Lesson plan

Exploring Different Perspectives in Folktales

Give your students the opportunity to explore the perspectives of different characters by using the "Circle of Viewpoints" Visible Thinking Routine from Harvard's Project Zero.
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Students will be able to distinguish their own point of view from those of the characters in a story.

(5 minutes)
Circle of ViewpointsFolktales: The Princess Mouse
  • Tell your students that today they'll be exploring the perspectives of different characters in stories.
  • Explain that considering different PerspectivesMeans exploring different point of views or the ways characters can sometimes view the same situation different ways.
  • Add that considering the different perspectives of characters requires that you pay close attention to the actions, reactions, and behaviors of each character.
  • Tell your class that they will be using the Circle of Viewpoints thinking routine to record their thoughts about the perspectives of different characters.
(10 minutes)
  • Show students an enlarged version of the Circle of Viewpoints on chart paper.
  • Point out how the circle is divided and where notes about each character's perspective, as well the students' perspectives, will be recorded.
  • Choose a short folktale such as City Mouse, Country MouseOr Mufaro's Beautiful DaughtersTo demonstrate how to identify character perspectives and record them on the Circle of Viewpoints.
  • Use sentence frames to model examples of questions you ask yourself as you consider the perspectives of the characters. For example: I am thinking of this part of the story from the point of view of..., As (character), I think..., As (character), a question I have is...
  • Record 1-2 observations for each character and 1-2 observations for your own perspective as well.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that now they get to help you add observations to the Circle of Viewpoints.
  • Continue reading the chosen folktale aloud. Ask students to make observations that you can add to the enlarged chart.
(25 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of The Princess MouseTo each pair of students.
  • Tell your class to read the The Princess MouseWith a partner.
  • Give each student a copy of the Circle of Viewpoints handout.
  • Remind everyone to use the sentence frames if they need help getting started. Also make it clear that they can use the sentence frames as a tool, but they don't need to copy them onto the worksheet.
  • Allow your students to choose two characters to focus on in the worksheet. Remind them to leave space where they can record their own thoughts and perspective about the story.


  • Ask students ready for an extra challenge to support their ideas about the character perspectives by using evidence and providing quotes from the text.


  • To offer further scaffolding for this routine, ask students to concentrate on providing the perspective of only one character at a time. Write out the sentence frames and post for students to use as a thinking resource as they complete their Circle of Viewpoints worksheet. Work in small groups to demonstrate further use of the recommended sentence frames to help students think about the story from the different perspectives they have identified.
  • Integrate technology by accessing the digital version of this lesson through Nearpod.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather students as a whole group and ask them to share one of their partner's observations.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask your students to get with a new partner and share any new ideas they have about the story that they didn't have before.
  • Encourage your class to share any new questions they have about the story after examining it from the different character viewpoints.

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