Last year, I was washing up, when I had a classroom epiphany. Gazing down at the plate in my hand, I exclaimed, That’s it!

Ooh, that’s so awesome (yes, I say the word awesome, like some kind of American extreme sports star!) I pulled off my rubber gloves and ran out of the kitchen to make a note before I could forget. My partner rolled his eyes as yet again I’d unbelievably found something that interested me more than the washing up!

I often get ideas at random times and the use of paper plates in the classroom was just one of them. I originally used paper plates as part of a character study. This activity was used as an introduction to character studies for GCSE resit learners before they commenced writing. It can work with any text and the activity is built up gradually:

1- Students are asked to find descriptions of their character in their books and depict their character on the paper plate- aim for them to draw a face but sometimes a full body is more appropriate.

2- They then take 4 white stickers and on each of them, write one of their character’s key traits.

3- They then stick their white stickers on their clothes and go around the room, mingling with all the other characters and introducing themselves in character.

4- They then take a large piece of paper, stick on their paper plate and stickers and find as many quotes that relate to their character as they can, adding notes about why the quote is important.

5- The posters are displayed somewhere, in this case, the corridor. Students peruse the information and add key character notes to their record sheets.

Creative, active and fun! My kind of activity!


A level students then used the plates for themes in Othello.They made their plate and then mingled with their peers to explain their choice and where they could already see their theme emerging in the play.

The beauty is that they’re cheap, they look great on the wall, they’re versatile and can be decorated/ written on in any way.

Just like writing on windows, tell students to write on anything other than paper and their imagination is released!

See if you can work out what these themes from Othello are:

P1060092 P1060098 P1060102 P1060082 P1060093 P1060086 P1060088 P1060087   P1060104 P1060097P1060114