Point of view is threaded throughout all four strands in Language and provides the backdrop for meaningful ways to look at issues and topics. Whether writing-in-role, writing a persuasive letter, looking at advertisements or debating an issue, point of view allows our students to look at something from many sides, linking to the important social skill of listening and thinking from many perspectives.
In this lesson, Abbass is using a current event photograph, from the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, to launch into exploring point of view and writing-in-role.
Part I: Mini-lesson
Abbass introduced the image without letting students know where it was from. Students were asked to think about the image and reflect on what the story might be about that connects to it. From this thinking and reflection time on the carpet, students moved into jotting their ideas down on sticky notes, using the format of the GO chart. A focus on the first four categories was stressed.
Students posted their sticky notes on the GO chart to bring their ideas together and Abbass discussed the various thoughts.
Part II: Independent/Guided Practice
After discussing and sharing their thinking from the GO chart, Abbass launched into setting up the success criteria for writing-in-role. Students had written from a specific role during a Science investigation, so Abbass wanted to set the parameters for this expectation. He co-constructed the criteria, allowing for his students' voice to be included. The task for their independent work was to choose something from the photo of Haiti, whether a person or object, and write-in-role.
Part III: Group Share/Consolidation
After students were finished writing-in-role, Abbass had three students that he spoke with share their different points of view. He carefully chose three different perspectives so students heard from the many "voices" in the photo.
Abbass has integrated point of view in other subject areas, to allow for connections to be made with many topics. After defining it with his class, he moved into some work on public service announcements, using media and drama as a context to explore point of view. During his Science unit on Biodiversity, he used many different articles and readings to look at the different sides of an issue, like the BP Oil Spill. Students had to write from one point of view on the issue and debate their perspective.
In addition to using the GO chart, Abbass uses other ways to organize the thinking and discussion time with his class. Below are two examples, real talk and the thinking chart:
A great connection to this image and writing is using the book, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti