Setup for Mystery Person Contest
Have everyone write a page describing a well-known person or character without naming who that person is. The idea is to describe the person/character in such detail that everyone will recognize who it is. While you don't want students to create a cryptic riddle no one will be able to guess, you also want them to move beyond "He's the President of the United States." The idea is to describe the person's physical attributes, personal characteristics, actions, etc. so that his/her classmates will recognize who you have chosen. Stress putting this character or person in action. For example, it would be pointless to describe Michael Jordan as a "tall, bald African American man" -- that could be many people --without describing the way he moves, which reveals something singular about him. When they are finished, have them read them out loud and se how effectively they have described their person/character. If no one recognized him/her, then the student has either picked someone incredibly obscure or will hopefully realize that their powers of description could use a little work. Have them decide whose description should be the winner -- some people really do a wonderful job with this, providing entertaining and detailed sketches.