# 36 Characterization

# 36 Characterization

Characterization is the way in which authors convey information about their characters. Characterization can be direct, as when an author tells readers what a character is like by what a character is like, ( Paul was cunning and greedy), or indirect as when an author shows what a character is like by portraying his or her actions, speech or thought, (On the crowded train station, Eric slipped his hand into the man’s coat pocket and removed the wallet, undetected.) Descriptions of a character’s appearance, behavior, interests, manner of speech and other mannerisms are all part of characterizations. For stories within the first person point of view, the narrative voice or way of telling the story, is essential to the characterization. Some character traits are active, adventurous, afraid, ambitious, anxious, anxious, argumentative, bewildered. bewildered, bossy, brave, brilliant, calm, bully, capable, carefully, caring, charismatic, charming, childish, clever, clumsy,  coldhearted, compassionate, competitive, considerate, cooperative, courageous, cowardly, critical, cruel, curious, daring, etcetera,

Characterization is a literary device that is used step by step in literature to highlight and explain the details about a character in a story. It is in the middle stage where the writer introduces the character with noticeable emergence and then following the introduction, of the character, the writer often talks about his behavior, then as the story progresses, the thought-process of the character. The next stage involves the character expressing his opinion and ideas, and getting into conversations with the rest of the characters. The final part shows how others in the story respond to character and personality.

# 35 The Plot Thickens

# 35 The Plot Thickens

Literary Devices Plot Definition

Plot is a literary term used to describe the events that make up a story or the main part of a story. These events relate to each other in a pattern or a sequence. The structure of a novel depends on the organization of events in the plot of a story Plot is known as the foundation of a novel or story which the characters and setting are built around. It is meant to organize information and events in a logical manner. When writing the plot of a piece of literature the author has to be careful that it does not dominate the other parts of the story.

There are five main elements in a plot. The first is the exposition or the introduction. This is known as the beginning of the story where characters and settings are established. The conflict or main problem is introduced as well. The second element of a plot is known as the rising action which occurs when a series of events build up to the conflict. The main characters are established by the time the rising action of a plot occurs and at the same time, events begin to get complicated. It is during this part of a story that  excitement, tension or crisis is encountered. The third element of a plot is known as the climax or the main point of the plot. This is the main turning point of the story and is meant to be the moment of highest interest and emotion. The reader wonders what is going to happen next. The fourth element of a plot is known as falling action or the winding up of a story. Events and complications begin to resolve and the result of actions of the main characters are put forward. The last element of a plot is the resolution or the conclusion. It is the end of a story and ends with either a happy or a tragic ending.

Functions of a Plot                                                                                                                                                      A plot is one of the most important parts of a story and has many different purposes. Finally, the plot focuses attention on the important characters and their roles in the story. It motivates the characters and connects the events in an orderly manner. It creates a desire for the reader to go on reading by absorbing them in the middle of the story, wanting to know what happens next. The plot leads to the climax, but  gradually releases the story in order to maintain the reader’s interest. During the plot of a book, a reader gets emotional and connects with the book, not allowing himself to put the book down. Eventually, the plot reveals the entire story and gives the readers a sense of completion that he has finished the story and reached a conclusion.

The plot is what forms a memory in the reader’s mind, allowing him to think about the book and even making them want to make it again. By identifying and understanding the plot, the reader is able to understand the  message being conveyed by the author and the explicit or implicit  moral of the story.


# 34 Teaching Children From Divorce

# 34 Teaching Children From Divorce

Statistically, couples divorce just over 50%, leaving most children to be raised in a one parent family. These children tend to worry more. They think the divorce was somehow their fault. I have been surprised at how often my friends got their children ready and sat them on the front porch, waiting for a visit that didn’t materialize. I never told my children when they were supposed to have a visit. I had overnight bags packed. If their dad showed up, I would exclaim, “Guess what! Your dad is here to see you because he loves you so much!” Yea!! Then my kids would get all happy and the visit started off well. I can’t imagine telling children they were going to have a visit when their father was highly unpredictable.

