Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Dog's Story

Point of View

K20 Center, Paula Morris | Published: August 4th, 2021 by Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits

  • Grade Level Grade Level 3rd, 4th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 1-2 class period(s)
  • Duration More 120 minutes


This lesson begins with a discussion of how authors tell great stories. Students will hear two stories about dogs, one told from the first person and the other from the third person point of view. Students will use a Card Sort activity to discover how to tell the difference in point of view and will discuss why authors might choose different points of view. Students will then use a picture prompt to write in either first or third person and then evaluate a partner’s work to determine the point of view in which it was written.

Essential Question(s)

How does the author tell the story?



Using Collaborative Word Clouds, students think about the question "How do authors tell great stories?"


Students listen to two stories about dogs told from different points of view.


Students think about how each story is told and begin to define first vs. third person using the two stories to support their knowledge.


Students use a fun picture prompt to write a paragraph-long story using first or third person.


Students read classmates' stories and determine if each was written using first or third person.


  • "Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School" by Mark Teague

  • "Smelly Bill" by Daniel Postgate

  • POV Student Story handouts

  • POV Card Sort

  • Markers and poster paper


Break students into groups of three or four and pass out poster paper and markers to each group. Using the Collaborative Word Clouds strategy, ask groups to think about the question “How do authors tell great stories?” Groups should discuss their answers and add key words to the poster.

After the brainstorming period is complete, ask each group to present its poster to the class.

Introduce the essential question: “How does the author tell the story?”


Read students two stories about dogs, one written from the first person and one from the third person:

  • "Dear Mrs. LaRue" is written from the first person. You can find a video of the story here.

  • "Smelly Bill" is written from the third person. You can find a video of the story here.

Explain to students, “These two stories are told in different ways. I want you to use these quotes from the books to think about how the authors tell the stories from different points of view.”

Using the Card Sort method and the attached card sort document, have students organize the cards in a pattern that makes sense. Remind students to think about the question “How does the author tell the story from different points of view?”


After students have arranged their cards, have them share the rules they used to sort the cards.

Adding to students' ideas, explain the difference between first and third person point of view. Talk about key words and phrases, like “I ran through the mud.” vs. “Mrs. LaRue ran through the mud.”

Using the Think Pair Share strategy, ask students to think about and share the following: "How would "Dear Mrs. LaRue" be different if told in third person? How would "Smelly Bill" be different if told in first person?"

Ask students to revise their card sorts and rules based off the information you shared.


Give each student a copy of the POV Student Story handout. The handout should be printed double-sided with the Author page on the front and the Reviewer page on the back.

Have each student look at the picture and write a paragraph-long story about what happens next. Assign half of the class to write in first person and the other half to write in third person.


Using the Commit and Toss strategy, have students crumple their paper and gently toss it toward the center of the room.

Ask students to pick up a different paper and read their classmate's work.

On the “Reviewer” page, students should determine which POV the author used and explain how they knew based on evidence from the text.

You can evaluate students' understanding of POV from the writing and identification portions of this assignment.