Teaching Point of View With Two Bad Ants
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This lesson provides students with the opportunity to use illustrations and text to develop an understanding of the point of view of the characters. Students read the story Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg, work in pairs to analyze the illustrations and text, and compare and contrast points of view. After rereading the story, students apply their knowledge of point of view by writing a short story from an ant's perspective.
Stapleless Book: This handy tool allows students to use their creativity when they write about going on adventures from the point of view of an ant.
From Theory to Practice
"One of life's biggest challenges is accepting that there are numerous interpretations and that there is rarely one right way to view the world. Literature can introduce characters who have learned to accept that different viewpoints exist, demonstrating how they persevere when faced with difficulties. Books can also change readers' perspectives about what they already know and extend their knowledge through new ways of seeing familiar things."
- Young readers often focus primarily on what is happening in stories, and they also need to consider why things happen to gain a better understanding of point of view.
- By understanding stories from different points of view, readers learn how to link the events in a story causally.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
- A book by David M. Schwartz from the Look Once, Look Again series (Creative Teaching Press)
- Several copies of Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)
- Chart paper
|1.||Obtain a copy of a book by David M. Schwartz from the Look Once, Look Again series. Use a book illustrated with photographs. Some suitable titles include:
|2.||Obtain several copies of the book Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg.
|3.||Photocopy the Point of View Chart so that each student can have a copy.
- Identify point of view in a story by examining the text and illustrations, thinking about how an ant "sees" the world
- Demonstrate that they understand point of view by finding specific examples or evidence from of the ant's point of view in the text
- Apply their knowledge and understanding of point of view by writing and illustrating a story from the perspective of the main character (in this case, an ant)
|1.||Explain to students that point of view refers to how a person or character looks at, or views, an object or a situation.
|2.||Begin with a book by David M. Schwartz from the Look Once, Look Again series. Show students the first pair of photographs. Point out that although both pictures are of the same object, they look different. Ask students, "What causes them to look different?" Lead students to conclude that the "Look Once" picture was taken from close up and that the "Look Again" picture was taken from further away. Two perspectives, or points of view, are evident in the photographs. Show students more pairs of photographs from the book, explaining the different points of view.
|3.||Tell students that, like in the photographs, characters may view objects from perspectives that differ from their own. To appreciate the plot of a story and understand the actions of the characters, students must understand the characters' differing points of view.
|4.||Show students the cover illustration from Two Bad Ants, a story in which the main characters are ants. Read the story aloud. Discuss how the text and the illustrations show objects from an ant's point of view. Ask students how an ant's view is different from a person's view.
|5.||Have students work together in small groups. Give each group a copy of Two Bad Ants. Ask them to examine the illustrations and the text to find more evidence of situations described from the ant's point of view.
|6.||Distribute the Point of View Chart to students. Have them work in small groups to think of everyday items that ants see one way and people see another. Have students record their findings on the chart. For example, under "A Person's Point of View," students might write "grass," and under "An Ant's Point of View," they might write "forest."
|7.||Reread Two Bad Ants to students. Ask them if their understanding has improved since they first listened to the story. If so, ask them to tell what aspects of point of view they understand better.
|1.||Brainstorm with students, having them name objects that would appear differently to an ant than to a person. Record students' ideas on chart paper or on the blackboard.
|2.||Help students make an interactive Stapleless Book demonstrating that they understand an ant's point of view.
- Have each student choose one illustration in Two Bad Ants and write a detailed account of how an ant would view this experience.
- Have each student imagine another predicament that the ants could get into and draw a picture from an ant's point of view.
- Have students read Hey, Little Ant by Philip M. Hoose (Tricycle Press, 1998) in pairs, which allows them to reinforce their concept of point of view. One student should read the part of the boy, and another should read the part of the ant.
- Students can discover additional information about ants at the following websites:
- Students can learn more about Chris Van Allsburg by viewing the Chris Van Allsburg: A Who2 Profile website, which has links to a biographical sketch and teacher resources