Further activities

Continue character development with the following pupil resources:



Now that your pupils know what is going on inside their character’s head, ask them to consider how others view their character. Encourage your pupils to choose a famous person or character and explore the differences between how they view themselves and how others view them. Are there any discrepancies?

Robert Frost’s poem Tree at my window explores inner weather and may be an interesting stimulus to use here. Ask pupils to consider all words they associate with their character. You may wish to use the Character word cloud resource as a stimulus for this part of the activity. Next, use ICT to create a word cloud for their character.

Create your own!

Ask your pupils to Draw their own character including clothes and facial expression. Outside the body, write words to describe his/her personality. Include personality traits and give their character a name that suits his/her personality.

Extension: Groups, as pupils to come up with three things their character might do, three situations their character might find themselves in, or three things that might make their character angry. Use one of the short forms to explore these ideas further.

Catch a lot

Catch a lot

Group discussion idea

In groups, consider the following statement: 'Comparing your insides to other people’s outsides is the road to misery.' To what extent do you agree?

Watch this short film called Catch a lot from the Literacy Shed website.

Consider the two characters' perception of the other. Imagine the internal lives of these characters – how do they view themselves? How do they feel about the perception of the other?

Pupils could present these ideas through role play or tableaux.

Name game

What’s in a name?

Encourage your pupils to consider the name they choose for their character. It should suit the character’s traits and personality, as well as their physical appearance. Ask your pupils to research the etymology of the names of famous characters in literature. Encourage them to consider how suitable they are for the character.

Discuss these characters' names with pupils:

Dumbledore Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

  • ‘Albus’ means ‘white’, like his beard. 
  • ‘Percival’ suggests ‘battle’ as Percival was one of the knights in King Arthur’s court. 
  • ‘Wulfric’ means ‘wolf power’. 
  • ‘Brian’ is an old Celtic name, meaning ‘noble’. 
  • ‘Dumbledore’ means ‘bumblebee’, which is sweet. 

Draco Malfoy Draco Malfoy

  • ‘Draco’ is Latin for a terrifying beast that spits fire – a dragon.
  • ‘Mal’ derives from Old French meaning ‘bad’ or ‘evil’.
  • ‘Foi’ meaning ‘faith’ or ‘trust’.

Katniss Everdeen Katniss Everdeen

  • The katniss plant has nourishing roots, and is also known as “arrowhead.” It belongs to the genus Sagittaria, and the constellation of the same name, Sagittarius, is also known as the archer—a fitting ode to her impressive bow-and-arrow skills.
  • Everdeen rhymes with evergreen, of course—and Katniss is responsible for those around her year round.
  • One could even read the name as “ever dean”: Katniss always has to serve as a leader.

You may also find the What’s in a name? resource useful.

Building Vocabulary

If your pupils are interested in this type of work, the activities about words and their origins in Section 5: Structure might be worth looking at this point.

Emotional equations

Creating emotional equations

Emotional equations are a shorthand way to summarise how a character feels at a particular moment. They are useful as a talking and listening activity to encourage reluctant writers to develop their thinking skills. They encourage discussion and engage actions and reactions in a lively way, and allow pupils to create an emotional climate for characters.

Give your pupils examples of what we mean by an emotional equation. Give the class or smaller groups an example of a widely experienced emotion or life experience. Ask them to break it down into a mathematical equation.  Disappointment, for example, occurs when hope leads to failure. This could be expressed as:

Emotional equations

Encourage your pupils to be as imaginative as possible in applying the elements of the emotional states they are creating and the mathematical relationships between them.

When reading a novel or short story or viewing stills from films, ask your pupils to create emotional equations. They could also apply emotional equations to non-fiction material, including visual stimulus. 

Encourage your pupils to use: 

  • film trailers from intofilm.org;
  • celebrities or public figures; or
  • appropriate contemporary music videos that create a mood or tell stories. 

You can use audio files from C2K AUDIO NETWORK app to create an emotional impact or tell a short story in sound. Encourage your pupils to create these in groups and give other groups opportunities to respond.

Pupils could write equations for the characters and for the reader as a way to develop their understanding of the power of the writer to inspire reactions in the reader.

This strategy may be useful to explore relationships between characters at different points in a story.

Further development

Encourage your pupils to develop their emotional equations into:

  • an internal monologue from a chosen moment;
  • a transcript;
  • role plays; or
  • freeze frames or tableaux.

You could also consider writing one of these up as a task on the CCEA Task Support System

Weather your character

The weather

Using the The weather on the interactive whiteboard, give your pupils opportunities to look at how weather and other details contribute to the creation of character. You should emphasise how character is more effectively shown than told.

This links to the Show don’t tell activity in the language section of this resource. It also leads into exploring how you can use setting, in this case the weather, to create or reveal character effectively. See Section 3: Setting section for more detail about this.

Pupils can work on the weather passage and questions resource individually or in pairs.


Character word cloud
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Draw your own character
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What's in a name?
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The weather
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