K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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  • The Frog Prince: Compare and contrast: This lesson can be used with numerous pieces of literature, films, or sound material to develop viewing and listening skills and the students' ability to compare and contrast. One of the richest sources is in the area of fairy tales and folktales. This an especially good source if you can find a modernized version in recorded form to contrast with the more traditional written form. I have used the "Frog Prince" because of this factor and because it was part of the 4th grade language arts reading unit.
  • Is Mr. Wolf really a bad guy?: This lesson is intended to show children the importance of evaluating information as they read. The author's point of view is limited in that it only truly shows one side of the story. There is always another perspective. How the author views a subject colors everything that he or she writes about.
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff: Students will examine language in three different versions of the traditional "Gruff" tale. These will be compared and contrasted through Venn diagrams. Each text will be introduced, examined, and contrasted in a different lesson.

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Students will learn about point of view by comparing and contrasting the views of slaves and a doctor in The People Could Fly retold by Virginia Hamilton and an excerpt from The Passing Clouds by David Morrill.

I strongly suggest the teacher previews the excerpt from The Passing Clouds. Some students and parents may find the language offensive. The text is useful, though, because it allows students to actually read the perspectives of some people who lived in the area during the 1800s and early 1900s.

Learning outcomes

Students will learn how to interpret point of view from a folktale and from a historical account of a doctor.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 days


  • The People Could Fly retold by Virginia Hamilton (also available in the Prentice Hall Literature book Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes [Bronze Level, 2000])
  • Chapter “The Southern Negro,” an excerpt from The Passing Clouds by David Morrill, beginning on page 91, available from the Eastern North Carolina Digital Library
  • Computer with internet connection
  • Paper and pencils


  • Before beginning the lesson, the teacher should preview the chapter “The Southern Negro” in David Morrill’s The Passing Cloud.
  • The teacher should lead a discussion about the historical views of people in the South, and about the dialect of the people during the 1800s and early 1900s. The teacher should make it clear that the views of the author of The Southern Negro should not be viewed as the view of all people during that period. A discussion about stereotyping would also be helpful.


  1. Have students read The People Could Fly and lead a discussion about the meaning of the story and the views of the slaves of their plantation owners. While reading, students should be made aware of dialect and vocabulary and how it affects a story.
  2. Have students generate in their reading/writing logs their views of the story The People Could Fly and how it makes them feel.
  3. Read aloud to students excerpts from the chapter “The Southern Negro” in The Passing Clouds. As you read, stop periodically and discuss differences in dialect and vocabulary between that period and the present day.
  4. Lead a discussion on the views of the doctor based on the passage.
  5. As a whole group, discuss how viewpoints affect literature.
  6. Have students generate in their reading/writing logs their opinion of the different views of the story The People Could Fly and “The Southern Negro.”


  • Have students create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the different views of The People Could Fly and “The Southern Negro.”
  • Have students share their written reflections about each reading in small groups, discussing with each other how point of view affected their reactions.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 7
          • 7.RL.6 Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 7

  • Goal 1: The learner will use language to express individual perspectives in response to personal, social, cultural, and historical issues.
    • Objective 1.02: Explore expressive materials that are read, heard, and viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • summarizing the characteristics of expressive works.
      • determining the importance of literary effects on the reader/viewer/listener.
      • making connections between works, self and related topics.
      • comparing and/or contrasting information.
      • drawing inferences and/or conclusions.
      • determining the main idea and/or significance of events.
      • generating a learning log or journal.
      • maintaining an annotated list of works read/viewed.
      • creating an artistic interpretation that connects self and/or society to the selection.
      • constructing and presenting book/media reviews.
  • Goal 4: The learner will refine critical thinking skills and create criteria to evaluate text and multimedia.
    • Objective 4.01: Analyze the purpose of the author or creator by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • examining any bias, apparent or hidden messages, emotional factors, or propaganda techniques.
      • exploring and evaluating the underlying assumptions of the author/creator.
      • understanding the effect of the author's craft on the reader/viewer/listener.
  • Goal 5: The learner will respond to various literary genres using interpretive and evaluative processes.
    • Objective 5.01: Increase fluency, comprehension, and insight through a meaningful and comprehensive reading program by:
      • using effective reading strategies to match type of text.
      • reading self-selected literature and other materials of individual interest.
      • reading literature and other materials selected by the teacher.
      • assuming an active role in teacher-student conferences.
      • engaging in small group discussions.
      • taking an active role in whole class seminars.
      • analyzing the effects on texts of such literary devices as figuarative language, dialogue, flashback, allusion, and irony.
      • analyzing the effects of such elements as plot, theme, point of view, characterization, mood, and style.
      • analyzing themes and central ideas in literature and other texts in relation to personal issues/experiences.
      • extending understanding by creating products for different purposes, different audiences and within various contexts.
      • analyzing the connections of relationships between and among characters, ideas, concepts, and/or experiences.