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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3: Characterisation and storytelling

Direct Speech and Characterisation

Students select a character from a narrative they have read and write an explosion chart about their character. In small groups share and explain reasons for choices and the language used to describe their character.

Students work in pairs or small groups and role-play an extract from a book they have read. Explore the language of direct speech then create a situation and have the students role-play what they think the characters would say in this situation.

Provide photos, drawings, and illustrations from magazines or newspapers. Students select two or more characters. What might these two characters be saying to each other? Write the conversation using speech bubbles.

Students draw a character and write an explosion chart describing this character. Pair up with someone else and write and role play what these two characters might say to each other. Write the imagined conversation using speech bubbles.

Create a situation and list the characters. Ask the students to role play or draw and write speech bubbles of the conversation between two of these characters (for example an old person, a child, a teenager, someone in hospital, two opposing sports people, an actor). Make a cartoon strip to sequence the events leading up to and following the conversation.

Oral Story Telling

Model oral story telling to the students.

Invite a "story teller" to the class to entertain as well as demonstrate the art of story telling. Invite parents, members of the community, teachers in the school to read or tell a story to the students.

Provide opportunities for the students to practise story telling (see Student Directed Theatre from the Writing for Publication unit).

Introduce a regular story-telling time. Set up a "buddy" story-telling system with another class in the school (perhaps with younger students in the school).

Visual Imagery in Story Telling

Encourage students to think about:

  • What did the characters look like?
  • How did they make you feel?
  • How did they behave?
  • What are some of the details, which help to paint a vivid picture in your mind?

Encourage students to "zoom in" to get a close-up look at the main characters. If the students can create a vivid picture of the characters and the setting in their minds they can remember the story more easily.

Provide opportunities for the students to experiment with dialogue. Teacher begins an original or well-known story and, moving around the group the students add to and complete the story. The group is in a circle (for students who are reluctant to participate, introduce a "stress ball" or a "talking stick" - any long stick will do).

Interview a character from a well-known book. Work in pairs, one to be the character the other the reporter. The reporter asks questions, related to the story. This interaction can be taped and played back to the class at a later date or used as an activity in the learning centre.

Drama resource – Storytelling : Storytelling is one of the simplest and perhaps most compelling forms of dramatic and imaginative activity. This website offers a set of strategies and techniques, including video clips, on how to work with students to engage in the art of storytelling.

Published on: 25 Apr 2009