Famous Faces

A character development activity

This activity is designed to help the children to develop a character.  It’s a good way in to getting them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes; to imagine what it would be like to be another person.  The activity is designed for children in KS2 and lower KS3.

Before the session, I set up a range of photos of famous people on the table.  They included: The Queen, Prince Harry, Jessie J, Will-i-am, Simon Cowell, Jessica Ennis, Justin Beiber, Harry Styles, David Beckham, Ant and Dec (separately!), Bradley Wiggins and Barack Obama.  I tried to select a range of individuals who the children would instantly recognise and about whom they would know a little detail of their lives.

Before beginning the task, I held up the photos to check the children recognised who they all were.  They were already intrigued as to what we were going to be doing and were excitedly passing the photos around the table and talking about the people on them.

I told them they were going to be imagining what it would be like to be this person.  Each child then chose a famous face.  I explained that we would be working through a series of questions about this person and they would need to imagine what the answer would be, telling them they could be as outlandish or as realistic as they chose.

The questions included:

What is this person’s biggest fear?

A secret they have – small or large

 The greatest love/passion of their life – this could be a hobby, a pet, an object, a person

 What makes them sad? 

What irritates them?

 What is their favourite film or TV programme?

What is the most frightening thing that has happened to them?

Name a person they admire

What is their favourite meal?

What sort of house do they live in?

What is their favourite outfit?

The children worked really hard on this, and came up with some intriguing and entertaining answers.  Some of them drew pictures of their answer.

Most entertainingly, the Queen had gone out gambling in a casino (her passion) before visiting MacDonalds (her favourite meal), whilst Harry Styles was sad to be so famous as he was fed up of being mobbed by his fans.

I gave each child a hand-out of the character questions and explained that they could also use these prompts when thinking about characters in their stories.

We then moved on to the second part of the task.  The children are from a range of ages and abilities so I differentiated the work at this stage.  They were given the choice of whether to:

1. Write a letter to this person, asking them about their life

or

2. Write a diary entry as if they were this person

The children worked well, they were engaged by the activity and remained focused throughout.  A younger child wrote a beautiful letter to Harry Styles inviting him to come to his house to eat chocolate cake and play on his X-box, whilst an older girl wrote a highly amusing diary entry of the Queen’s day, complete with gown fittings, portrait sitting and carriage riding through the streets of London.  Two of the girls worked together to produce a day in the life of Jessie Jay, designing costumes for her and a stage set.

Some of the more able children went on to complete both of the tasks.

At the close of the session, the children all read their work out. Those who had drawn their responses, described the scene they had depicted.  They took great delight in sharing their work. Closing the session with shared reading is also a good way to encourage the children to make edits – some of them heard errors as they read and paused to amend their writing.  It is also an excellent way to develop listening skills.  I ask each child to listen out for a particular part of the writing they enjoy and they share this after each person has read.  This introduces at a very gentle, inclusive level, the ability to both give and receive feedback on theirs and others’ writing.

 

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