Lesson: Point of View

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to determine if a poem is written in first or third person point of view and define each view.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins):  Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Yesterday we learned about voice in poetry.  You are all experts at determining if the author is speaking in a personal voice or an imaginary voice.  Today, we will talk about the point of view of the author.  This goes hand in hand with the lesson we had yesterday, and will help you gather meaning from the poems you read.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins):  In writing, there are three different options for point of view.  First person point of view is when the author is speaking about their own views or ideas.  First person normally uses the words “I” or “we” when speaking.  Second person point of view is not normally used in poetry, this is used when the person speaking is referred to as “you” as in an instructional video.  The third person point of view refers to anyone other than the speaker or the reader.  Often words like, “he”, “she”, or ‘it” are used.  Teacher should have a chart created with these examples.

Let’s look at a few poems that take different points of view.  Today, we will focus only on first and third person.  Teacher reads aloud poem below.

On Flying

It's twilight, and we are out in the street
when someone kicks a can that goes far
across the stream and over on the other side
so we have to find another can and start over.
The girls start teasing the boys
and the boys chase the girls.
It's windy and leaves are blowing.
Some start running with the breeze.
Soon everyone is running;
It feels like I'm flying.
But mother calls and we go to bed.
Before long I'm in my own kitchen,
beating batter in a mixing bowl with one hand,
holding a child with the other.
Many of the women I've known
are in their kitchens with four walls and a stove.
Everyone marches in the cookie parade, but inside
I’m still running with the wind
and no one can call me home.

After reading this poem, I know it was written from a first person perspective.  The author repeatedly uses the word “we” which lets me know the author is included in that group.  The author also includes the words “I’m” and “me”.  Both of these words lets m know we are reading the poem from the author’s perspective or point of view.  This is helpful because it helps me understand the poem and hear the author’s voice as I’m reading.

Let’s look at the same poem written in third person point of view.  Teacher reads aloud poem.


On Flying

It's twilight, and he is out in the street
when someone kicks a can that goes far
across the stream and over on the other side
so he has to find another can and start over.
The girls start teasing the boys
and the boys chase the girls.
It's windy and leaves are blowing.
Some start running with the breeze.
Soon everyone is running;
It feels like he’s flying.
But his mother calls and he goes to bed.
Before long he’s in his own kitchen,
beating batter in a mixing bowl with one hand,
holding a child with the other.
Many of the women he’s known
are in their kitchens with four walls and a stove.
Everyone marches in the cookie parade, but inside
He’s still running with the wind
and no one can call him home.


This poem sounds really different when I read it aloud.  In this poem the author is not speaking about himself, but about another person.  The author repeatedly uses the word “he” so when I visualize in my head I see a boy walking in the street.  This type of writing is much less personal because you don’t connect to the author.

Did you notice how by looking at the author’s word choice I was able to decide what point of view was being used.  Today when you return to your seats you will be asked to to do the same.


Independent Reading (15-20 mins): Students return to their seats.  They will spend workshop time reading through their poetry packets.  As they read they should label the perspective of each poem they label.  At the end of workshop time each student will share out a poem they found to serve as an exit slip.

Exit Slip/Share (5-10 mins):  Students are given time to share out the poems they noticed while reading independently.  Teacher will monitor which students need additional support with the skill. 

Reflection: I have never taught a lesson on point of view.  However, I noticed in the last round of testing, a question asking students to identify the point of view.  I decided to add this lesson into the unit with some success.  It is a very quick lesson, and I noticed many students had little background knowledge of point of view.  I would break this into two different lessons if I taught it again.

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