This longer, learner center-focused activity can be used in an English class and is based on one of the class’s reading requirements, such as Catcher in the Rye or Great Gatsby. This lesson plan would be most appropriate for students in grade levels 9 and 10. This plan involves the use of two different tools: Explain Everything http://www.morriscooke.com/applications-ios/explain-everything-2 and twitter https://twitter.com. For the purpose of this plan, I am assuming that the students have already created a Twitter account for this class. Explain Everything is an iPad and iPhone application that allows the user to design an animated character. The user can also add audio – to give the allusion that the character is talking – as well as a background photo.
After a class discussion of the book or particular chapters in the book, students will work in groups of three to add an additional, fictitious character to the story (each group will share one device). This is a character who is not in the book but would make a great addition to the plot of the story. This brainstorming process in itself requires a student’s in-depth understanding of the story and will encourage them to think critically about the dynamics of the existing characters. Using an iPad or iPhone, the students will then utilize the application Explain Everything to bring this character to life. The students will design the appearance of the character, add a background based on the story’s location, and add audio so that the character can “talk” about his or her life. The animated character must discuss the highlights of her life (where is she from, hobbies, etc.) as well as her relationship to the other characters in the book. After each group had completed this assignment, students will take turns visiting other groups so that they can each share their fictitious characters with other members of the class.
How will this help students?
This activity will encourage critical thinking concerning the characters and plot of the book. The use of Explain Everything and Twitter will motivate students to think creatively and thoughtfully about their fictitious characters.