Beloved character, Atticus Finch, from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, offers the sage wisdom to, “climb into someone else’s skin and walk around in it” (Lee) So how can we implement this advice with our students in the classroom? Specifically, with our Language Arts classrooms?
First, we must ask ourselves, ‘how does this generation get to know one another?’ The answer? Social media. Students have learned from a young age how to market themselves online.
So how do we guide students to become intimately acquainted with the characters we read about? How do we help those characters to jump off of the page to students with unlimited access to everything and a dwindling imagination because of this? We reignite that imagination by bringing those characters to us today. We’re going digital!
There’s a few different options for implementing social media with the exploration of characters. There’s pre-made Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram templates that students are able to design from their character’s point of view.
Students are assigned the task to create their character’s profile. This means using their reading skills and imagination to choose a profile picture that suits their character, listing out personal information, including age, location, and relationship status, and creating realistic statuses that their character would be likely to post. There’s opportunities to become even more involved and do more character analysis when characters interact with one another. For instance, a student would create a status update that they would
then have another character reply to. This requires students to really get to know their character and go in the mind of their character, in a way, it is role playing.
In the past, I have had student collaborate with one another after setting up their character’s profile. They were required to find a peer with a different character, and together create a dialogue between the characters that they would then ‘post’ to their character’s profile. In this scenario, students really need to delve into their character’s persona because they aren’t controlling the entire conversation and need to carefully consider how their character would respond.
In order for our students to learn, we need to adapt our teaching methods. In this case, were allowing our students to use a medium that they are familiar with to explore and deepen their knowledge of a character. Ultimately, when a student understands a character, they are able to understand their motives and their reading becomes that much more meaningful.
If you are interested in booking an online workshop to learn more about incorporating social media into literacy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.