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Friday, February 28, 2014

Teaching Point of View

We have been busy working on point of view, and most specifically, on how an author's point of view impacts how a story is written or told.  I loved some of the activities we did, and I'm excited to share them with you!

We started the unit by creating an anchor chart together. (Are you shocked!?)

Point of View Anchor Chart
My students had an idea of what point of view was, but they needed to solidify their understanding of the types of third person point of view and well as second person point of view.  We have referenced this chart (and the foldable they made) SO.MUCH. during this unit. 

Then, we did one of my favorite activities of the unit!  I grabbed pictures off of the internet (I can't share them here because they weren't public domain.  I typed in things like "learning to ride a bike" and "scored a soccer goal.")  and glued them each to a piece of large construction paper.  I separated the page into five different sections.  Perspectives, First Person Point of View, and then the three types of Third Person point of view.

Point of View Activity with Pictures!
We talked about how similar perspective and point of view are, but that they are still a little bit different.    The students got into pairs and were assigned one of the pictures.  The first round, they wrote all the different perspectives that were possible in the picture.  Then, they rotated to a new picture, and they all wrote a brief narrative of what was happening in the picture in first person point of view using one of the perspectives they had identified.  We rotated around until they all had practice writing in each of the points of view.  The students truly enjoyed this point of view activity, and it was a good way to help them see the difference between perspective and point of view.

This was a favorite picture for my students.  There were some great perspectives here, and they had fun with it.
Update: After many requests, I have created a FREE printable version of this activity!  You can download it for free at my TpT store by clicking HERE.  The pictures aren't the same, but they should still elicit some great discussion!  There are two differentiated versions as well as Google access.  Enjoy!

I recently created a new resource to use after they had worked through this collaborative activity!  I have had such great success with teaching reading skills with pictures that I created a resource that incorporates pictures with reading skills!  For our point of view unit, here are the two that we did together.  There are three more in the packet that they worked on individually and during reading rotations.

You can see more about these point of view activities HERE.

Then, I did some work with small groups.  We used a short (53 second) clip from Toy Story (You can see it on YouTube HERE).  We watched it several times, and we discussed the different perspectives that each of the main characters in the clip had.  Then, we did some more writing, and we rewrote the scene in first and third person.  For kids who were still struggling, instead of generating the words, I quickly wrote paragraphs for them to identify the correct point of view and perspective.  It was an easy way to differentiate, and it helped drive home some ideas about how different points of view and different perspectives can have an effect on how a story is told.
Using Toy Story to teach Point of View & Perspective

You can download the differentiated pages for free HERE.  You will need to watch the clip with your class in order the use them.

We had a 20 minute block of time to use some task cards, so I pulled out my Point of View Task Cards, and we got busy!  We actually used them with board games, and the kids had a blast.  You can read about how I used board games with task cards over at my Task Card Blog, but here is a look at the task cards.  They are differentiated, and you can use them for different proficiency levels, or for scaffolding.  One set includes simple sentences, another includes paragraphs, and the last set includes types of writing, and students must identify the point of view from which it is most likely written.  Each group turned in a recording sheet, so it was an easy way to assess where they stood. These cards generated some great discussion in class!

You can purchase the Differentiated Point of View Task Cards at my TpT Store HERE.

**This year, I added in a new activity during small groups that was just amazing for getting students to see how different perspectives can influence a writer!  I purchased a few copies of the short picture book Voices in the Park (click the affiliate link to see it on Amazon!).  This book is just absolutely phenomenal.  It follows four different individuals during their day at the park.  There is the grouchy lady, the shy and lonely young boy, the happy girl, and the sad man.  They each share their perspective of their time at the park-- all of which, of course, are very different.  It is a quick read, but so rich in detail.  We read it all together, and then the students completed a super brief graphic organizer that helped them to see the different perspectives and how they were all woven together.

You can purchase the book HERE.
You can download the accompanying sheet for free HERE.

*NEW! If you're teaching point of view and perspective to 4th-6th graders, I would HIGHLY recommend incorporating paired passages into your teaching of these concepts.  I created these in some super fun formats to make it extra engaging for your students.  There are point of view and perspective task cards, brochures, and flip books! Click any of the images below to learn more.

Finally, we are still working on an assessment.  The students each selected a "meaty"picture book. They read it, and now they are doing some analysis of the narrator, the point of view that the narrator wrote from, and how the book would be different from a different character's point of view.  

Update:  We finished our assessment!  The students loved it.  Here is how they completed the assessment.

Here is the board with all of the information I gave them to complete their fun flip-flap book.  This really got them thinking!

Here are a few of the finished products.  I also turned my rather ugly board into a printable assignment sheet.  There are two options... one is just for reference and one has enough room for students to do some brainstorming on it!  For the final products, though, the students used a large piece of construction paper.

If you'd like to grab these free printables (the ones picture in green and pink above), just enter your email address to subscribe to my newsletter.  They'll show up in your inbox immediately!

**Updated March 2017.  Affiliate links to book added.


  1. Because of Mr Terupt is an awesome novel to introduce point of view and perspective. The kids loved the book and we are still using it throughout the year to teach skills.

  2. With the picture writing, did you have the students write what a "story" would be from each point of view? Also, how is the perspective different from the point of view?

  3. Wow, Mary! I just started following your blog and boy, do you have some meaty ideas! This post was fabulous on all the different work you've been working on with Point of View. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas! I'm heading over to check out your task card blog now! :)

    Tales of a Teacher

  4. I look forward to doing this with my students! Thank you SO much! I love how you have multiple lessons planned that give the students responsibility for the skill by the end! :)

  5. Thanks for sharing... I especially love the Toy Story clip. Have you ever used the picture book 'Voices in the Park' by Anthony Browne? It's a GREAT way to tie in mood and tone along with perspective and point of view.

  6. These are some really wonderful activities! I love the way you differentiated the Toy Story activity. I did find one tiny error in the end of the perspective worksheets though. In the last question on the last page, it asks how do the different perspectives 'effect' how each story is told. It should actually be 'affect,' as effect is a noun and affect is a verb. I don't want to criticize, just help! Thanks for sharing your wonderful resources!

  7. Where did you find the pictures for the point of view activity with photos!? I can't find any good photos!

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  9. Great lesson! Ok maybe I didn't grasp the concept but I watched the clip three times and I still haven't mastered each character's point of view. This is what I got:

    Andy: Ready to leave home and go off to college

    Andy's mom: Sad to see her son go off for college

    But I couldn't get Woody's point of view. I saw he was in a box labeled "college" so I'm guessing he is going away with Andy. But how does he feel? I was wondering what type of questions did you ask your students after you've watched the clip to get them to think about point of view?

  10. Great lesson! Ok maybe I didn't grasp the concept but I watched the clip three times and I still haven't mastered each character's point of view.

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  12. Thanks for the great ideas for point of view. I have an upcoming observation and plan to use your wonderful ideas. The students will love them!

  13. I used the picture Point of View lesson with my kids and they loved it! They had a lot of fun reading the different POVs once they got their original picture back. I had my students analyze how the POV affected the tone in the story. Thanks for the great idea!

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  17. I am going to use your idea of having the students hold up one finger for first-person point of view idea.

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  23. Little did you know when you wrote this the "Andy's Coming!" Challenge would become so viral. Thank you for this resource... I loved it when you first posted it and I searched it out knowing my kids would get a kick out of it since the Andy's Coming Challenge has become so popular among them :D