To engage my learners today and to get them thinking about perspective, I am going to read aloud a story called Voices in The Park by Anthony Browne. This story tells the experiences four different characters have while visiting a park.
Sixth graders love picture books and for some reason still find it enjoyable to be read one. I can always seem to engage them using picture books.
I will scan and display the story so the students can all enjoy the beautiful pictures. I will read the story aloud.
Once I am done with the story, I will ask the students to explain what was similar about each person's experience and what was different. This will allow the students to start thinking about perspective and what perspective is in text. It is a crucial skill as an adult to be able to identify perspectives. We are the most informed when we realize and learn to recognize perspectives. I tell the students that by knowing how to identify an author's perspective, you are reading with a critical mind, analyzing and able to see their beliefs and recognize that their beliefs may NOT be yours but to understand WHY they believe what they believe.
Now that students understand that there can be different perspectives, it is time for the students to see how and why authors develop perspective. Again, I will review P.I.E.S. and how an author's perspective could influence us as readers.
To begin with, I ask the students what they feel about living in the country verses living in the city. I will have the students create a t-chart in their spiral on the next blank page. They will follow the procedures of updating their table of contents and titling each page.
I will ask the students to brainstorm the benefits of living in the country and the city. The text sample I am going to use today deals with the topic of country living. I want the students to gain an understanding for the benefits before we read the text. This will prepare them for the reading.
For students who have never lived in the country, this could be a struggle. I will ask them to connect any prior knowledge they have about the country in general and try to come up with their responses. You could also have a student who has lived in the country share some experiences they had living there.
Once they have had a few minutes to think on their own, I will have them to a Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up In this activity, the students meet up with another student to share their ideas. This a great way to get the students up and moving. It allows them to hear the thoughts of their peers and validate their own responses. I will have the students share their thoughts with two people before returning to their seats.
Now it is time to work with text. I will display the power point Is the Country Always Relaxing onto the board, displaying the first article about country living. We will read the article and determine the author's perspective. I will model underlining language used by the author to demonstrate perspective and point of view.
Then, I will display the second passage with deals with the lack of benefits the country provides. I will do the same with this article, modeling underlining author's perspective with the loaded language and avoidance of facts.
As a class, I will ask the students to compare the two passages. How do they each support their opinions? How does the support they provide influence the reader?
Finally, to push the students to that skill level of analyzing text for perspective, I will have the students work with a piece on their own. The students, up to this point have never really been asked to look for perspective, the skill is new to them. How do they know what the author's perspective is about the topic? This is where I work with the students to demonstrate the power and use of language and words! What words demonstrate opinion or beliefs? I may pull a small group of struggling students to the side and work with them on the skill.
I have provided a small passage about Conserving natural resources. This topic connects well with our current science unit and integrating content across the curriculum can always be powerful.
The students will work to complete the handout on their own and turn it in once it is completed. I will use this piece for an assessment.
To assess my students learning for the day, I will provide them with a Closure Slip. This will allow not only me to assess their learning, but it will allow the students to process what they have learned and assess their readiness to move on with the concept. I can use this information to determine if I need to reteach or review the concept.
By asking students to really think about how perspective is developed you are tapping into their true understanding of the concept. This can be very telling in assessing their understanding.