Today I worked with Mrs. Sopko’s afternoon sixth grade classes on their book, Lions of Little Rock.
Set during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, the book has a young female narrator, Marlee, who becomes friends with an African-American girl, Liz. In order to understand Marlee better, I wanted to frame a lesson around her character. Similar to what I did with Jericho Walls in the other sixth grade class in my last clinical session, I created a character sketch worksheet. [Lions of Little Rock Character Sketch]
Because Lions of Little Rock does not have a picture cover with the narrator’s face, but has some physical description in the text instead, I added a section on the worksheet where the students could draw a sketch of what they thought Marlee looked like.
We did the first part of the activity as a class—describing Marlee’s character traits and attributes and drawing a symbol that we thought represented her personality well. The students decided on a symbol of fear: a diving board to represent her fear of heights, a scared face to show that she was often nervous and doubted herself, or prime numbers because she counts when she’s afraid. The students wrote details from the text to support their symbols, page numbers where they found evidence, and reasons as to why they drew the symbol they did.
When I return to class the following day, they will complete the other half of the worksheet as well as do a summary of Marlee and a prediction for future reading.