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Role on the Wall 

Version one


  • Draw a large head and shoulders outline of a figure on a large sheet of paper or on a screen.

  • Place the Role on the wall outline where all pupils can see it clearly;

  • Select a character from a familiar text and write the character’s name above the outline;

  •  Place a card saying What we know about the character, in the centre of the figure.

  • Place a card saying What do we think about the character or what is our opinion of the character, somewhere outside the outline

  • Ensure pupils have access to the text. Then give them a few minutes in pairs, to think of a word or a sentence from the text, which reveals something about the character. They should write this down on a Post It. Encourage pupils to back up their choice with direct evidence from the text.

  • Ask one of each pair to place their Post It inside the Role on the wall outline. Ask each pair to provide textual evidence to justify their choice. This can be direct evidence or inferential evidence. 

  • Repeat the process asking pupils to write about what they think of the character, after reading the text i.e. the impression the writer has given the reader about the character. Alert pupils to the fact that responses may differ slightly according to different readers’ opinions and perspectives. Then ask one from each pair to place their Post It outside the Role on the wall outline. If pairs disagree, then they can provide one Post It each.


Differentiation for younger or lower attaining pupils


  • Allow the pupils to report ideas verbally, then write their suggestions on Post Its yourself. Alternatively provide sets of pre -written words for pupils to choose from, such as, kind or cruel? Then ask How do we know? 


Version Two

  • Draw a line down the centre of the Role on the wall outline;

  • Ask pupils to look for evidence of the character in a text, as in version one. When placing the Post Its inside the outline, place all those that relate to what the character looks like on one side of the outline, and those that relate to what kind of person the character is, on the other side. This helps pupils to remember to include both kinds of information when they come to write characterisations.


 Version Three


  • Use two Roles on the wall to discuss relationships between two named characters. Set the outlines alongside each other with a small space in between and join with arrows. Write about how the characters feel about each other, around the arrows. This version can take the form of a class discussion, or pairs of pupils can be asked to write their ideas on Post Its, which are then placed around the arrows.


Version Four


  • Allow pupils to work in pairs during independent time to fill in a smaller outline, based on a character from a given story. Ask pupils to use the same process as in versions one or two, but they should write directly on the outline if appropriate. Pupils can also work on two smaller outlines to record ideas about relationships between characters, as in version three.


Version Five


  • Use the outline in shared writing to create a character for a story based on pupils’ own ideas, rather than an existing character in a text. Then ask pupils to use this information to write their own character studies, wanted posters etc. Pupils can be encouraged to use this approach to create characters for their own stories.

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