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Lesson Title: Point of View: Types, Trends, and Uses of Narration in Short Stories

Unit: Elements of the Short Story Genre

Lesson Author: Kristen Rafferty

Grade Level: 9th

Subject Area: English

Time allotted for the Lesson: 40 minutes

Curriculum Standards met in this lesson:

NYS Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding (Students will collect data, facts, and ideas, discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations…to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information).

NCTE Standard 5—Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write… to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Instructional Objectives: Students will...

•Identify the types of narration present in the text

•Recognize and interpret the purposes of the chosen point of view in the text

•Develop their understanding of point of view by rewriting a section of the text in various types of narration

•Develop their understanding of character and setting through the author’s use of narration.

•Practice identifying and utilizing various points of view to specific purposes.

Materials, Resources and Technology: The Tell-Tale Heart, Point of View worksheet, Rewriting Point of View worksheet

Anticipatory Set: (5 minutes)

Begin by telling an amusing story about a friend to your students. Be careful to use specific narrator cues that students can later identify as indicative of the type of narration you are using. When you are finished, ask students if they know that while telling stories, people become narrators. Say: Think about when you tell a story to a friend, just as I have told this one to you. Depending on who is telling the story, the story changes, right? If I was telling a story about how I tripped down a staircase, I would include my entire thought process, wouldn’t I? I would tell you—“I saw a string and I thought it was a shadow, so I kept walking and then I realized it wasn’t , and then I fell...” If YOU had seen me fall, you would tell it differently. How would you tell it, Student A? Allow students to practice telling an amusing story about the teacher from their point of view. Connect: Explain that just like in real life, short stories include narrators who are involved in the story in different ways. Say: It is necessary to identify what type of a narrator you’re dealing with in these stories, because it might change the whole story around for you—if you all had only heard Student A’s version of my fall down the stairs, I might look like the clumsiest person in the world.

Teaching Input/Modeling: (10 minutes)

Hand out Point of View worksheet before going over direct lesson instruction.

Ask students to name some types of narration—if they answer vaguely, prompt them with questions to eventually come to the right title. Say: There are three types of narration possible in a story—third person lmited, third person omniscient, and first person. We’re going to review each of them—take notes, because this will be necessary to remember later on. Encourage students to ask any questions they may have, especially between limited and omniscient narrators. Review lesson thoroughly.

Provide direct instruction on white board of the different types of point of view

Model how to determine what type of narrator exists in a text.

àIntroduce concept of an unreliable narrator. Say: Do any of you know people like this? People whose stories you hesitate to believe because you know they are biased in some way? Bias is an inevitable part of life—many narrators of short stories are unreliable because of some aspect of their character or involvement with the protagonist.

Identify previous examples on the board as unreliable or reliable narrators

Explain to students that they will separate into groups and identify types of narration using the Point of View worksheet.

Recapitulation or Checking for Understanding: (1 minute)

Before dividing into groups, check for understanding. Ask: Once more, what are the three points of view? How do recognize unrealible narrators? Remind students of the tell-tale signs—bias, familial relationships, etc. Repeat that students are to first identify the type of narration, and then determine if it is an unreliable or reliable narrator.

Application: (10 minutes)

Students should break into groups to begin identifying narrator types on the worksheet. Everyone should be participating—suggest: have each group member initiate what they think the type of narration is, and then discuss as a group whether or not this is a valid identification.

Each member of the group should fill out and hand in a P.O.V. worksheet.

Move around the room checking on group work and individual participation levels.

Teacher Input/Modeling: (2 minutes)

Say: Now that you’ve handed in your worksheets, we’re going to practice point of view by rewriting a passage from the text in a different type of narrator voice. Instruct students to refer to the Rewriting POV worksheet—they should work individually and quietly on this activity for the rest of class.

Application: (10 minutes)

Students should complete the worksheet individually and creatively—move around the room to review student work and answer any questions. Answer any valid question with an announcement to the class. If desired, write one line from the passage on the Rewriting POV worksheet on the board, and model for students how to rewrite it in a different narrator voice.

Lesson Closure: (2 minutes)

Say: Point of View is a strong literary device in any story you will read. It is always worth considering when doing a close reading of a text—look at your lessons thus far in this unit on the other elements of a short story. Identifying point of view and how the type of narration relates to character, setting, themes, etc. can tell you more about those elements, more about the text in general. And the more you know about these elements of a text, the easier it will be to unpack its meaning. Keep point of view and narration in mind when you’re writing, too—remember your audience—and try to immediately identify the type of narration when you begin reading a text.

Independent or Paired Practice:

Students should finish the Rewriting POV worksheet for homework if they have not finished adequately in class.

Students should be prepared to identify narrator voice in future texts and explain how it relates to/adds to the story in some way.

Highlighting, notetaking, or underlining are practices that are strongly encouraged toward this purpose. Students should be continually demonstrating an improvement toward recognizing these elements in short stories throughout the unit.


Formative: Observe group work; confer with students on identification and discussion of point of view. If possible, every student should demonstrate recognition of all three types of narrator voice. Anecdotal notes will be used to mark students’ participation and learning.

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