Point of View...It's First!

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TSWBAT determine how the narrator's point of view influences her storytelling.

Big Idea

Was it a good move for Karana to jump off the boat and get stranded? Depends on your point of view.

Warm Up

15 minutes

With CCS RL.5.6 students indicate how a narrator's point of view influences the way events are described in the novel.  I want my students to identify with Karana- to see things the way she does. This assists with comprehension and mastery of this standard.  

The following activity is a great way to introduce point of view to the kids.  They must ponder, then write  a paragraph from someone else's point of view.  This is a fun way to make their minds think the way another might.

Cut out and mount on construction paper, pictures of people and animals to make up the "Point of View Bank." Randomly pass one to each student.

1) Give your new personality a name.

2) Choose a city and/or state to live in.

3) Write a paragraph from your personality's point of view about a problem they have and add a few extra details.

Ex: Picture of Old Man.  Name- Neil Burger. City/State- Ames, IA.  Problem- no one visits him anymore.

My name is Neil Burger and I'm 84 years old.  I've lived in Ames, IA all of my life.  I love my family, but miss them because they all live too far away now.  I never leave my house because I can't see well so I can't drive anymore.

Kids take turns holding up the picture of their personality and reading their paragraph.


30 minutes

Island of the Blue Dolphins is a novel written entirely in first person.  The voice of protagonist Karana is clear and leads the reader through the story.  The students will analyze the text for examples of Karana's point of view about the things that are happening and how that POV influences the way she tells her story.

*I had the best intentions when I wrote this, but they spent more time than expected finding point of view examples.  They looked carefully and had success, but as I watched the minutes tick by, I knew I'd overplanned.  Had this been the only activity on my agenda, if would have been fine, but it wasn't.  If time is an issue, I've provided examples to analyze:

Ex: She explains the tribal law which forbids women from making weapons. Her point of view on this is agree and follow the law, but to survive, she must make weapons...so she does.  Her story is influenced by the change in her point of view.

Other examples: POV changes from killing Rontu to making him her pet; POV changes from trying to escape the island to feeling content there; POV changes from not befriending Aleuts to making a friend out of Tutok.

When the students have found an example of Karana expressing her POV, they write the passage in their Literature Spirals.  They answer the following questions:

1) In your example, how does Karana's point of view help you understand the situation better?

2) How has her point of view on this changed throughout the story?

3) If she hadn't changed her point of view on the issue, name a few ways in which this may have altered the way things turned out.

4) What factors contribute to your feelings about the narrator when you're reading something written in first person?

*5) Rewrite the passage you chose from the third person point of view.

*If students have been exposed to third person point of view at the time of this lesson.


20 minutes

Challenge Envelopes (Instructional Strategies for Engaging Learners) are a perfect way for the kids to speculate about Karana's thinking and how things could have been different if she hadn't changed her POV in many areas.

Each group is given an envelope and the kids choose a challenging question to put on the front.  Give prompts like the following for them to use to create their question:

~What could have happenend if.....?

~Had Karana not.....?

~How might the way that....?


The students collaborate on an answer to the question they come up with.

Mix up the envelopes and the kids rotate them through each group.  Each time they get a new envelope they answer the question, then check the answer against the one developed by the group.  It's a good idea for the initial answer to be written on a different color so that's the only one the group looks at.  Once everyone has written a response for each envelope, it's time for the original group to read all of the responses.