meeting Writing Standards: Story Writing

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