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Point of View

Compiled By: ColoradoTeach

Various ideas to teach point of view in your reading lessons.

Point of view...
Posted by: Gisele

I do many activities along this line. Our school purchased a set of books called Point of View, I believe there are 5 classic tales done in the different characters'point of view. Goldilocks and the Three Bears /Bears Should Share, Three Billy Goats Gruff /Just a Friendly Old Troll, Jack and the Beanstalk along with its point of view story, The Little Red Hen with its different point of view and another which escapes me at the moment. They are all written by Dr. Alan Granowsky (spelling?) and come with cassettes as well as a small activity guide. The kids adore working with them and it certainly has been a fun way to teach the different point of view. Hope this helps!

turkey's point of view
Posted by: mlg

Funny you should mention that. I will be starting just such a mini-unit tomorrow with my fifth-graders. I've used it several times in the past and the kids always seem to have fun with it.

While I don't read a book about turkeys and Thanksgiving, I do get the class thinking about different points of view by first reading "The Three Little Pigs" and then the wolf's side of the story (kind of like a fractured fairy tale thing). We get started by brainstorming why the two sides differ in the telling, then the students write a short essay explaining whose version is likely to be more valid based on the "evidence" from the two stories.

After they have done that part then we discuss Thanksgiving dinner from the perspective of both the hungry participant and the turkey. Using a graphic organizer, they list reasons supporting both sides of the issue and then they write a persuasive argument from the turkey's point of view as to why turkey should not be on the menu.

As I said, the students usually have a good time with this and some of the results have been hysterical.

point of view
Posted by: Jo

I usually take a story we have just read that has an interesting event in it. Then I assign different students to be the different characters in the story and have them tell about the event from their point of view. Sometimes they describe other characters from their point of view. For example, in The Witch of Blackbird Pond I have them describe Kit from Uncle Matthew's, Aunt Rachel's, Mercy's, and William Holbrook's point of view. All of them see her very differently. The kids usually really enjoy it.

Point of view
Posted by: Jenny

This year I tried something new. I chose an object in the classroom that looked different from various angles. I let the children circle around and draw it. They didn't know why. Then we talked about the different points of view people have and discussed how everyone's picture was a little different. I then related that to story telling and we read a fairy tale together and I had them retell it from another character's point of view.

Point of View
Posted by: teach4TX

What about having your students write from an animal's point of view. You could read aloud Diary of a Worm or Diary of a Spider, and then the students could choose an animal and write a diary entry or two. I did this when we read How to Eat Fried Worms and the students loved it and were very creative with it. They could illustrate their diary entry.
Students could write a "Who Am I?" riddle on the outside of a folded piece of paper about an animal, and then create an artistic illustration of the animal on the inside of the paper (under the folded flap).
Good luck!

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Rocks and Minerals Writing Activity
Posted by: Karina

Try having your students write a mini-story from a rock's point of view telling how the rock was formed. This activity is an excellent way to teach about point of view and personification. You can make it as simple or as complex as you would like. I have done this activity for many years with children in grades 2-5, and find it to always be challenging and fun!

First, I gather a collection of different rocks (Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary). Luckily, my school's media center has a rock collection. All of the rocks are labeled with name and type. Then, I assign each student a rock. For lower ability or ESL students, I assign igneous rocks - they are the easiest to tell where/how they originated. For average students, I assign sedimentary rocks. Finally, for high ability or gifted students, I assign metamorphic rocks, which have much more abstract origins. Then, I tell each student the name and type of rock they will be writing about. I might also tell them a little about how the rock was formed,or I might ask them to research to find out the origins. Next, it's their turn to write a story from the rock's point of view, detailing how they were "born". Example:

I was comfortably asleep in my home, when suddenly it started to rumble, shake, and roar. I woke up and looked around to see all my other family members looking around with fear. "Here we go again," I heard my grandfather say. The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air. Smoke and the sun's rays were in my eyes. I couldn't see where I was going, but I knew my body was changing. I was no longer a metamorphic rock, I had become pumice, an igneous rock that cools very quickly while flying through the air during a volcanic eruption. This was terrible! A few years ago, a cousin of mine had become pumice, and now he was being used to scrub the feet of humans! Finally, I landed in close to a river, which made me feel better. If only I could become sediment in the cool, river bottom. Now that would be the life.

