Sunday, September 30, 2012

Barbara's Back With a GREAT Character Role-Play!

The last Sunday of the month is here again {whew...it's going by quickly} which means that....

Barbara's Back!

I LOVE this idea!  Simple, quick, and easy to set up, but what a powerful tool!!!


Stereotyping Roles by Barbara Gruener

If you want to elevate empathy in your students for those who get stuck in a stereotype, why not try this role-play game. 
You will need six student volunteers and a role card 
(like those pictured below) for each one. 

Photo of Stereotype Role Play cards

Glue your role cards with instructions to a plastic visor so that students can't see what role they're playing but the other participants in the semi-circle can. Use roles like: 
The ESL Student (speak loudly and slowly to me) 
The Popular Student (agree with me and follow my lead)
The Nerd (put down everything I say)
The Class Clown (laugh at everything I say & do)
The New Student (ignore me)
The Troublemaker (shush me or tell me to be quiet). 

Tell students that they're going to have a discussion with one another to plan their group's next service project. Whom do they want to help and why? During the activity, they are to treat one another according to the directions that they see on each other's visors as they talk and plan. Randomly call on one of your group members to start the discussion. Expect some laughter, some confusion, and possibly some hurt feelings. Stop the conversation after a few minutes, then see if participants can guess who they are by how others reacted to them. Let them process how it felt to be treated like that. 

When I first participated in this one, I was assigned the ESL student and it was really frustrating when the other group members acted like I couldn't comprehend anything they were saying as they repeated things slowly and loudly.

Once students run through this exercise and thoroughly reflect about it, find out what other stereotype cards they might add. Then change discussion topics and try it again. Or take it on the road and lead it with a buddy class or for the faculty at your next faculty meeting.

For more character-infusion ideas, visit me at 





Head on over and check out Barbara's blog!  You'll be so glad you did!

Enjoy :)





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  1. I love this Michelle!!! What an awesome idea! I teach 5th grade, but as each year passes I feel like my kids get older and older in terms of their attitude and (lack of) kindness towards each other. It's like 10 going on 16 some days! No matter how many talks we have, doing activities like this are so much more meaningful in driving the point home. Thanks SO much for sharing!

    YoungTeacherLove 5th Grade Blog

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  3. This is such a great post! I can't wait to work it into our Advisory Program! Thank you so much! Having them use these roles in a planning session is a great way to get them to really buy into it instead of just goofing around.

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