Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exploring Characterization with Pinterest + Fan Fiction

Our post-Outsiders work with characters was hugely inspired by some resources in my learning network.  At NCTE, I had the pleasure of hearing author Lindsey Leavitt speak about her character creation process.  She mentioned using Pinterest to develop rich ideas for characters, so I thought that, as a wrap-up, my kids and I could go into that idea backward, pinning some of the things we wanted to remember about Ponyboy.  I started with a few pins to introduce them to the idea of Pinterest (moms, I think you are well familiar with it ... sixth graders, not so much :)), and then each class added to the board; students had to justify each pin they wanted me to add.

We also reviewed -- again, courtesy of some mental prompting from Lindsey Leavitt's
NCTE presentation -- ways authors reveal characters

Why did we do this?

Stolen idea #2: fan fiction.  After I read this Nerdy Book Club post, I decided that our waning days before winter break should be used to reinvigorate our appreciation for books, both our whole class novel (The Outsiders) and our independent reads.

We used Pinterest to talk about Ponyboy, because I wanted to emphasize to my students the importance of getting to the heart of a character we wanted to use in fan fiction.

Students could choose their narrator and their story line, but the spirit of their characters had to reflect SE Hinton's original gang.  I wonder if this might be an engaging way to prep kids for the next generation of Common Core assessments -- for Ohio, the PARCC narrative writing tasks, which are, of course, text dependent ;)

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