I never believed in divorce. But unless your spouse feels the same way, there is not much you can do about it, especially the three A’s, Abuse, Addiction, or Adultery. If that is going on, why do you want to be married anyway? Talk is way cheaper when the story’s good. Children from intact families tend to be more secure, and school seems to come easier for them. Children from divorce seem to be looking for a nonexistent script that helps them act like their friends who have two parents.

As they emerge into adolescents , they look for way’s they are supposed to behave. Being a young adult is very difficult to mimic without a role model. As a teacher, you can not fix the home situation, but what can you do? Partner children carefully so that they are less likely for attention to wonder. Have frequent talks about character and behaviors that constitute good role models. Give lots of positive feedback. Write comments and draw little pictures on their work to make them smile. Put a blank piece of paper on each desk, have students write their names, and circulate around the room and write positive comments that will make their hearts glow. Put a paper on your own desk, too.

Also, tell your students you are going to do an experiment on feelings. Everyone gets a blank piece of paper. Without getting carried away, make a comment like, You’re not good in reading, I don’t like your shirt, etc. Each time you make a comment crumble up the paper. When the paper is all crumbled up, Say you are Sorry. Very slowly, open up the paper, Using your hand, flatten up the paper. Ask the class what they noticed. What they should notice is that feelings get hurt easily. Even saying you are sorry does  put things back the way they were. Words can hurt, and feelings matter. Make an effort to notice students being kind to each other. Do not accept bullying. Teach students, If you see something, say something. Protect each other. Have a space on a door or somewhere good deeds are recognized. Have students use a post-it note to write positive behaviors and put on a Good Deed board.


# 33 Author’s Craft- Narrative Elements Settings

In words  of narrative (especially fictional) the literacy element setting includes the historical moments in time and  location in which a story takes place, and helps initiate the main mood for a story. In works of narrative, the literacy element in time and geographic location in which a story takes place and helps create the main backdrop for a story. The setting is the place and conditions in which something happens or conditions or exists, the time, the place, in which the action of a book, movie, etc. take place.

Author’s Craft – Narrative Elements-Setting The setting is the environment in which a story. Setting can include specific  information about time and place. usage and a list of setting examples in literature. Setting is an environment or surrounding in which an event or story takes place. Setting, an animated reading and writing movie for kindergarten students, teaches about past, present, and future story settings and moods.

How to Describe the Setting in a story. Setting is one of the three main parts of a story, along with character and plot. Broadly defined, setting is the location of the plot, including the location, region, geography, climate, neighborhood, buildings and interiors. Setting, along with pacing, also suggests passage of time. Places layered into every scene, built of elements such as weather, lighting, the season, and the hour.

The fundamental Elements of Setting

Locate, Time of year, Time of day, Elapsed time, Mood and atmosphere, Climate, Geography, Man-made geography, Eras of historical importance, Social,/political/cultural environment, Population, and Ancestral influences.

This excerpt comes from Between the Lines by Jessica Morrell, from which you can learn more about the craft of writing.

# 30 Why Teachers Leave Careers

# 30  Why Teachers Leave Careers

Most school systems are set up the same way. There are the Upper Administrators, Administrators, Head teachers, Teachers, Para professionals , Parent helpers, and Guests.  The number of teachers fluctuates with families moving in and out of the areas.  Most members of a school system are clear in their responsibilities.  I like teaching best when teachers are allowed to execute creativity. Curriculum changes over time and eventuality repeats itself. Grade partners work best when kindness and fairness are part of the instruction. For instance, having grade level meetings and including all team members heightens the effectiveness of the team.

Sometimes student grouping seems unbalanced. It seems to put challenging students in one area which seems to make planning more difficult. This can work as long as grade partners are an effective part of the team, and everyone works together for the good of the grade. My favorite types of grouping are changing classes which lends itself to everyone’s strengths. Say one teacher is great at teaching writing and another is awesome teaching science. Now lets put each class in the science lab while another grouping fits the writing area. A situation is created whereby everyone benefits. Everyone is being taught to their strength. Think about high school. There are different subjects being taught at different levels. When effort is made to approach the strength of each student, everyone benefits.

