Friday, December 5, 2014

RL.7.6 - Comparing Two Perspectives in Touching Spirit Bear

I used this anchor chart to kick off teaching about comparing perspectives. The following questions guided our thinking about how a narrator communicates the different perspectives of characters in their stories. To model, I read aloud pgs. 137-139 from Touching Spirit Bear to refresh students on Cole and Garvey's perspective of the hotdog in the chapter 16. They have two very different perspectives! I also recorded what actions, dialogue, or thoughts as evidence the narrator provided for these characters that supported each of their perspectives. You can see my thinking recorded on the anchor chart below. (A) stands for an Action; (D) stands for Dialogue.

After watching me model how to record the two different perspectives about the hot dog in Ch. 16 and evidence to support each perspective, students practiced the same skills using the stick presented in Ch.17 on pgs. 144-146. Both Cole and Edwin view the stick differently.
 Students skimmed through their books to find actions and dialogue that supported each character's perspective.

The next day, we shared out about the two perspectives Cole and Edwin had about the stick. I recorded those perspectives on our chart. Then I had each student take a post-it and write one piece of evidence they found for either Cole or Edwin. We reviewed these as a class using the document camera. Many students found the same actions and dialogue which was affirming; it also helped me identify which of my students were still struggling.

Here's an upclose shot of the evidence students gathered to support Cole's perspective of the stick. This gave students who were absent a chance to quickly get caught up and a chance for students who didn't have enough evidence or the wrong kind of evidence to fix what they had.

This part of the chart helped us store evidence students found to support Edwin's perspective of the stick. Afterward, students worked to find evidence to support each character's perspective about the rock in Ch. 18.

Then it was time to use this information to respond to a prompt that asked students to compare two characters' perspectives about an item in the book. I brought out a previous anchor chart we had used for responding to a short answer question. We originally used it more in the context of informative writing, but I wanted to make the connections to writing about literature, too. One of the problems I've noticed in my students' writing is that they are good at finding evidence to support claims and main ideas, but they do very little to explain why the evidence supports their claim or main idea. So, as students shared with a partner about the evidence they found for each character's perspective about the rock in Ch. 18, I was sure to push them to use the following stems: One piece of evidence I found to support ____'s perspective about the ___ is _____. This dialogue/action shows that... Then when we shared out as a class, I was sure to have students use that same phrase. You can see I wrote it at the top of my board above the chart.

I modeled responding to the following prompt, using the perspectives of Cole and Garvey about the hotdog. My notes from the graphic organizer came in handy for helping me plan my writing!

We nearly ran out of time as I hand-wrote my model of responding to the prompt, so for the next class, I typed up my response and color-coded it so students could see each part of a strong response. (You'll see that these colors are also indicated on the checklist in the next picture.) I emailed this sample response to students so they had something to refer to when drafting their own response.

I had students use this checklist to help them organize their writing.

This writing assignment required that students do many things - refer to their graphic organizer of notes and the checklist, skim the book for appropriate page numbers and to clarify information, and type of their response. Talk about synthesizing materials to put them all together into one response! Because I modeled my response using the hotdog, students go to choose if they wanted to compare Cole and Edwin's perspectives about either the stick OR the rock. 

You can see that students color-coded their response as they drafted to 'prove' that had each part of the response. They also checked it off on their checklist.

Some students chose to hand-write their response but referred to my sample response to help guide them in drafting their own.

Students peer revised with one other person in the class by electronically 'sharing' their response. Peer revisors used the Google comment tool to highlight areas of the writer's work that needed more attention and leaving a comment about what to fix. Students then made the recommendation fixes based on their peer's feedback. Then it was time to print. Here is one student's final response comparing Cole and Edwin's perspective about the rock.
 This student chose to compare the two perspectives Cole and Edwin had about the stick.
We will continue to grow in our ability to respond to prompts using:
  • topic sentences
  • paraphrased or word-for-word evidence from the text
  • cited page numbers and sources
  • explanations for why the evidence supports the topic sentence
  • concluding sentences
It can't all happen overnight, but we're getting there!


  1. Hello, where can I get a copy of your graphic organizers and checklist for you RL 7.6 activity.

  2. I love this! Would you be willing to share the graphic organizers? Thanks!