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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Common Core Literature Standard 6

This is one of my favorites! CCRA.R.6 asks students to "assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text."

How does this play out in third, fourth, and fifth grades? Third graders must "distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters" (RL.3.6). Students in grade 4 will "compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narratives" (RL.4.6). In fifth grade, children "describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described" (RL.5.6).

I interpret these tasks as building blocks to understanding point of view and purpose:
  1. Third Grade - Differentiate my own thoughts from text generated by the narrator and thoughts or dialogue of characters.
  2. Fourth Grade - (1) Discriminate between first-, second-, and third-person pronouns, (2) identify text generated by the narrator, and (3) determine whether the narrator is using first or third person.
  3. Fifth Grade - Analyze how the use of first- or third-person has influenced the telling of the story.
After third grade, we focus on the narrator. If students can identify which text is generated by the narrator (and which text is not), everything else falls into place.

Introducing first-, second-, and third-person subject and object pronouns in tables such as these has worked well for my fourth grades students.

Here's what I tell them:
When a text is written in first person, the narrator is normally one of the characters in the story and refers to himself using "I" or "me" (as well as "we" and "us"). When a story is written in third person, the narrator is outside of the story looking in and refers to the characters by their names or as he, she, they, him, her, or them.

This year we used some brief excerpts from well-known picture books to practice. Here's one example:

Because the CCSS asks students to provide evidence, I believe that students must not only determine the point of view but also defend it. This example provides a brief example for an excerpt from Holes.

By fifth grade, students are able to use higher order thinking skills to analyze how point of view affects the telling of the story. They can learn about the omniscient (all-knowing) point of view and consider how, for example, a first-person narrative would change if written in the third person.

How do you present point of view to your students? Please let us know!

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