Anchors Away Monday: Point of View

Teaching Point of View to upper elementary students with a simple, sequential approach! First person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient.

I remember the first lesson I tried to prepare on teaching students to identify the author's point of view. My state standards indicated that my fifth graders needed to be able to identify first person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient points of view.  I "knew" that my first step was teaching students which pronouns were associated with each point of view. For example, I knew I had to teach my students that the pronouns, "I", "me", "our", and "us" were used by authors writing in first person.

As I was looking for text examples to share with my students, however, I found a flaw with my approach. Consider this paragraph:

My heart was beating like a drum when I approached my father. It was time to tell
him the truth. What if he doesn't believe me? What if he thinks she is telling the truth?

In this sample paragraph, there are both first person pronouns and third person pronouns! Now what?! 

I quickly realized that any pronouns within dialogue have to be ignored when determining point of view... and this included spoken dialogue (in quotation marks) and internal dialogue (written in italics). Furthermore, when teaching students to identify the author's point of view, crossing out dialogue had to be done before pronouns were considered. I also realized that there are a few other "rules". For example, if a text contained both first person pronouns and third person pronouns within the narrative (like in the example above), the point of view was always first person.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that a step-by-step approach was going to be the best way to introduce these concepts to students. I created the following anchor chart which helped my students immensely.
Point of View Anchor Chart including first person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient points of view.
Camera clip art is by Ashley Hughes.

I created this anchor chart AFTER my students and I worked through my Point of View PowerPoint, which contains the same concepts. My students had great success when we went through the PowerPoint slides, but then a few of them struggled when the PowerPoint was turned off and they tried to work through the process more independently. I realized that those students still needed a bit of scaffolding before they internalized the process... and that's where this anchor chart came in! It worked like a charm!! Students who needed the support referred to it often. There was no excuse for any student to make a random guess! Also, I always had students justify the point of view they selected by explaining how they found their answer. Referring to this chart helped them to do that!

I also created a flow chart for each student to glue in their interactive notebooks. (I had to reduce the size when I made the copies. Feel free to check out either of these resources by clicking on the images below.)
This 67-slide PowerPoint is a step-by-step presentation that teaches students how to determine the author's point of view. First, students are shown how to determine whether a passage is 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person. Once they have had lots of practice with these passages, they are taught the difference between third person "limited" and "omniscient".


I actually have two versions of the PowerPoint because I work with multiple grade levels.  At our school, fourth graders focus mainly on first and third person, while fifth graders also learn second person and the differentiate between 3rd person limited and 3rd person omniscient.

For those of you that do not teach the 3rd person LIMITED and OMNISCIENT, I have this simpler version of the PowerPoint, as well!
Finally, check out this FREE lesson (with printables to download) that I shared at my collaborative blog, Upper Elementary Snapshots!

Thanks for stopping by today!

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