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Character Counts, character education, perspective taking

Overview:
Fairness is hearing all sides to a story, even when it’s hard to see there is another side. This lesson is designed for students to stretch their ability to see the view of others in stories that feel like there is a good and a bad side. Students will be encouraged to think about how a story that they thought they knew looks different when you see the perspective of others.

Character Education Objectives:

Students will:

  • identify the perspectives of each character. 
  • discuss the impact of seeing only one side of a story. 
  • reflect on their own experiences with fairness. 

Materials:

  • Choose a classic good vs bad story like Hansel and Gretel, Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf, The Three Billy Goats Bluff, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.

Lesson:

Large Group

  1. Read or tell the story you chose. Pick a story where there is a good vs. bad dynamic with the characters.
  2. Explain to the students that every story has two sides. To be fair, you need to hear both sides. Share with students that the story you just read only shares one side of the story. We know this because the story focuses on the one character and we know what that character does before, during and after the main events. 
  3. The other side of the story is the “bad guy’s” story. For example: In Hansel and Gretel there is only the story of the children and the witch’s story goes untold.
  4. Explain to the students that they will be creating another story to show the view point of the other character in the story.

Small Group

  1. You can also do this in a large group depending on the developmental level of your students. 
  2. Students will write and/or draw a short story that involves telling the side of the other character in the story. The story will need to include the following:
    • The main plot points of the story.
    • Why do you think the character did what they did?
    • What did this character do before the event?
    • What was the character thinking during the event?
    • How did the character feel after the main events?
    • What did the character do after the main events?
  3. Have the groups share their short story out to the large group.

Discussion Questions

  • When you first read the story, did you think about the side of the other character? Why or why not?
  • Did writing the other character’s side of the story change how you felt about the character? If so, how?
  • What would happen if you didn’t think about the other character’s side of the story?

Journal

Think about a time where you were in a disagreement with someone. What was your side of the story? What do you think their side of the story was?

Learn more about character education.

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K-5 lesson: perspective taking
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