Encourage children to experiment with taking on different points of view in a familiar fairy story. Looking at point of view shows how people can experience the same event and come away with very different impressions.
Can they tell the story of Hansel and Gretel from the witch’s perspective? The story of Jack and the Beanstalk from the giant’s point of view? How about trying to tell the story of Cinderella from the point of view of one of the ugly sisters?
Here are some great books to read with your class that tell traditional tales from different points of view.
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, is told from the wolf’s point of view.
- The Other Side of the Story series by Picture Window Books (Tales include Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and more.)
This series of books includes several familiar traditional tales told with great humour from the perspective of the villain of the story.
If you are exploring a story character’s personality or their point of view, here are two great drama exercises you can try with your class to deepen their understanding, stretch their imaginations and give them ideas before writing anything.
Role on the Wall
A Role on the Wall exercise asks students in pairs or small groups to draw a large outline of a body onto sugar paper, then write on the inside and outside of it to represent what they know about one chosen character’s inner and outer worlds.
To capture the inner world and personal perspective of the character they’ve chosen, participants write words or short sentences on the inside of the body about thoughts and emotions. If they’re not sure about the person’s inner world, they can write things in the form of a questions.
On the outside of the body, students write words about the character’s physical appearance and how the other characters in the story see them.
Stick these outlines to the classroom wall, so that they can be viewed by the rest of the class. If you have time the children can colour the characters in or use fabric scraps to dress them as long as their words are still visible.
In Hot Seating, someone takes on the role of a character from the story you are exploring.
He or she is then questioned by a small group or the whole class about their background, behaviour or motivation. The person in the hot seat must answer as if they were that character. They can use the content of the story to help them but importantly can use their own ideas and thoughts as to the character’s reasons and answers.
It’s always a good idea to give the rest of the class time to consider what questions they want to ask. Some of these might be generated in discussion or be found in the Role on the Wall exercise.
You could try imagining the hot seat taking place in a courtroom or interrogation room, or on the set of a TV talk show. For those who are the jury or police or audience the exercise can really help develop questioning skills.
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