CREATING CHARACTERS – Form, Texture, Facial Features

Students use modeling clay to create 3-dimensional heads that show 3 characters with different and distinct personality traits.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Visual Arts
Media Literacy

Vocabulary

3-dimensional facial features form texture

Materials

Crayola Modeling Clay - Jumbo Pack Bamboo Skewers Pencils Toothpicks

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Steps

CREATING CHARACTERS – Form, Texture, Facial Features - Step One

Step One

  1. Make 3 character heads with different and distinct personality traits.
    - think of features you can make to show each character's personality traits
  2. Choose 3 different colours of clay.
  3. Create 3 different shapes for the heads – a cuboid, an oval and a sphere.
  4. Roll small white spheres, smaller coloured spheres and tiny black spheres of clay for the eyes - 2 sets for each head.
CREATING CHARACTERS – Form, Texture, Facial Features - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Place the white spheres where the eyes should go.
  2. Press them flat.
  3. Place the coloured spheres on top of the white circles.
  4. Press them flat.
  5. Place the tiny black spheres on top of the coloured circles.
  6. Press them flat.
  7. Poke the black circles with a skewer or pencil.
  8. Smooth out the edges.
CREATING CHARACTERS – Form, Texture, Facial Features - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use a skewer to make different kinds of mouths.
    - make mouths that suit the characters' personalities
  2. Press a small piece of clay flat.
  3. Shape it into a small tongue for one of the mouths.
CREATING CHARACTERS – Form, Texture, Facial Features - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Insert the tongue into the mouth with a bamboo skewer.
  2. Press it into place.
CREATING CHARACTERS – Form, Texture, Facial Features - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Think of other details you want to add.
  2. Make sure they suit the personality traits of your character.

NOSE:

  1. Start with a small cone, teardrop or ball of clay.
  2. Pinch it into the shape you want.
  3. Stick it to the face.

EARS:

  1. Start with a small ball of clay.
  2. Flatten it and cut it in half.
  3. Curve it into a 'C' shape.
  4. Stick it to the side of the head.

HAIR:

  1. Use a flat piece of clay.
  2. Place it on the head in a style that suits your character.
  3. Add texture with a toothpick.

 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use modeling clay to create 3-dimensional heads that show 3 characters with different and distinct traits;
  • mix colours to create 3 different skin tones;
  • write a dialogue for a conversation among the 3 characters;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

Extensions

Have students:

  • work in small groups to create a How To Make Expressive Modeling Clay Characters demonstration video;
  • share their videos with another class.

Prepare

  1. Download and display the Colour, Texture and Form posters available on this website.
  2. Review character traits.
    - traits are distinctive qualities a person demonstrates by how he/she treats others, for example, being kind or mean
    - traits can be positive and negative and most characters have both aspects as part of their personality
    - the way a character looks can sometimes tell the viewer something about his/her personality traits 
  3. Gather and make available picture books such as, Book, by David W. Miles, and Natalie Hoopes; The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires; My Brother Charlie, by Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, and Shane Evans; and Bully, by Patricia Polacco.
  4. Download the Character Interview form enough for each student to have 3. (Downloads - CharacterInterview.pdf)
  5. Provide time for students to imagine 3 characters with different and distinct personality traits.
  6. Have students use the Character Interview Form to interview the characters as if they are real people. Have them think about:
    - NAME: Choose a name that is respectful of the energy and personality of your character. Think about the meaning of the name you choose. Does it fit? Does the character have a nickname?
     AGE: What are the characteristics of a person of this age?
    - APPEARANCE: Does the character care about looks? Does he/she have a favourite outfit? Is he/she usually neat or sloppy?
    - RELATIONSHIPS: What is the character's family like? Are there any problems? Do they have special customs? Does the character have a best friend? What do they like to do together?
    - PERSONALITY: What are the character's strengths, weaknesses, fears? Does he/she have special talents and hobbies? Does she/he use a unique expression when he/she is excited or upset?   
  7. Teach or review how to write a dialogue. The dialogue should:
    - include confict
    - help the reader understand the character a little better
    - provide little bits of information
    - be brief and to the point
    - sound natural
    - flow smoothly
  8. Provide time for students to practice writing dialogue.

Introduction

  1. View and discuss the illustrations in a book such as Bully, by Patricia Polacco. 
    - Choose one of the characters in the book.
    - What can you tell about this character?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?

    - How are the traits of each character suggested by their expressions and features?
    - How do the distinct traits of each character help to tell the story?
  2. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Use modeling clay to create 3-dimensional heads that show 3 characters with different and distinct traits.
  2. Mix colours to create 3 different skin tones.
  3. Write a dialogue for a conversation among the 3 characters.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    ​I know I am successful when:
    CHARACTER HEADS - 
    - there are 3 distinct characters
    - details make the traits of each character easy to see
    - there are 3 different skin colours
    - the character heads are in good condition
    DIALOGUE INCLUDES:

    - confict
    - information that helps the reader understand the character a little better
    - provides little bits of information
    - brief and to-the-point statements
    - natural sounding phrases
    - smooth flow
  3. Encourage students to let their imaginations flow.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Observe students as they work. 
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  7. Once students have completed the 3 heads have them write a dialogue for the 3 characters.
  8. Have students record their dialogue creating a different voice for each character.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to take turns presenting their work to each other:
    - Arrange the 3 character heads as if they are talking to each other.
    - Play (or read) the dialogue.

    - Discuss the things that are especially effective and why.
    - Talk about how the dialogue added to an understanding of each character's personality traits.
    - Talk about how the visual details of each character added to an understanding of their personality traits.
    - Talk about how they might use what they learned in a different way.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their characters – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds furniture to the side, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Have students 
  5. Have students write a reflection that includes things such as:
    - How they made their character heads.
    - How they decided what details to add.
    - What they like best about their characters.
    - How the dialogue matches the personality traits of each character head.
  6. Have students draw a picture of their character heads.