POINT OF VIEW for grades 3-6
Through an exercise and roleplays, students consider the importance of understanding another person's point of view in solving a conflict.
By Morningside Center
Students will better appreciate the importance of understanding another person's point of view to solve a conflict.
- Agenda written on chalkboard or chart paper
- Role-play scripts (see below))
Copies of the drawing (below) for each pair of students in the class
Go-round. Ask, What is your favorite musical group or song?
Go over the day's plan and ask if it seems okay.
What is your point of view?
Introduction: Today we are going to do a little experiment to see if everyone sees the same thing when we look at a picture.
- Ask students to find a partner or divide them into pairs.
- Distribute copies of the drawing above to each pair.
- Give pairs a few minutes to figure out how they would describe the appearance of the person in the picture. Is this someone they would like to get to know? What does she seem to be wearing?
- Ask volunteers for their descriptions.
- Ask students to describe their process in looking at the picture. What did they see first? Why did some people see an old woman at first and some a young girl? Can everyone now see both figures? Is there a "wrong" way to see the picture?
Summarize: People have different ways of looking at things. We call that having different "points of view." It happens because we have different bodies, different kinds of families and different kinds of experiences.
Point-of-View Role Plays
Introduction: Many times the conflicts we experience in our own lives result from experiencing things in a different way from another person. To see how this works, we are going to do some role plays.
- Give two volunteers the role-play scene between Carlos and his mother, below.. Discuss the scene briefly with each one to make sure s/he understands the role before beginning the role play. Instruct them to begin an argument in the role play.
- When the argument begins to get heated, stop the role play and ask the actors (still in character) how they are feeling.
- Discuss with the class: What is Carlos's point of view? What does Carlos want? What is his mother's point of view? What does she want? Can anybody think of a situation from his or her own life that is similar? What are the different points of view in that situation?
- Have the actors leave their roles and ask them how it was to play those roles. Have the class applaud them.
Repeat the process with other scenes from the scenarios provided or with scenes from the students' own lives.
Roleplay #1: Carlos & his Mother
The living room is messy. Some of Carlos's comic books are lying around. He's going through them because he wants to trade some of them with his friends. He also has a game on the floor that he started to play with his sister. He wants the game to remain there so he and his sister can finish it later. He likes being in the living room because there are usually other people around there. All the things that are scattered about are things he is using. The mess doesn't bother him.
The living room is messy. Carlos's comic books and game are lying around. She wants to keep the room organized because everyone in the family uses it and it is also the place where guests come. She thinks Carlos's things are in the way. She thinks he should pick up after himself and keep his things in his own room.
Roleplay #2: Joanne & her Father
Joanne's dad insists that she be in the house by 8 p.m. on school nights. But the weather is getting warm, her friends are staying out later in the street, and Joanne wants to be able to stay with her friends.
The rule is that Joanne must be in the house by 8 p.m. on school nights. Joanne's father is concerned that it is not safe for her to be out after 8 p.m., and he worrieds about her. He also wants to be sure she gets enough sleep so she is not tired in school.
Roleplay #3: Jason & the Teacher
Jason was talking to his friend about what they were going to do on the playground at lunch time at the same time that the teacher was talking. The teacher told him that she was going to contact his parents and discuss his behavior with them. Jason is mad because he thinks the teacher is always picking on him. Other kids talk, he says, and the teacher doesn't do anything about it.
When she was explaining the homework assignment, Jason was talking instead of listening. She sees him talking all the time. When he doesn't have his homework, he says he didn't hear her give the assignment, and he didn't think there was any." Jason needs to start listening in class.
Roleplay #4: Sarah & her Mom
Sarah wants to wear jeans to school that have slashes cut in them and patches. She thinks it's a neat style. Her mother says she's not leaving the house in those rags.
Sarah's mother thinks students should be dressed neatly for school, and she worries that adults won't respect her daughter as much if she dresses sloppily. Sarah's mother went to a parochial school where students wore uniforms, and she thinks the discipline was much better there because of the dress rules.
Roleplay #5: Raymond & Thomas
Raymond wants to play with his friend Thomas. Thomas, as usual, wants to play baseball. Raymond doesn't like to play baseball. He's not very good at it, and he'd rather play something else. He feels as if all Thomas ever wants to do is play baseball.
Thomas would like to play with Raymond, who is a good friend. He's on a Little League team, and he wants to practice baseball. He would also like Raymond to play baseball better, because then he might want to join the Little League team, too. Then they could spend more time together.
Ask a few volunteers, What are some feelings you had about today's lesson and what are some reasons for those feelings?
Go-round. Ask students to think about a time their own point of view has changed. Have them complete the sentence, "I used to, but now..."
Suggestions for Infusion
Discuss points of view in stories students are reading.
- Have students rewrite an "I" story, choosing another character to be "I" and telling it from their point of view.
- Have students write a story about a conflict they were in. Then ask them to take the other person's point of view and rewrite the story.
- Have students tell a story from the point of view of a fish in a fish bowl watching people in the classroom.
- Have students describe the events in the classroom from the point of view of a Martian visiting this planet for the first time.
- If students are studying another culture, discuss what a person from that culture might think about life in your school.
- Look at historical events from different points of view. For example, role-play the arrival of Columbus from the point of view of the people who lived here.
We welcome your thoughts and suggestions about these activities!
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