The characters of Lewis Carroll

The characters of Lewis Carroll

A sculpture trail of characters from Lewis Carroll's two Alice books in Llandudno is the inspiration for this lesson plan. Students will research characters from Caroll’s books, improvise meetings with their chosen or given characters and individuals from other books, films or video games. They will then develop their improvisations into a written script pitched at a performance for younger children.

Research characters, improvise a scene, write a script, evaluate, edit and revise, rehearse and perform. It's as simple as that.

Key Stage:

KS 2 English


This lesson can be used to:
- start a drama project.
- help develop writing skills particularly writing for an audience with a lower reading age.
- begin an investigation into the writings of the author Lewis Carroll.
- to start a local history project
The lesson activity supports the Spoken Language section of the programme of study stipulating that pupils have ‘opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences…’.
It also fosters the development of the years 5/6 requirements that pupils should develop the ability to;
Vary the pace and develop the viewpoint through the use of direct and reported speech portrayal of action and selection of detail.
Show imagination through the language used to create emphasis, humour, atmosphere or suspense.
Reflect independently and critically on their own writing and edit and improve it.

<b> Background - The Author - Lewis Carroll </b>

Background - The Author - Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll's real name was Charles Dodgson and he lived in Oxford for most of his life. It is likely that the idea for Alice in Wonderland came from a rowing trip on a tributary of the River Thames. Immediately after publication in 1865 it became a world wide success. Numerous towns claimed a connection to Carroll including Llandudno. It is just possible he was inspired by parts of the north Wales town, but a 1933-statue which suggests he devised Wonderland during "happy ramblings" with Alice on the beach is almost certainly wrong.
<b> The Alice books </b>

The Alice books

‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ was first published in 1865 and has been in print ever since. A sequel, ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’, followed in 1871. Both stories involve Alice entering a surreal fantasy world, either by following a talking rabbit down a rabbit hole or climbing through a melting mirror.
<b> Background - The Illustrator - John Tenniel</b>

Background - The Illustrator - John Tenniel

The illustrations drawn by Sir John Tenniel for the first edition of Alice in Wonderland remain the best known. His drawings for both books have become some of the most famous literary illustrations. His treatment of the Queen of Hearts appears modelled on a renaissance painting by Quentin Matsys in the National Gallery, London. As well as illustrating the Alice books he worked as a political cartoonist.

A Sculpture Near You

Llandudno is one of many towns making the most of a link with Carrol, and a sculpture trail of characters from the two Alice books has been one of its tourist attractions since 2012.
In this short film a group of young people from Llandudno look at the sculptures.

Watch the film and list the characters featured on the sculpture trail.

Character assessments

Split the class into groups of four and either randomly select, or let them choose, one of the following characters to research; Alice, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter. Worksheets for each are available below.

Download Character_sheets.pdf

Suggested Classroom Activity cont

Explain the task using the example completed sheet, Tweedles.pdf. Show how the questions on the sheet were answered by searching for references to ‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee’ in the wiki source version of ‘Through the Looking Glass’.

Download ExampleTweedles.pdf

Suggested Classroom Activity cont

We have produced a worksheet with handy extracts from the original to help students research their chosen character. These were derived from the copyright free version of the 1865 edition.

Download ExtractsFor CharacterProfiles.pdf
<b> Suggested Classroom Activity cont</b>

Suggested Classroom Activity cont

Now ask them to think up a scene where their chosen character meets someone from another book they have read or film they have seen. Alternatively you could restrict them to characters from a book the whole class are currently reading together. They should talk over how they would react and what would happen.
Now get each group to perform an improvised scene and the rest of the class make constructive suggestions for improvement.
<b> Final Performance</b>

Final Performance

Now task the groups with reworking their improvisations for them to successfully work as mini-dramas for a younger audience of year 1 children.

They write their resulting idea out as a script and exchange with another group to get further feedback.

Ask a year 1 or mixed year KS1 teacher if they would like their class to see the scenes performed.

Development Activity:

With the information gathered so far, what celeb with a local connection might merit such a sculpture trail in your area?

Learning Objectives:

Through using this lesson plan students should:
-Show imagination through the language used to create emphasis, humour, atmosphere or suspense.
- Learn to vary the pace and develop the viewpoint through the use of direct and reported speech portrayal of action and selection of detail.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan