article by Karen Wasson , photo by Alamy

Learning Intention:


I am learning to use factual information to create a character so that I can compose a short narrative.


Success Criteria:

  • I can use facts to inform my character development
  • I can plan a story using a narrative structure
  • I can write a story in which I deliberately position the reader to feel a certain way about a character.


Essential knowledge:


Information on characterisation in narratives can be found in the English Textual Concepts video on Character on The School Magazine website.



Understanding text:


After reading ‘Firehawk’ ask students to create a dot point summary in which the behaviours of firehawks are listed.


In pairs or threes, students are to compare their lists and make sure they haven’t missed any vital information. In pairs (or threes), students should discuss which information about firehawks surprised them the most. Students can report back to the class and compare ideas.


Creating text:


Students are to compose a narrative in which the story is told from the perspective of a Firehawk. To begin, they should develop a character. In order to do this, they can follow the steps outlined below:

  • Develop a character – choose one of the individual birds pictured in the article as your main character.
  • View the short video about developing Character on The School Magazine website.
  • Complete a character profile using the template below:






How others view them












Discuss the structure of a narrative with the class. Project a Freytag’s pyramid diagram onto the board. Students should also refer back to their character profile to remind themselves of the firehawk’s goals and motivations. Consider the other characters required to complete the story and list those as part of the plan.

Allow students time to write their stories, referring back to their plans during the writing process.


Assessment for/as learning:


Encourage students to complete a self-assessment by annotating their story. Ask students to:

  • Circle or outline an extract where they have developed a connection between the firehawk character and the reader.
  • Underline an example of where they have used dialogue to show something about their character’s feelings.
  • Put an asterisk next to a paragraph where they have developed some suspense or excitement.