Lessons & Units :: Character 4th Grade Unit

Lesson 1: Protagonist

Lesson Plan

Hansel and Gretel | 680L

Hansel and Gretel
Learning Goal
Identify and describe the protagonist in a story using text evidence and the term “protagonist”.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: N/A
Not Provided: Hansel and Gretel retold by Rika Lesser, chart paper, markers
  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain the term “protagonist” (a leading character in a story) and identify protagonists from familiar stories previously read aloud. I will chart typical characteristics of a protagonist (leadership, bravery, kindness, etc.). I will mention that protagonists do not need to be perfect, and can have less positive qualities as well. I will give examples of some less positive characteristics of some protagonists (vanity, insecurity, etc.). I will say that many protagonists have good characteristics, but also have some flaws. Today, we will be focusing on protagonists that have mostly good characteristics.

    TIP: Guide students in identifying popular protagonists in movies and on TV. How are they all similar? What makes a character a “protagonist”?

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I decide that the character was the protagonist? Students should respond that you thought about the characteristics of this character and thought about the characteristics of protagonists (leaders, brave, clever, caring, hardworking, etc.). Then, you decided that this character was the protagonist because he/she was the main focus of the story and shared some of the same characteristics of a typical protagonist.

  • Guided Practice

    will read Hansel and Gretel retold by Rika Lesser and identify Hansel and Gretel as the protagonists in the story. We will chart evidence from the text that proves they are protagonists.

  • Independent Practice

    will identify a protagonist from your independent reading book. You will write a paragraph about the protagonist, supporting your answer with evidence from the text.

    TIP: You may want to have students listen to Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky for the Independent Practice.

Build Student Vocabulary reconciled

Tier 2 Word: reconciled
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story The father wasn’t reconciled to the idea of leaving his children in the forest.
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) To reconcile means to solve a conflict. When the father had not reconciled to the idea of leaving his children in the forest, it means that he still felt conflicted.
Students repeat the word Say the word reconciled with me: reconciled.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts Two boys in the class had a big fight last week. They reconciled after they had basketball practice. I am reconciled to the fact that I do not draw well; my talent is in music. I would like to reconcile our differences, so we can remain friends.
Students provide examples Think about a time when you had to reconcile a fight or argument. Tell me about it by saying, “Once I reconciled___________________________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? reconciled
Additional Vocabulary Words morsel, prospered

Build Student Background Knowledge

Before reading Hansel and Gretel, explain that the story is one of the original fairy tales told by The Brothers Grimm. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were two German boys who collected "oral" tales. Oral tales are stories that are passed on by people telling each other, rather than writing them down and reading them. Generations tell each other the same stories, and they get passed down over many years. The Brothers Grimm collected all of the fairy tales they heard and wrote them down for future generations to read.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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User Comments



This lesson is exactly what I needed to introduce the new term protagonist.

Thank you very much.