During the past few weeks, our 2nd through 5th graders have been practicing dissecting challenging prompts. We recently gave 4th grade students the following PARCC released prompt:
Today you read the story “Sally’s Rescue.” Imagine telling the story from a different point of view. How would the story change? Rewrite the story you read from the seal’s point of view.
We were concerned that our students may see the word “Rewrite” and just change the seal and Sally within the original story. In order to focus on the objective of the prompt, we decided to review the concept of point–of–view using a familiar text told from two points of view – The Three Little Pigs.
We began by having the students create two blank narrative plans to complete with the necessary story components: character, setting, problem, attempts to solve the problem and finally the story ending. To help focus on point-of-view, I brought in a copy of The Three Little Pigs and we quickly added the details from the story to our plan. As students were familiar with the story, we quickly completed this initial task. Everyone was able to correctly add all the story elements to the plan. As we focused on point-of-view, students easily identified the pigs as the ones who were telling the story and solving the problem.
We then read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf. Students quickly realized that the setting and characters were the same in both books. However, as the story was being told from Wolf’s point-of-view, he was now responsible for both the problem in the story and its resolution. Students added the details from this story to their 2nd narrative plan and came to the realization that Wolf didn’t solve his problem as he was never able to attain the sugar for his Granny. Altering the point-of-view from which the story was told impacted the story’s outcome.
Now it was time to transfer this new realization to our original text, “Sally’s Rescue.” Before we could rewrite “Sally’s Rescue” we needed to understand that Sally was the main character in the original story and Sally had the problem to be solved. When we now rewrite the story, the seal will be the main character and will have a problem that needs to be solved. The characters and the setting remain the same throughout the story.
It was amazingly easy for these 4th graders to understand point of view and how it changes the problem, the attempts, and the solution of a story. Tomorrow's lesson will focus on reading the text, creating a new plan from the seal’s point of view, and writing our story starter.