Thursday, 6 September 2012

Original Lesson 26: Character creation

I recently ran a very successful and enjoyable lesson on character creation and development in narratives.

I started with the old 'guess who my character is based on what's in their bag' trick, having prepared a white paper bag at home with a number of miscellanous items that could be somewhat linked using some creative inferences. eg. a glass sculpture of a tiger, torch, mouth guard and baseball bat: Our character is a hunter who often hunts at night and then spends his weekend playing baseball and contact rugby. Alternatively, our character could be a tiger enthusiast who spends his nights warding off would-be hunters with his baseball bat and a handy mouth guard for when he engages them in fist fights.

The children were all very engaged in making inferences based on each object and seemed to enjoy the activity all the more because each and every contribution was correct and valuable so long as they could point to a clue on which they based it.

Following this warm-up, I proceeded to explain the task, which was for students to create a main character for the narrative plots, which they drafted in Original Lesson 25, using the following set out. (My students have writer's notebooks, which are a large scrap book format where they record inspiration for their writing and plan stories). In their writer's notebook, using a double page, students:

Split one page into six boxes consisting of:
  • My character doesn't say, they: eg growl, mumble, shout, screech
  • Over the course of my story, my character becomes more...
  • My character's friends would describe him/her as
  • In an emergency, my character would...
  • Ajectives and similies to describe their character
  • Free choice box
Split the other page into two sections:
  • Draw their character with corresponding labels
  • Draw what would be in their character's bag and why
I modelled these instructions on the board of course, using the same set out as displayed below in one of my students' work samples:

My next challenge is to assist my students to incorporate the fantastic work they produced in this session into their narrative writing. Any suggestions?

2 comments:

5VJ said...

Hi Anna,
Thank you for sharing all your wonderful work!

I have done a great activity on character building and adjectives.
I read 'I dream of a bunyip' by Elise Hurst.
The students are given an A3 paper split into thirds.
In the middle third, they describe their bunyip in lots of detail.
On one side they draw their interpretation of the bunyip
They then fold their drawing behind and give it to another student.
This student reads the description of the bunyip and tries draw it using only the clues that they are given.
After, they flip over the two drawings and compare.

The students see that it is important to give details of colour, height, texture etc so that the reader gets the right image.

I hope that makes sense.
May not be as clear as your lessons :)

keep sharing!!

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Sounds like a fantastic lesson. Thanks for sharing too :)