Grade 4: Character Super Sleuths


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Reading Literature

RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

Speaking and Listening

SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


The Grade 4 lesson titled “Character Super Sleuths” by Michael Lingenfelter and cited on the CPALMS website is intended to be completed in 3 hours of ELA/Literacy instruction. The focus of the lesson is for students to be able to describe a character with specific character traits, both stated and implied. After building background knowledge, students: use a variety of organizers as the teacher guides them through the learning process; practice in small cooperative groups to find and use text evidence to identify a stated and/or an inferred character trait, and then share their information with the whole class; write a BIOPOEM which uses character traits and character analysis to complete. The summative assessment is in the form of an oral report that analyzes a character in depth, using details from a text and answering specific questions.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the lesson plan lists its standards with Florida labels; the standards listed above use the Common Core labeling, but the wording remains the same. While suggested accommodations and supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities and/or read below the grade level are provided, it will be important to consider the variability of learners in the class and make adaptations as necessary.


This lesson is an exemplary example of how to focus on challenging sections of a complex text. It engages students in a productive struggle through text-dependent questions and other supports that gradually build toward independence. The lesson plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use. Materials include: a detailed lesson plan, learning objectives, prior knowledge students will need, guiding questions, multiple quality attachments that enhance the lesson activities, and an aligned rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted standards.