Role on the Wall
I am loving this new strategy I learned from the resource teacher at my school. Before I get into explaining it, here are some links I found online- go here, and here.
This is a great way to get students to think about perspective and the influences life puts on people. You can use this to develop characters when the students are writing, or when they are creating a drama. It also works very well for a reading strategy to get students to think about the characters as real people.
I started my lesson by giving a group of 5-6 students this picture.
To start with, we didn't discuss the picture at all, I just asked the students to recreate the picture in a tableau exactly as they saw it. I walked around and helped groups as needed. The groups practiced freezing and maintaining their concentration and then we had a gallery walk where each group remained frozen while the other students walked around and checked them out as if they were statues.
As a class we discussed what the picture could be about and most of the students understood that it was supposed to be Harriet Tubman leading a group of slaves to freedom. We then talked about each person in the picture and what their role might be. As the students froze back into their tableaus I walked around and did a "tap in" tableau- I would tap a student on the shoulder, they would come to life and I would ask them a questions that they would answer in role. I asked things like, "What are you feeling?", "Where are you going?", "What are you thinking about?"
Don't worry!! We are getting to the role on the wall strategy!
I had the groups sit back down and displayed an outline of the picture we had used for the tableau. As a class we worked together as I first modelled the role on the wall strategy. Here is what we did together:
I highlighted the central, Harriet Tubman, figure and on the inside of the character we wrote down all the ideas that reflected who that character would be as a person, their characteristics, values, etc. According to www.bbc.co.uk a role on the wall diagram can include:
- how the character feels about him/herself
- how the character feels about other people
- what other people think about the character
- his/her likes and dislikes
- his/her history
- his/her dreams or regrets
This information can be very detailed, or just jottings of single words that describe your character.
On the outside we brainstormed all the things that affected the character, outside influences, societal pressures, etc. I think it turned out rather well. Here is the example from my 2nd class. It's always interesting to me that that same activity can produce different results from 2 classes...fun.
The next step was to give each group an outline of the picture but with a different character highlighted!
I had the groups pass around their pages so the other groups could add ideas to it as well, and to get a look the ideas others had brainstormed. Then I took all the ideas and put them together on a single chart to display in the class for the rest of February and Black History Month.
I can't wait to use this strategy again! The possibilities are endless.