Getting to know a character
Nothing is true of every character. No one approach will help pupils to create convincing characters. This section suggests a few different ways to think about character. To introduce the idea of a rounded character, it can be helpful for pupils to work with fully formed characters from television, film or books they have read. By exploring what they know about these characters, they can begin to understand what they need to know about their own creations to make them believable and well-rounded.
Back to basics
Pupils need to establish the basic facts about their character before they can develop their character further.
This activity provides opportunities to discuss online sharing and safety and how your pupils can protect themselves from online predators. Useful resource: Net Aware by the NSPCC.
This is an editable resource, you can add other questions you want pupils to consider.
Once your pupils have established basic details about their character, encourage them to begin to develop their character to create personality traits.
Use the Create an interview resource to stimulate discussion or as a hot-seating activity where pupils ask these questions of each other. You can ask your pupils to answer spontaneously or give them time to prepare.
Working with images
Creating stories for couples in photographs, paintings and stills from TV or film can give your pupils opportunities to work together creatively to invent the most interesting stories, inferring meaning from the smallest of details.
Search online for images of bored couples, old couples, stressed couples, happy couples or odd couples. Alternatively, encourage your pupils to choose images that appeal to them. Then ask them to show you the images using Office 365 or Google Classroom. The Working with images resource includes a handful of images.
- Give your pupils different photographs of couples. Ask them, in pairs, to create a biography for the couple in no more than four or five sentences;
- Ask your pupils to swap the images with another pair and create another biography. Pupils should then share their completed biographies and discuss the reasons why they created their backstory;
- Use Freeze frame or tableau to tell the story of a relationship from the photographs. Create at least four freeze frames, both before and after the photograph was taken; and
- Rank the couples from happiest to unhappiest. Agree the order in your groups. Ask one of the group to explain the group’s view to the rest of the class.
Activities with images – crowd scene
This activity presents challenges if they have seen the film first, as it is more difficult for them to separate the actor’s interpretation of the character from the author’s depiction of them. You could use CCEA’s Thinking Cards to help your pupils to distinguish between the actor or director‘s interpretation and their own interpretation from the text.