Teacher’s sometimes leave their careers if they feel unappreciated. Perhaps the workload seems too high. Working together and spreading the wealth benefits everyone. Kindness should prevail. No one likes to feel poorly treated. I suggest going out of your way to conduct an act of kindness every day, perhaps even more than one. In the process of making someone else’s day, you are also making your own.


# 32 Teaching Kindergartner’s to Read Fluently

# 32 Teaching Kindergartners to Read Fluently

When I  first taught in school, it was common to be able to collect one pound empty coffee cans. Why? Because many people drank coffee and that was the most popular way coffee was sold, in a tin coffee container with a plastic lid on top to keep the coffee fresh. We sent  notes home and most students brought them back to school. Some brought extra because not every family drank coffee. I needed 26 cans per class because there are 26 letters in the alphabet. We also had a machine that made upper and lower case letters. The teacher would have to cut the paper into three by four squares. On one side of the coffee can we would glue an upper case letter while the lower case letter was glued on the back. Then another note went home asking parents if they could help their child find small objects that would fit into a coffee can that corresponded with that letter of the alphabet. We were clear to tell parents these objects would not be returned home. I first used yellow construction paper cut to fit and wrapped it around the can. Then I glued the letters on, and lastly used clear construction paper to wrap around the can. I forgot to mention the letters were made using red construction paper. At last the objects dwindled in and students were thrilled to find the correct can for their object.

Now, let’s test your critical thinking skills. What is a very common object a child would most likely bring to school? Don’t know? Think about where twenty six coffee cans were kept in a classroom. We had the cans lined along the radiator on the window sills. When it got cold outside and the heat was turned on, can you guess what happened? The many crayons that were kept in the cans began to melt, and the smell permeated throughout the room. We immediately removed the cans from the radiators. I tried to take out the melted materials after school dismissed. Until this point the students enjoyed playing with the cans and saying the beginning letters.

Every day the students were given a printed newspaper, half lined to write a story. They would draw a picture and then scribble write a story. They would share their stories with the class. We also practiced writing upper and lower case letters. After the crayon melt dilemma, each child was given a can and allowed to keep it on their desk during writing time. I had cut a stack of two by three inch oak tag cards. I would circulate around the class and ask a student to read their story to me. Next I would ask them which word they would like to learn to spell. They would tell me and I would take my Sharpie and spell out the word. The student would correct their spelling error and keep the card in their coffee can. Sometimes We would have an ABC day in which all the cards in a can was spilled out and the students would line up the cards in alphabetical order. These activities helped the students become stronger readers and writers. This was a great idea for teaching students to love reading and writing.



#31 Teachers Don’t Leave Careers, they leave on Principle

#31 Teachers Don’t Leave Careers, They Leave on Principle

There is a perception that teachers are overworked.  Add to that contributions that don’t seem to be acknowledged or rewarded. Creativity is not engaged. Teacher’s spend a great deal of time outside of school doing school work. I once heard a coworker say he had spent six hours correcting papers, three hours developing lesson plans and two hours making samples, and this was on a weekend.

There was a time when creativity was rewarded, and lessons that further developed curriculum was acknowledged and encouraged. Teachers had the ability to prepare lessons that further developed the curriculum. Now teachers are told what time to teach each subject, and the exact subject to be taught on a given day. I don’t think this is true of all school systems. There must be systems where students are taught the curriculum creatively.  Consider yourself lucky if you work for such a system.

As an undergraduate, I was taught several different ways to approach each subject. We used a particular plan and demonstrated unique ways to produce lessons given unique students that were in the class. Because we worked together, we were able to plan lessons that worked, and creativity was rewarded. Graduate courses in Educational Leadership were extremely helpful in using creativity to achieve a common goal. The syllabus was completely clear, and students worked together well in groups. Usually the Professors would present a lesson and then, given the outcome, students worked individuality or in groups to apply the lesson.