This was written by a fifth grade student. But be forewarned: Don't expect this kind of work from everyone. The students can then illustrate their stories, and you can bind them together in a class book. I titled mine "Rocky Autobiographies". Finally, place it in the classroom library for all to enjoy over and over again!

Posted by: CQ

My class uses R.A.F.T. Writing. We usually have one major writing topic a week and quick-writes several times a week. In 5th grade we focus a lot on voice & style & vocabulary.

One such quick-write might say:

Turning Your Voice

The following short writing assignments will help you tune your voice. Describe each of the following experiences, things, or objects from a different perspective. Try to assume the role of each person, thing, or object. How would he or she describe things?

Topic 1
A piece of cheese cake
a. Describe it from the point of view of the cheese cake that is going to be eaten.
b. Describe it from the point of view of the person who is going to eat the cheese cake.

Topic 2
A deer
a. Describe it from the point-of-view of a hunter.
b. Describe it from the point-of-view of an animal rights activist.

Topic 3
A heavy metal rock concert
a. Describe it from the point-of-view of a seventy-year-old grandmother.
b. Describe it from the point-of-view of the sixteen-year-old grandchild.

Topic 4
A turkey
a. Describe the holidays from the point-of-view of the person who is preparing the holiday dinner.
b. Describe it from the point-of-view of the holiday turkey.

The kids really get into their "roles".

point of view
Posted by: pmpkin

I recently came across the most amazing book for point of view called Voices in the Park. It tells about a trip to a park as told from the point of four different characters so you get the same story told four different ways. It is really quite interesting.

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Point of View
Posted by: Tatha

I agree that Voices in the Park is a wonderful book for point of view as well as the voice writing trait (6+1 writing traits). Also, "The True Story of 3 Little Pigs" would be great to use too. It tells the story of the 3 little pigs from the wolf's point of view.

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Another Point of View Flip Books
Posted by: solidnsb

I just ordered four classic tale "flip" books by well-known author Dr. Alvin Granowsky. He wrote numerous classic children's tales from a new perspective! One "flip" book with two viewpoints. For example, The Three Billy Goats Gruff/Just a Friendly Old Troll or Goldilocks and the Three Bears/Bears Should Share! Contains the traditional tale and -- on the flip side -- a humorous new version from another character's perspective or point of view. Even the illustrations underscore two differing perspectives. These books are a great way to introduce point of view. After reading one of the books to my students, they begged me to read more of these flip books and they often choose to read these books independently during Self-Selected Reading.

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Another good book to use...
Posted by: Tatha

is "Polar the Titantic Bear," written by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden. This is actually a true story that the author wrote for her only son, Douglas. This story is about a stuffed animal named Polar and how he came into Douglas' life. The story is written from the bear's perspective. Their adventures include sailing on the Titantic. This book is really cute, and includes authentic photographs as well as illustrations.

Possible Activity: You could have your students bring their favorite stuffed animal from home, and you could read this story to them. As a writing activity, you could have them write a story (from their stuffed animal's point of view) about how they came into that particular's student's life, just like Polar the bear came into Douglas' life.

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visual perspective
Posted by: MissO

I always like to start point of view with an actual visual representation (seeing the same thing from two different perspectives). There are a couple of great picture books for this - Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg and Livingstone Mouse by Pamela Duncan Edwards.

I read the book to the kids and we talk about how the ordinary items (kitchen sink, sneaker, etc.) would appear "normal" size to us but seem huge to the ants or the mouse. Then I have them choose an object to draw from two different points of view.

This works if you have visual kids - and it's a good introduction to the term "point of view."

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Other ideas
Posted by: sonshine

How about "A Boy in the Doghouse" by Betsy Duffy? Its chapters alternate between the boy's and the dog's point of view. (Each is trying to "train" the other--and-in the end-they BOTH think they have succeeded.

I used to read Beverly Cleary's books to my third graders and one year when I was reading Henry and the Clubhouse I had the students right the episode of Henry being locked in the clubhouse from Ramona's point of view! (In the book, you see the incident from Henry's.)

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