A 60 minute lesson in which students will use descriptive language effectively to build a character.
Watch the video excerpt Yes, Ms. Trunchbull… Sir! from the movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda on YouTube. After watching, ask the students:
How would you describe Miss Trunchbull’s appearance?
How would you describe Miss Trunchbull’s personality?
How do you think she feels about children? Her job? Her employees?
Read Roald Dahl’s description of The Trunchbull in the chapter of the same name. Ask the students:
Do you think Miss Trunchbull was accurately portrayed in the movie adaptation of the book?
Which words and phrases would have been most helpful for the actor playing this role?
Why is detailed description of characters important when writing a narrative?
Discuss slide 16 of the Narrative Features PowerPoint. Emphasize the difference between direct characterization (explicitly telling the reader) and indirect characterization (implicitly showing the reader).
Discuss the STEAL characterization technique, as outlined on slide 17. Read out the example description of a character on slide 18 (students should close their eyes for this activity). Once the students have opened their eyes, encourage them to share how the image on slide 19 compares to the image they visualized. Return to slide 18 and allow the students to identify examples of the STEAL technique.
Read through the instructions for the activity on slide 20 and answer any questions the students may have.
Allow the students to work in pairs to complete the activity. Monitor and support the students as required.
Allow each pair to share their character descriptions with the class. Encourage the students to identify uses of the STEAL technique in each description.
Allow more confident writers to work individually, rather than in pairs (if they wish to do so).
Allow students who find writing challenging to work with a teacher or teacher aide during the pair activity.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities