“Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.”
Using a historical fiction novel to teach this standard is perfect–in Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, there are a few events that are told from more than one character’s point of view. One great example would be the fire downtown. Another would be the army hospital. Here’s how you can use these events to work on this standard with students:
1. Pick an event that you’ve read in the story with students or they’ve read on their own, such as the fire downtown.
2. Ask students: how did Dr. Franklin describe the fire downtown?
3. Ask students: What is Mrs. Franklin’s description or opinion of the fire downtown?
4. Make sure students are giving details from the text to support this (Dr. Franklin tells what it was like to fight the fire; Mrs. Franklin at first says it serves the people right for having high prices.)
5. Ask students: What is James’s version of the fire? Again ask for novel support.
6. Discuss with students WHY each of these characters has a slightly different version of the fire. You can even bring in Rev. and Mrs. Lohrs as well as Anna. Each of these characters has an opinion/interaction with the fire. Why aren’t they all describing it the same way? Why don’t they all feel the same way about it?
7. Ask students to tell about an event the entire class attended. You can have them write in their journals first for about 10 to 15 minutes OR you can do think-pair-share–where they are thinking about the event, sharing it orally with a partner, and then the partner shares with the class. Did everyone mention the same details? Why or why not?
8. Now go back to the book and think about the army hospital. Ask students to write down Anna’s description of the army hospital. Next write down Molly’s. Finally do Michael’s or Frank’s. Do they all sound the same? Why are the descriptions slightly different? (They should be different or the students are not thinking about the individual characters.)
This will help students see bias in writing as well as unreliable narrators.
To buy a copy of Finding My Place, see this page: http://margodill.com/blog/buy-finding-my-place/ (Links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Left Bank Books)