Top of the pack
Ages 11 to 14
A resurgence of interest in Top Trumps, the card game, helped my pupils think about characterisation and setting in relation to a text as a whole.
I explained the conventional appearance of a Top Trumps card with its picture and table of values and showed some examples. The children's task was to design a small pack of Top Trumps for the text being studied.
Their first task was to decide, as a class, on the list of "ratings" that would appear on every card, which had to be relevant to the text. For example, "Evilness" might be included in Macbeth (cards can have any character from the text, and any key setting from the text, on them).
Pupils then decided which characters and settings they were going to put on their cards, then thought about the respective profiles they were going to create.
Provided with some card, pupils were set homework to make their Top Trumps. The follow-up activity was to bring the cards in to play the game.
However, before starting to play the game, pupils had to justify to each other why their profile on each card was as they had decided.
The game allows all to interact on a basic level with key aspects of the text
Chris Bond teaches English at Warwick School in Warwickshire.