Grade Levels: K-3

These classroom activities are designed to complement the Character topic on BrainPOP Jr.

Character on Trial
Together with your students, discuss the antagonists, or “bad guys,” in several fairy tales or stories. How are the antagonists alike and different? What motivates them to go against the main character? What are their character traits? Select one antagonist and review what happens in the story. Then set up a mock trial in the classroom. Volunteers can play the antagonist, the main character, supporting characters as “witnesses,” and jury members. You may want to act as the judge so you can control the discussion. Have each character come up and ask questions to the antagonist. Students should question the antagonist’s motivation, reasons for his or her actions, and whether or not the antagonist changed in the course of the story.

To expand the activity, have students act out the fairy tale or story and film it. Then film the trial to create an episode of Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit. You can air or perform the play in front of family members, friends, and other classes.

Alternate Story

There are many different and updated versions of the fairy tales we learned when we were young. For example, the classic story of Cinderella is retold as a princess who does not need a prince to rescue her. Bring in modern, updated, or global versions of fairy tales and read them to the class or have students read them independently. Discuss how the tales are alike and different and how the characters have been changed. Students can write their observations down in their notebooks or in a chart.

As an extension, have students rewrite a classic fairy tale and update it to modern times. The tale can be set in their hometown or the characters can be updated, which can change the plotline. Write the story together as a class and have groups of students illustrate each page. Put the pages together to make your own “modern” fairy tale.

Character Charades

Write down the names of famous characters from books, poetry, television, and film and put the names in a box or hat. Have students draw a name and act out the character. Student volunteers can guess the character. After each turn, discuss how the students knew which character was being acted out. What clues were used? Discuss the character’s traits and how the character changes in the story.

Feeling Great about Character Traits

Have students write their name on the top of a piece of paper. Then have students pass the papers one person to the right. When students receive their neighbor’s paper, have them write down one positive trait or anecdote about the person named on the paper. Students may want to write a character trait such as funny, friendly, energetic, or hard-working, or students may want to write short phrases such as “good at soccer” or “great artist.” Encourage students to think of positive anecdotes about the person and write it down in complete sentences. Remind students that only positive traits should be listed on the paper. Pass around the papers until every person has at least ten traits listed.