I always liked school; trying my best to do well. My students tended to do well because their work was appreciated. Students need a goal to pursue in order to meet their objective. Most of all, students need to know they are appreciated!

#29 7 Things Your Child’s Teacher Won’t Tell You About Your Child

   back-2-school-prayer Free Printable Back to School Prayer from Lil Light o' Mine blog

Your child’s teacher spends a great deal of time with your child, maybe more than you do. One benefit the teacher has, that you don’t, is the ability to compare students in all subjects, maturity, effort, ability to get along with others, cooperation, etc. I am going to describe seven ways your child’s teacher knows your child quite well, yet there is a disadvantage to discuss these ways with you.

1. Sharing- Sometimes items get passed out in school and students are expected to share in small groups. While some students are happy putting the items in a small pile for everybody’s use, some students want the pile directly in front of them, for their use exclusively. The students know who doesn’t share, and so does the teacher, but the teacher is liable to stick with more important things during Parent Teacher Conferences.

2. Kindness-Again, students know who is kind, and who isn’t. The unkind students are unlikely to share, while the kind students are happy to. Unkind students tease, and don’t care if they hurt other’s feelings. They enjoy hurting other’s, but are the first to tattle if someone teases them. These students become upset if the special education student is placed on their team during recess, because winning is more important than hurting other’s feelings. These students need to learn good sportsmanship, as well as kindness.

3. Loving-Students who genuinely care about other’s and act in a helpful manner by showing kindness also exhibit loving behavior. I will go one step further and proclaim that that these students radiate love. Loving students are sensitive to other students, and ask if they could help if another student is sad. Their compassion shines and they are genuinely concerned for others. It is a ray of sunshine to have a loving student in the classroom.

4. Sensitive-Students have the ability to place themselves in other’s positions and react as though they were not being treated as well. Then they stand up for their friend by using kind words and showing a level of maturity far beyond their years. They demonstrate an understanding of the current discussion and use appropriate language in order to get the other party to act kind as well. The discussion always seems to work out in their favor.

5. Truthfulness-Students who exhibit the truth, take rightful ownership of their actions and words. They sincerely apologize if have done or said something wrong. If the Student tends not to tell the truth, the parent tends to believe the student over the adult. If the parent copies their child and reacts badly, then that would be the last time the teacher mentions the lies to the parent. The student may be directed to the school psychologist or the principal instead.

6. Intellectual- Is a student who possesses a highly degree of intellect. They do their work at school and their homework at home. The parent has never called the school to demand the teacher write down the night’s homework because the student lacks the work ethic to this at school. These students care about their assignments and wants to do well. Their grades and effort are high. It is a pleasure having such students in school.

7. Spoiled-To harm the character of a child by overindulgence or leniency to create an irritable and unpleasant disposition. Once a child is spoiled, this negative character defect is difficult to overcome. These children have a sense of entitlement and feel they are owed whatever they want. They tend to be aggressive toward other’s. Spoiled students tend to get this attitude at home, and are often unhappy if they don’t get what they want at school.

back-2-school-prayer Free Printable Back to School Prayer from Lil Light o’ Mine blog



# 28 Facilities


I do not know of many jobs that restrict the use of the bathroom, but teaching is definitely one of them. Years ago we had a principal who said we could not leave our students alone for even a moment, including  going to the bathroom. We were responsible for the class’s safety at all times.  When asked what we should do, we were told to call the office, and someone would come to stay with our class when we used the bathroom. That would have worked well except for one thing, the school had no one designated to watch a class. During the next faculty meeting the principal questioned us, asking if we actually thought there was someone walking around the school  without an assigned task? She said when we called the office, who did we think was there that could watch our class? When reminded that she told us to call the office, she said she was obviously kidding.

