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Home/Curriculum resources/Interpretations of Dreaming stories in text/Activity 2 – Character portrait of the Rainbow Serpent



Year level:

Level 4

Required resources:

The Rainbow Serpent by Dick (Goobalathaldin) Roughsey, Warnayarra: the rainbow snake by Pamela Lofts

Karlu Karlu

Activity 2 – Character portrait of the Rainbow Serpent

This activity is a part of the Interpretations of Dreaming stories in text resource.

Karlu Karlu, Warumungu country, Northern Territory. Photographer: John White Photos. Source: Getty Images. Used under licence.

Creating a character Portrait of the Rainbow Serpent, students engage with the Rainbow Serpent story by writing a passage that describes its appearance, behavior, significance, and its evolving relationship with the story's characters.

Step by Step guide 

Step 1: Read the story

Students can read a version of the Rainbow Serpent story, or students can listen to the teacher reading the story aloud or watch a video recording of the story being read aloud.

Step 2: Write a character description

Students can then write a passage describing the character of the Rainbow Serpent. Students can describe the appearance and behaviour of the Rainbow Serpent, and its significance and the role it plays in water within the story. Students can describe the way the people in the story respond to the Rainbow Serpent, and how their relationship with it changes as the story progresses. 

Step 3: Other possible options

In pairs students can swap their character portrait with another student. Students can read each other’s work and then write a paragraph using metalanguage to express observations about how their partner described the Rainbow Serpent. For example, ‘Your use of the adjectives “large and colourful” helps the reader to imagine what the Rainbow Serpent looks like’. 

Students could use the Picture Quilt template to draw their description of the Rainbow Serpent and write their descriptive words around the outside. This could then be displayed as a whole class Picture Quilt on a wall.

Related activities within this resources:

Karlu Karlu

Inquiry-based learning questions

These inquiry-based questions are provided for flexible classroom use, allowing teachers to tailor discussion and reflections specific to their classroom needs.

Karlu Karlu

Activity 1 – Comparing different interpretations of the Rainbow Serpent

Comparing Rainbow Serpent Interpretations, students compare 'The Rainbow Serpent' by Dick Roughsey and 'Warnayarra: the rainbow snake' by Pamela Lofts.

Required resources:

The Rainbow Serpent by Dick (Goobalathaldin) Roughsey , Warnayarra: the rainbow snake by Pamela Lofts

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