In the age of technology and social media, it's hard to find a student who doesn't have a Facebook page. The interesting thing about this is that students will spend hours updating statuses and creating the perfect page that represents themselves. There are so many items that Facebook allows you to show about yourself. You can put in your favorite music, TV shows, movies, books, quotes, as well as your other personal information. You can add pictures and videos as well as update your status for every important (or unimportant) thing going on in your life. Having students create a page for a literary character can be the best way to test your students' knowledge of a character while having a little fun.
Creating the Page
Creating the page for the assigned character will be easy for your students. Just have them create a new, free email address that they will use only for this page. Then, have them sign up for Facebook as their character. The rest is up to the students. Have them add all of the different items you want them to add in the profile, and watch the characters come to life. You can even have several students create pages for several characters in a book and have them friend each other and comment on each other's profiles.
This can be used as a formative assignment as the novel is being read in class. To do this, have the students create their profiles and update them as the book progresses. You can require a certain number of updates at certain periods of the book, but the end result will be awesome. When you are finished reading the book, you will have profiles for characters that reflect what they did during the entire novel. Then, you can use these as study guides or examples for future classes.
If you don't want to spend a lot of time on this assignment, you can assign it as a final project after the book is over. Have the students create their profiles and add things to them. These, however, would not be as in-depth as profiles that are updated as the novel is progressing. You could also put students into groups and have each student take on the role of a different character. As stated above, have the group friend each other and comment on each other's profiles. This will create a great learning experience for all the students in that they need to comment and react to updates as the character would have done.
Fakebook is a great alternative to creating an entirely new Facebook page for a character. If you do a web search for "fakebook," you will find it. It is a web-based program that allows students to create multiple Facebook pages without having to go through the process of signing up for Facebook. This can give you many more options to create an assignment that is a little more difficult than just creating one profile. You can have them create profiles for every character if you want. This is a great idea to use in lieu of a test or larger project.
Of course, Facebook pages are not only for literary characters. History teachers can use this idea for their students to create pages for famous, historical people. Science and math teachers can have their students create pages for famous scientists and mathematicians, or even to personify famous equations. The possibilities are truly endless.