"Ouch" - What Is That Pea Thinking? (Lesson 3 of 3)

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT acknowledge that characters have a different point of view and infer what they are thinking.

Big Idea

The princess, the queen, the prince, the pea - Infer what they're thinking!



This is the third in the series of inference lessons where I compare this fable. The other 2 lessons include Ouch.. There's a Pea Under My Mattress and Ouch There's a Pea Under My Saddle. These lessons all address how to infer with scaffolding skills of using an inference starter and leading toward more independence in this lesson. We are looking at 3 versions of this fable from different cultural standpoints. Our goal is to use inferencing, comparing and contrasting these versions by looking at the author's viewpoint and culture in which the story was written. I want the students to see how different countries and authors in different time periods looked at this classic theme and presented the characters in different ways. (RL.2.9) Here's a picture all the projects from this lesson, plus the ones from the other lessons. 

I chose this book because it's a twist on this classic story. The themes and characters repeat throughout literature and my students need to know the classics and how those plot lines and ideas are part of literature's rich history. Many of my kids knew the traditional version of this story, but loved this comparison. My goal here is inferring - I want the kids to make conclusions about what they see and read and support their inferences. 

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • "I brought one more version of the fable we have been reading. This one is called The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be."
  • "We'll be inferring once again to see what the princess is thinking, what the prince is thinking, what the queen is thinking...."
  • ...and what the pea is thinking! What could a pea possibly be thinking?"  Take ideas - my kids had fun with this!!

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "Since we are inferring what these characters are thinking, we are talking about point of view or perspective. That is what each person thinks, expects to happen, or wants to happen."
  •  "Today we'll read through the story and add inferences - what is the point of view of each character?"
  • "We'll have to use our evidence from the text (illustrations and words) and schema (what we know about princesses, queens, and peas) to make good inferences."
  • "When we make our inferences, we'll use words from our inference starter chart."  Refer to the chart.
  • Here's what my introduction to the lesson looked like.


Introduce strategy - teacher models

  • Read the first 2 pages. "I see the pea has it's eyes open (evidence) and I know things with open eyes are alive (schema), so I'm going to write, 'Perhaps the pea is alive!' This character's point of view is 'I am alive!'."
  • "Let me try another one." Read the next 2 pages. "I see a recipe book with pea recipes so my evidence is that the people like to eat peas. My schema is that you don't eat peas put in a little box, so my inference is that, "I infer they won't eat the little pea." The pea's perspective is 'they won't eat me!'."  Here's a video of how I approached this example of modeling.
  • Pass out the worksheets and let the kids copy. This is the whiteboard after the modeling.


Practice strategy - guided practice

  • "Help me with the next one." Read the next 2 pages. "What evidence do you see or did I read?" Take ideas - the prince is old, he is not married, she will stop his allowance if he does not get married.
  • "What happens if mom says she'll stop your allowance?" Take ideas - you'll do what she wants."
  • "Let's write 'The text tells me that the queen wants him to get married right away!'  Her point of view - 'get married right now!'"
  • I reminded kids to keep their writing small so it would fit in the boxes.  Let the kids copy.
  • One of my students asked an off topic question.  I addressed this, but then went back to the focus of the lesson.
  • This is the whiteboard after the guided practice.


As we read this story, the kids ultimately are comparing this fable to the others we've read. They love to share how are similar and different. The Common Core Standards emphasize this study of classic literature to help kids see perspective and author's purpose. By comparing/contrasting stories, students can really see how culture, perspective, purpose and vocabulary can take a similar theme and reveal it in different story lines.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Assign Task

  • "I'll keep reading and you need to make some inferences. Raise your hand and tell me what the evidence and schema is and make an inference."
  • "We can add some point of view comments in the bubbles for each character."


Read and guide the ideas

  • I continued reading 2 pages at a time, guiding the discussion. The kids enjoyed giving their inferences and we contrasted those with predictions.
  • There was quite a bit of discussion about evidence. 'How do you know that? Does it say that in the words?' The kids who lacked evidence ('I just know that is the princess') were great discussion starters.  "You have to be able to support your inference with evidence and schema."
  • It was interesting when one of my students made a comment in the midst of inferring that she wasn't sure our inferences were true. I took the opportunity to remind all of the students that we don't know the answer for sure.  That's why we're making an inference.
  • Students can add 'point of view' comments for a character as you go. Remind them that they have limited space, so to think about which character is showing his/her point of view.
  • Here's an example of one of my student's worksheets and how she explained her inference.


I didn't pre-assign pages for the kids to make inferences about, so some of my kids had more than others. It's hard to have a whole lesson scripted like that (even for me if I taught it before-I don't remember where I stopped and what I said), so make it natural. Pause after each page and see who wants to make inferences. Give me prompts as needed, but don't require it.  

From the aspect of 'point of view', there are also lots of opportunities, so don't force the idea. Let the kids infer naturally and add some ideas for point of view as they see fit. If some kids have fewer ideas written on the worksheet, but they are good ideas based on their inferences, then they have accomplished the goal for the lesson. Quality not quantity!

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Reflect and Go Beyond the Text

  • "Let's take what we know about their point of view beyond the text. You've made some great inferences, but now it's time for you to predict what happens next to the pea if he was stolen out of the box."
  • "Use the green circle I'm handing out and draw a scene and write a sentence to tell me what happens next. Use the schema that you know - he likes to help people, he's alive, he can talk."
  • My kids needed a 'scene' for the bed, so here are some ideas for the project that I put on the whiteboard.
  • Here's my explanation of the project and my example.

Give students time to work

  • One of my students created this project.
  • As kids work, walk around and ask them what they are creating and why. This student's explanation of her project showed me that she understood the idea of 'point of view' and of 'inferring'. 


Take a moment and Compare the Versions

As we put up the new project next to the projects from the last 2 lessons, the kids took some time to connect and compare. We looked at how the themes differed, which story they liked the best and what they thought about reading 3 versions. It was great to have the 3 posters - the kids could really see how the common story idea (a pea causing a problem) ran through the 3 stories, but that the stories were really different.


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Since there is a lot of support in this lesson, I would just monitor how the students with language challenges are doing. Perhaps pair them up with another student so they can spell words and get ideas from another.

Students with greater language should be able to make deeper inferences. Instead of just saying 'this is the princess because she has the same face', challenge them to use higher level vocabulary and say 'The visitor looks similar to the girl in the garden'.