As students are getting started with the next unit of study, Realistic Fiction, they will be developing the character. Coming up with the problem and solution for this story is a major event. There are a couple things students must think about: what the character wants and then what keeps them from getting it. As the story continues the problem seems to get worse and worse. This becomes the 'story mountain' that the writer is developing. The writer, also, will not come right out and say what the character wants, but will use the skill of show not tell to do this.
In the lessons for this area, a mentor text which the entire class knows well will be used. This will not be read during the mini lesson since it is a well-known short text. After discussing the possibilities of character wants and things that keep the characters from getting what they want, you will refer to the mentor text and show how the author has shown that. You will want your writers to do this in their stories by giving examples in little small moments.
In mini lessons, the teacher will show how to develop the troubles the character is experiencing through modeling. The troubles need to make sense. If students are having difficulty with finding problems for the character, they might want to look at the internal and external qualities of the character to see if there is hidden troubles there. If students have not made lists of these qualities for the character, they could do that first.
The character might love baseball so the problem might be getting on the team. The character might wear a certain type of clothes and others make fun of her. The character might be shy, but she wants a part in the school play. These problems become believable because the writer knows the character so well.
After students have made a list of problems and solutions, they can look them over and decide which make the most sense for the story.