Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Teaching Points of View through Role Play (FREE lesson to download!)

Hello!  I'm Deb from Crafting Connections!  Thanks for stopping by to check out our new collaborative blog!

Rewind two years.  I'm sitting in my closet- as an ELL teacher who spent most of her day coteaching in upper elementary classrooms, I was fortunate to have my own tiny windowless room that was just big enough to house my desk, a table, and a few filing cabinets- racking my brain trying to think of a point of view activity that would be meaningful for our fifth graders.  We had introduced the concept a few days earlier, but some of the students were still struggling to fully grasp it.  On top of that, I could see that they were pretty bored by the whole topic.  I knew we needed to do something to engage them in the content... to help them view the content as somewhat relevant and not just something that might be on an upcoming standardized test.

Have students work with partners?  Possibly, but I felt they still needed some direct teacher instruction for this to be totally worthwhile.

Do a shared writing activity, in which we work as a class to write in each main point of view?  Yes, that would certainly help some students!  After all, students often learn best by doing.

A role play?  I knew that idea had some potential... the last time the teacher and I did a role play, it was a hit!  But we needed students to differentiate between 3rd person limited (where readers know the thoughts of one character), and 3rd person omniscient (where the readers know the thoughts of all of the characters).  How would that work in a role play??

Ultimately, I combined the role play and the shared writing activity into one lesson, and WOW!  Did it ever work!!  Those kiddos were engaged!  This was the activity that really made the concept of Point of View click with the students who were struggling.

First of all, we had presented a flow chart (similar to this anchor chart) the day before, so students had already been exposed to the skills required to identify the point of view of a piece of writing:
Point of View Activity and Anchor Chart- Are you looking for classroom ideas that will help you teach students how to identify which point of view was used by an author? Check out this FREE activity that includes a role play and writing from each point of view: first person, third person limited, and third person omniscient.

Since I was in a coteaching situation, the fifth grade teacher and I took on the two roles for the role play.  However, you could easily enlist the help of a student to role play with you.  For this blog post, I asked my daughter to be my fellow actor in order to record the video below.  I played the role of Teacher and Kayla played the role of Student (Jill).

This video shows my daughter and I performing the skit.

After the teacher and I performed the skit in front of our fifth grade audience TWICE, I told our students that we would now write this role play as a story three times.  Each time, however, we would write using a different point of view.  

They got out their notebooks and wrote "FIRST PERSON" at the top of the page.  (I modeled all of the writing by using the document camera.)  I asked them which pronouns we needed to use for 1st person narration, and they answered "I", "me", and "we".  I told them that we would be writing from the student's perspective.  By asking some leading questions, we ended up with this final paragraph.
(I reminded students that we would have to underline Jill's thoughts.  If we were typing this, we would be able to put her thoughts in italics like real authors do.)

Then they turned their notebook page and labeled it "THIRD PERSON LIMITED".  I asked them which pronouns we needed to use for 3rd person narration, and they responded, "she" and "her".  We quickly came to the conclusion that the story was about the same, only the pronouns were different!

Finally, they turned their notebook page one last time and labeled it "THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT".  We reviewed the difference between third person limited and third person omniscient, and quickly realized that we could write nearly the same story, but we just needed to add in the thoughts of the teacher.

If you want a free copy of this entire lesson, you can download it HERE.
Clip art by From the Pond.

You will just need to do a little prep work of printing out the two scripts and the thought bubbles.  I tape the thought bubbles to paint sticks or rulers.  When you begin the script, the Student and Teacher characters need to have their thought bubbles in front of themselves. (I simply place them on a desk or table so that the one I need to display first is on top).

Feel free to check out my related post about Points of View on my own blog, Crafting Connections.

Thanks for stopping by!