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Aims and objectives
This resource aims to provide a support to pupils’ creative/extended writing, especially relating to the development of characterisation. The characters that pupils create can also be used to generate open discussion about stereotyping as part of PSHE/Citizenship lessons.

Previous knowledge
Although no previous knowledge is required, it would be useful for teachers to discuss the concept of characterisation with the pupils, maybe by referring to familiar texts appropriate to their age and experience i.e. characters from well-known fairy tales (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood etc.) or stories used in the classroom (the Twits, Charlotte’s Web etc.).

In the classroom
Children can use the activity to build simple profiles of characters linked to stories they have read, describing characteristics and appearances with pictures, single words, captions and sentences. They can choose the type of clothes, hair and skin colour that they want their character to have.

Once they have completed their character, they can use the notepad to write a few lines about their character and then, by clicking the ‘print’ button, create a hardcopy of their work for either assessment, record or display purposes. For less able children, they can just create their character and print it off and then talk to the teacher or friends about their work.

This activity is designed to develop communication, language and literacy skills. It is therefore important that children share the creation process and talk to an adult about their characters. It would be interesting to know how gender aware the children are in terms of the characters they create.

Not only does this activity lend itself to individual or small groups of children working collaboratively, but it also works extremely well with an interactive whiteboard for whole class work. In one nursery, the activity was projected onto the whiteboard, which was at ground level, and children took it in turns to stand in front of the board and have the character projected onto them.* This was an excellent way of involving all the children in making choices and giving them opportunities to discuss their decisions.

Curriculum references
Early learning goals for language for communication
Early learning goals for language for thinking
Early learning goals for reading

English – KS1:
En1: Knowledge, skills and understanding
En3: 1a, c; 2b; 7a; 9b

English – KS2:
En1: Knowledge, skills and understanding
En3: 1b; 2f; 9a

This activity has been designed to cover the National Literacy Strategy requirements.

PSHE & citizenship – KS1:
2a, b; 4c

PSHE & citizenship – KS2:
1a; 2e; 4a, b, f

* This was carried under strict teacher supervision to ensure that the children were not able to look directly into the projector while standing in front of the whiteboard.

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