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An Idea for Workshops:

The Power of Points-of-View

This writers workshop idea was authored by NNWP Teacher Consultant Patty Foncault.

Donald Hall's I am the Dog. I am the Cat is a great mentor text when teaching students about how different points of view can sound.

Click here to access WritingFix's complete lesson that uses and celebrates this remarkable picture book.

Teaching students to write from a specific “point of view"

I am a firm believer in using writing across the curriculum. It is not only easy to do, but can be quite effective in combining the reading and writing skills the students are learning to master along with content knowledge. For example, one of my favorite assignments in my fifth grade classroom comes at the conclusion of our study of the American Revolution. I ask my students to write two pieces: one from the point of view of a Loyalist, and the other from the point of view of a Patriot. This not only gives them a unique opportunity to grow in their understanding of the reading, and writing, strategy of “author’s viewpoint”, but requires them to demonstrate their understanding of content knowledge in their writing as well.

As a teacher who must accumulate grades, assignments such as this one can serve in so many ways! I find I am able to assign grades for writing composition, content specific knowledge, and even for spelling and neatness of handwriting! I have found that most of my students really enjoy assignments like this one.

I have included a sample of the writing below, which was done by one of my students so that you can get an idea of what is possible. Pictured here is Kristin, the fifth grade writer who wrote both point-of-view pieces below:

I’m confident you could come up with several different uses for a similar type of writing activity in your classroom. Think of all the units you teach that lend themselves to opposing viewpoints: herbivore vs. carnivore, capitalist vs. socialist, vertebrate vs. invertebrate, explorer vs. Native American, mouse vs. elephant, and the list goes on... Think outside the box and have fun with this! Your students will, too.


Unite and Fight!

The time has come to unite and fight. King George III has ruled us with tyranny for too long. He taxed us without giving us a say. He told us what kind of tea to drink. When we protested, his soldiers murdered five Bostonians. We continued to protest the unfair tea taxes. He closed our harbor and put many men out of work.

The time has come for us to defend our freedom and fight for liberty. The Continental Army needs more noble men to fight for this noble cause.

Have I given you enough reasons to join me and so many other Patriots in the fight for liberty? Have I not convinced you of violence of British rule? I believe I have. If not, I cannot do any better.

To those I have convinced, any man will be welcomed into the Continental Army. There will be a time posted for recruits to meet on the green.

We must always remember the reasons for our revolution. We must unite and fight!

Revolution is Unnecessary!

Fellow colonists, I ask you, why do we need to fight? What has Britain done? Britain defended us in the French and Indian War. They taxed us because of the money they had spent defending us. The soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre were proved innocent. They were attacked by a rabble of unprovoked citizens.

I am now forced to live in fright. Always scared of the unruly rebels stealing money to buy arms for an unnecessary war. A war that doesn’t need to happen.

Why not stay loyal to Britain? Why are we fighting against a wonderful parent country? If you can convince me that this crazy cause is not led by an irresponsible, riotous rabble, there is a possibility of me changing my mind. (The possibility is miniscule.) I do not believe you have a good reason to fight this war.

Why fight an unnecessary war?

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