I tried very hard not to use the restroom. Goodbye morning coffee. Goodbye water bottle. Use restroom immediately before school. Hold everything until you had a break, which was sometimes three hours. If all else failed, walk the class down the hall towards the teacher’s restroom and have the class sit on the floor, boys on one side and girls on the other. We would play The Quiet Game. If I (Quickly) used the bathroom and didn’t hear any noise, the class would get five additional minutes of recess. Most of the time this worked out nicely, especially if there were  teachers or paraprofessionals who were kind enough to stand in their doorway, watching their students and keeping an eye on noisy students sitting in the hall.

I can not tell you the best way to handle your class when you need to use the restroom. I have very few suggestions. Ask your coworkers what the school policy is, (There won’t be one). You can ask other teachers how this is handled in your school.

I do have a suggestion on how to handle students and the restroom. Near the door, have a boy’s and girl’s lavatory pass. When a student has to go, they take the pass and put it on their desk. Then they use the lav, taking the pass from the top of their desk and hanging it back on it’s hook when they return. You may have to set a limit of two times during the school day for students who obviously want an extended break, or go to fool around. For fourth and fifth grade classes, I have put A Destination Sheet near the door. There is room for the date, time out, destination, and time in.  A pen attached to a string is nearby. This is helpful if student’s misuse the bathroom, and the office wants to know who was out of the room during a certain time.

There must be teachers who have different ideas. Please email them to me at janstanford58@gmail.com.


photo credit: N00/7391237914″>Aseo y flecha artesana via photopin (license)



# 27 Recess!

5169685193_34307e5954Recess is more than an opportunity for your students to let off steam. It is just as important as a regular subject. Most students say recess is their favorite subject. I believe students should have half an hour of recess in the morning and at least ten minutes in the afternoon. There is nothing wrong with letting the students run around for five minutes. However, certainly at the beginning of the year outdoor breaks should be in a controlled environment. Every day, tell the class what the objective (Outcome) will be. Some ideas are: be a friend to someone so they don’t play alone, share equipment, be kind, smile, include everyone, say yes if someone wants to play with you, people’s feelings are more important than winning, exercise to stay healthy, etc.

When you go outside with your class, have them run around the play area while you time them for five minutes. After five minutes, students can continue to run or go off to play a game. Gradually increase this to ten minutes. The teacher should circulate and smile so students know you care about them. Some people have been making jokes because traditional recess has changed over time. There is no more wall ball, dodge ball, or target games. These games are not helpful. It is wrong to think everyone must get a trophy or no one can ever be out. Let’s take the game Dodge Ball. Everyone is in a circle. (Remember everyone has a number). The teacher calls out several numbers to go inside the circle. The aggressive kids around the circle run where ever the ball is and forcefully throw the ball to the least athletic student, getting them out quickly. Then the students that are out stand along the circle bored for the rest of the game. Where is the fun?

Our playground had a straight track with about 6 lines. We would play a game called Endless Run. Put the class three or four in a line behind the track. When the class is ready, the teacher blows the whistle. This game is not a race, it is a movement game. The first student in each line begins and travels down the line. The rules are eyes have to be open, and no one can move backward. Students are free to hop, skip, run, leap, walk, gallop, etc. When they get to the end of the line they turn around continue with their movement until they get back to the end of the line. The next student in line now has a turn. After five or six minutes blow whistle and call out free time. Be aware some students will complain they are too tired. Remind students they can walk if they get tired.

What do you do with chronic students who do not pass in their homework? Do not take away recess without warning them first. I would suggest not having them miss more than ten minutes of recess, unless they refuse to work on their homework while outside. Then all bets are off. Before students go outside, have them take either their missed homework or  alternative work you pass out. If all the students have the same paper, they are more likely to finish if you allow them to work in pairs. When complete, they put  homework attached to their clipboard in a pile, and then go play. What do you do for recess?


photo credit: N08/5169685193″>12 november 005 via photopin (license)