An interview with a vampire (or other story character…)
Want to get your pupils writing in character? Are their first-person narrators all sounding alike? This lesson uses images and role-play to help your class empathise with new characters, supporting them in writing from a new perspective.
1) Children choose a character from an image
Give each of the class an image containing at least one person – or let your class pick from images given to them. You can tailor the images you use to the topic you’re teaching; alternatively, have a look for art postcards or photos from newspapers and magazines.
With our ‘Future London’ project, we used these quirky images created by an artist imagining the year 2000 from a hundred years earlier. One boy wrote a piece from the point of view of a whale being used to motor a bus!
2) Interviewing in role
Children now choose a character in the picture to become, and interview each other in pairs to find out more about who their character is and what they’re doing in the scene. Encourage the use of ‘I’ at this oral stage (‘What are YOU doing?’ rather than ‘What is your character doing?’).
Model the interview with a confident pupil and their image, showing how to add follow-up questions or to ask for details, as well as waiting to allow the interviewee time to think of their answers.
Some suggested questions:
- Who are you? What are you doing?
- What’s happening around you?
- Why are you here?
- What can you see/hear/smell…?
- Where do you want to go and what do you want to do there?
3) Get writing!
After the conversations, the children will write a story based on the picture, from the point of view of their interviewed character.
If they’re stuck for ideas, they could write explaining how the person (or creature) got into the situation, or else describe the scene before laying out what happens next.
Age range: KS2-3
Time: 15-20 minute discussion time, plus writing