At the beginning of the year, we discuss procedures and expectations. A fun unit I begin my year with is Miss Nelson! We read all three books. We begin reading Miss Nelson is Missing and they complete a character map of a character within the story. They discuss how the character feels, how they feel about the character, and what others think about the character. This always gives me a good indication of their skill level for character and how much detail they can provide about the character.
I love to teach character, setting and plot this way. I just love using sticky notes! It is so much better than worksheets! I write the objective on a piece of chart paper and they draw, in detail, the character, setting or plot. (Whichever we are working on at that time). After they draw it, we talk about how important the illustrations are to our story. For instance, we did this with Miss Nelson is Missing and a lot of my students drew Miss Nelson surrounded by flowers and rainbows and some drew Miss Swamp and she was drawn in all black.