November 18, 2012

Teaching Point of View and a freebie!!

Our first units of study in reading and writing on the Iroquois and the Algonquians has ended! Now, we move onto explorers!

I love that the transition from Native Americans to exploration lends itself to point of view perfectly!

To introduce point of view, I used these posters from Chrissy Beltran...

You can get them HERE from her TpT Store! Thanks Chrissy :)

Before the lesson, I went over each poster--describing what the point of view means and how authors use it. The introduction was very broad--the lessons after are focused on the specific points of view.

Our narrative writing unit focuses on 1st person point of view. So it's important for students to have a strong understanding of it. Here's how I started it...

I used two texts... Encounter by Jane Yolen (available at which is written from a Taino boy's perspective of Columbus' arrival

and Thunder in the Sky by Marcia Sewall (available at which alternates perspectives between the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims.
I only focused on the first few pages of each text pinpointing the point of view (how the author chooses to write the story) and the perspective (who, in the text, is telling the story), which is a very difficult concept for 4th graders to grasp!

I modeled how to pull apart the text and analyzing what the character really means (especially the vocabulary and how different ideas are described, like the ship--"across the Great Sea floated the island with tall trees upon it, hung with white clouds") using Thunder in the Sky.

We answered these questions...
1) Who is telling the story?
2) Based on the text, how did the Natives perceive the strangers?
3) What are you learning about the relationship between the Natives and the strangers?

The students tried the same thing with some pages from Encounter using the same questions.

Here's a cute text that will get your students thinking about 1st person point of view:
Click HERE to get the text

(I found the text on Highlights, for the original site, click HERE)
and here's an activity page to use with it:
Click HERE to get this!
Be prepared for little giggles as your students read the text! 

If you try this activity in your room, I'd love to know how it turned out!


  1. Jen, Thanks for the shout out! I used to use Encounter for point of view too - it's such an amazing book. Another that I recently found is called Voices in the Park and it's interesting because it moves between four different characters talking about the same trip to the park. I would LOVE it if you'd contribute to the giveaway! Email me at and let me know what you'd like to give!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  2. Hi Jen,
    Great ideas and activities! I was just stopping by to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  3. I came by to say Happy Thanksgiving--and I am leaving with a great idea for teaching point of view!

    Thanks, BlogFriend!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  4. Thanks for all of these great ideas! We have been touching on point of view this past month in our writing!