Lesson Planning Pack

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Lesson Planning Pack
Each pack in this new series contains a set of four videos on a specific topic. Two of the videos are Lesson Starters for use in the classroom, one is a Great Lesson Idea introduced by a teacher and the other is a Teaching Support video, covering professional development related to covering this topic. The pack contains written resources linked to the topic.
Pack Title: Literacy

This Lesson Planning Pack for primary literacy focuses on story starts. It includes resources developed for teachers and pupils to support characterisation.

Lesson Starter 1 - Character Glimpses


This lesson starter has been created to support the teaching of characterisation at KS1 and KS2. It features ‘glimpses’ of 3 pairs of characters, each with an individual soundtrack that suggests what they might be like (happy, angry, mysterious etc). These visual and audio clues can be used as a stimulus to encourage pupils to develop their own ideas about who they think the characters are, what they are like (based on costumes and behaviour), what they are thinking and feeling, and the kinds of stories they might feature in.

In the lesson starter, the characters are presented in pairs, which are loosely associated with story types such as an adventure story (a pirate and a fortune teller), a fairytale (a fairy and a country boy), and a contemporary/mystery story (a young boy and an amateur detective). But the aim of ‘Glimpses’ is to provide enough ambiguity to encourage children’s imaginations to flow freely.
SOUND AND IMAGE – play the soundtrack to ‘Character Glimpses’

(either just the first pair or all the way through?)

  • What do the children think the characters are like based on the music?

  • What adjectives can they come up with to describe the music?

WATCH CHARACTER GLIMPSES - (perhaps up until the first set of questions?)

Divide the class in half and have one side looking at the male character and one at the female character:

  • Who do the children think the first 2 pair of characters are, based on the visual clues offered? (Pirate & Fortune Teller)

  • What names can they suggest would be appropriate for these characters?

  • What are the characters like? Why do they think this?

  • What are the characters thinking?

  • What are the characters feeling?

  • Where are they?

  • What are they doing?

  • What is their story?

  • What other characters are in their story?

  • What happens next…?

Continue watching the next pair of characters OR develop the first pair through a writing activity or drama activity such as hot seating.

Once the children are familiar with all the characters, perhaps they could develop stories in which different pairs of characters feature, for example, the fairy and the pirate? The fortune teller and the hooded boy?

Lesson Starter 2 : Character Viewpoints


Using a familiar setting, the ball scene in the Cinderella Fairytale, this lesson starter is designed to support the teaching of characterisation at KS2, linking with the schemes of work for Years 4 and 5. It can be used as a stimulus to explore the differences between characters; what you can tell about them from their clothing and behaviour; what they think and feel; and how and why characters change during a story.

The video starts at the beginning of the evening. The prince is nervous. He uses the royal video diary room to share his thoughts and feelings about the ball (he’s not looking forward to it, especially after last year), and as the night unfolds, he returns to the diary room to talk about what is happening on the dance floor. His diary entries are juxtaposed with those of one of the ugly sisters, who begins the evening very excited and hopeful, but whose night is ruined when a mystery girl in glass slippers gatecrashes the event (off camera)…

Divide the class in two, getting one group to focus on the male character and one on the female character. Watch the film with the sound off.

  • Who are the characters?

  • What can you tell about what they are like from the way they dress and their body language/facial expressions?

  • How do they change during the course of the video/evening?


In the same groups, watch the film with the sound on.

  • Were your predictions correct?

  • What can you tell about the two characters from what they say?

  • What do the two characters think and feel about the ball?

  • What do the two characters think and feel about each other?

  • What do the two characters think and feel about the mystery girl?

  • How and why are their perspectives different?

  • What do you think happens next?


  • Hot seat the Prince and the Ugly Sister

  • Hot seat Cinderella

  • Write about the ball from the perspective of the Prince

  • Write about the ball from the perspective of the Ugly Sister

  • Write about the ball from the perspective of Cinderella

  • Continue the story from where the Prince leaves the video diary room

Great Lesson Idea – Character Detectives


Year 4 teacher, Samantha Saville, at Stratton C of E Primary School, presents her Character Detective lesson. The purpose of the lesson is to help her pupils develop characters for their imaginary world stories about recycling.

At the start of the lesson, every group has a character case full of clues – these might be images, words, or symbols such as thought bubbles, hearts and speech bubbles. They are differentiated according to the groups’ abilities – and each case has a different character, to make it more fun when they share their ideas at the end.
Sam begins by modelling how she wants the children to interpret the clues that they find in their character cases. Next, the children get into character as detectives (by miming putting on detective clothing!). Then, working in groups, they investigate the clues in their cases.
The main part of the lesson is the discussion between children about the clues they find, but they also have a worksheet to fill in with prompts to help them develop their ideas about what the characters are thinking, feeling and saying, as well as what they might be called and what they might be like.
At the end of the lesson, the groups feedback their ideas, and these will then form the basis of the characters that will appear in their independent stories.

Teaching Support - Story Starts


In this video, three KS2 teachers share their strategies for encouraging pupils to write stories, focusing on HOOKS, STORY PLANNING, and CHARACTERISATION AND SETTING.

Ideas mentioned include:

  • How to hook children into to story writing by using film at the start of lessons, or by transforming your classroom (turning the classroom upside down or dislodging a ceiling tile…)

  • The benefits of story mapping (part of Talk for Writing) and teaching children to write according to a 5-part plan

  • Encouraging children to be very hands-on when creating settings (for example, making them out of plasticine)

  • Getting children to walk and talk like a character (or in the style of the author).

And many more…
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