What is a Looks Like/Sounds Like Chart?

A“Looks Like, Sounds Like” anchor chart is a great way to discuss character traits or academic traits that you’d like to emphasize in your class.

What Age/Grade Range is Appropriate for This Activity?

I especially enjoy the effectiveness of this activity for students in Grades 2-4. You can do this with younger students as well, but they need more prompting and you may need to use simpler character traits.

How do I Make A Looks Like/Sounds Like Chart with my Class?

Create a two-column chart. On one side draw an eyeball (for “looks like”) and on the other draw an ear (for “sounds like”). I like to do this activity after reading a book related to the character trait, but it’s not necessary.  You may want to emphasize an area that your students are struggling with.  It’s a great re-centering technique to direct your classroom management in a positive direction.

Tell your students the name of the trait you are going to be discussing. For example, if you are discussing Active Learning, ask your students, “What does it LOOK like when someone is being an active learner?” Guide student responses to include things like:

• Hands are kept to yourself, not touching others
• Eyes are looking at the speaker
• Mouths are closed when someone else is talking
• Hands raised in the air

Then ask what active learning SOUNDS like. You should get responses such as:

• One person is talking at a time.
• Voices are not too loud or too quiet, but just right for the classroom
• You hear different students contributing, not just the same one or two students over and over
• Someone saying, “What do you think?”
• People asking questions

After you have finished gathering student responses, be sure to add any that may have been left out.  I highly recommend jotting down a few of your own ideas before doing this lesson, as students sometimes need a push in the right direction, especially the first time you do this activity.


The hardest part of this activity is making sure students know what you mean by “looks like” and “sounds like.”  Ask guiding questions such as, “What would you SEE with your EYES if someone is acting kind (honest, cooperative)?”  “What words would people be SAYING if they are demonstrating kindness (honesty, cooperation)?”

Some kids will mention negative traits, so you will constantly need to redirect to what the trait DOES look and sound like.  If you are discussing honesty and a student says, “It sounds like people not telling lies,” try to rephrase this to something like, “People are telling the truth.”  Keeping the language positive will make it easier after you have completed the lesson.

What Happens After We Have Completed the Activity?student version looks like sounds like chart

Display the chart so that it can be referred to. Use the language from the chart in everyday classroom activities, such as, “Wow, it looks like active learning is going on in here!” or “Oh no, it doesn’t sound like active learning right now. Let’s look at our chart and see what we should be hearing.”

Here are some other great traits to use for this activity:
• Respect
• Responsibility
• Inclusion
• Honesty
• Kindness
• Cooperation
• Generosity
• Perseverance
• Caring

Include whichever traits you would like to. Again, this is a good activity to do when you notice your students struggling with a certain character trait.

Click here to grab a free looks like/sounds like chart.
Have your students fill out the chart as a way to “take notes” on the trait, or use this as an independent/partner activity to reinforce what you have discussed as a whole-class.

Click here to sign up for our list. Receive monthly newsletters and access to our member-only Resource Library!

Looks Like, Sounds Like – Character Trait Anchor Chart
Tagged on:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.