In order to learn about character traits, motivations, and analysis, my students spend time creating fake Facebook profiles for their favorite book or movie characters.
The profile template was made using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. To make the student creation process run more smoothly, I took the image that I created with Adobe and set it as a background in a one-slide Google Presentation. (To do this, go to Slide menu > Change background, and drop in your image. By setting an image as a background it cannot be accidentally moved around.) After, I added in text boxes where I wanted the students to type. Finally, I saved the presentation as a template so the students could access my work as a starting point. (To save a Google file as a template, access your files > right-click on your file of choice > Submit to template gallery. After, copy the template’s link and share it with your students.)
The students create their profiles by typing into the text boxes and dragging photographs into their proper spots. Although a book or movie might not contain all of the necessary information for a complete Facebook profile, the students are asked to create realistic profiles based on what they know about their characters. We also incorporate mini-lessons on (1) writing from different points of view, (2) writing with voice and tone, and (3) constraining the proportions of images when resizing them.
After all of the profiles are created they are printed out and hung around the classroom. The students then engage in a gallery walk in which they analyze each other’s profiles through the use of a handout, which can be found here. The handout consists of five questions, and the students are asked to answer each question with the use of a different profile. However, the students are also encouraged to take their time in exploring all of the profiles that are hung up. Finally, we come back together as a class and the students use their written work to discuss each profile, one at a time. For the most part, discussion focuses on what can be inferred about a character based on his or her profile.
Please discuss how you have been able to leverage “fake” social media in your classroom, any unique ways in which your students engage in character analysis, or any thoughts at all!
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