Worksheet: Understanding characters
Predict what will happen in this story. Look at the front cover of this issue of Touchdown! Check the word of the month on the contents page. Justify your prediction using evidence from the image and connection to the word of the month.
How does the Word of the month, Metamorphosis, connect with the narrative ‘I am still Anna?’ Write a paragraph outlining your answer.
Compare your prediction with the summary – what did you get right? What surprised you in the story?
Perform a hot seating activity. Three students can be selected to be in the hot seat for Anna.
- The first person is to be Anna at the start of the story
- The second person is to be Anna just after she has realized that Mia has discovered her secret
- The third person is to be Anna at the end of the story.
A further three students can be selected to be in the hot seat for Mia at the same three points in the story.
The rest of the class should prepare a range of questions to ask each character at the different points in the story. The person in the hot seat must try to imagine how their character would respond at that point in time.
Extension Task. After the hot seating activity, select either Anna or Mia at one of the three moments in the story. Imagine you are that character at that point, write a diary entry expressing your innermost thoughts and feelings about the situation, and what you are going to do next.
Imagery is a technique that uses words to paint a picture in the mind of the reader. This story carries the theme of spiders and weaving throughout using imagery. Identify and highlight three examples of ‘spider imagery’ from the story.
Discuss: What is the purpose of using this technique in the story?
Draw one of the examples of imagery you have highlighted. Think about your composition – salience, colour, framing, angle.
Discuss: What is the message about friendship that is conveyed in the story?
Are there any other lessons about life that can be gleaned from this story?
Can you give examples from the story that support your ideas?
Can you relate these lessons with other real-life situations or other stories you have read in the past?
Sample answers: The story shows that supporting friends is important and that people should value friendship over differences. Another lesson that can be seen in the story is about accepting diversity and difference in the community. People should accept others and their identities, and not discriminate against others. Anna’s experience could also suggest that people should not hide who they really are, because true friends will not be judgmental. Anna says ‘best friends shouldn’t hide things from each other.’
We weave secrecy around ourselves like a web
Use this line from the story as the beginning of your own story. Plan your story, think about the following:
- Who is the character that is narrating?
- What is the secret they are hiding from the world
- Why do they need to ‘weave secrecy’ around them?
- What happens in the end?
Choose one of the following themes (or come up with your own):
Brainstorm images, objects and ideas related to the chosen theme. You could write a list or draw a mindmap.
Add a second layer to your brainstorm – add some similes, metaphors, personification to your mindmap – these should related to the images, objects and ideas from the previous task.
Use the imagery you have developed in your brainstorming to compose a poem. The aim is to paint a picture in the mind of the people who read your poem.
Choose one of your two piece of writing – the story or the poem – and edit your own work. Check to make sure you have used interesting language techniques, varied sentence types, more sophisticated words (for example instead of using the word ‘cross’ you could use another more specific word like ‘furious’). Check and alter your language choices to improve your work before publishing it using word processing software on a device. You should choose an appropriate font and may like to include a border and an image – which can be hand drawn.