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Thursday, September 4, 2014

RL.4.6 from a Child's Perspective

My fourth grade class has been working on determining point of view, and I just have to share this precious response with you:

It was written in first person 
because the person told the story,
but not behind his back.

I love it!

Here's how we tackled RL.4.6 this year:

  • To understand first- and third-person narratives, students must know about first-, second-, and third-person pronouns. On the first day, we launched into an exploration of pronouns.

  • Next, students viewed a PowerPoint presentation that taught them how to determine point of view. If the excerpt was written in first person, they held up one finger; if it was written in third person, they held up three fingers. (They also had a blast naming the picture books from which the excerpts came!)

  • After quite a bit of guided practice, each student completed two independent worksheets to practice on their own.

  • Once my students proved that they could determine point of view, it was time to watch another PowerPoint presentation. In the true spirit of the Common Core, they learned to write a topic sentence that told the point of view and included the title of the publication. Then they defended their choice by explaining whether any of the characters were narrating. 

  • Next, I provided some guided practice using an excerpt from Swiss Family Robinson.

  • My students were finally ready to determine and defend point of view on their own. We practiced for three days with excerpts from Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, and Treasure Island. Each student was able to read a text suitable to his or her own reading level. At first, my students' point of view paragraphs were naive and not very clear, but they improved every day. We read student exemplars and noticed that paragraphs explaining whether the narrator was inside or outside the story provided the strongest defense. 

  • After all of this, I felt confident that my class was ready for assessment. They read an excerpt from The Wizard of Oz, determined its point of view, and defended it in a paragraph.

The Common Core State Standards have changed the way I teach point of view, and I think it's for the better!