Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne is one of my favorite books to teach with! Every year, my students are mesmerized by the illustrations and love to see how the different points of view are woven together.
I use this book teach point of view. This year I used it to introduce a short writing unit that we are going to do between Thanksgiving and winter break which focuses on looking at a person from different points of view. I divided the students into four equal groups and spread the groups out in the room and the hallway. The book is told from four points of view, or voices, so each group was assigned to a different voice, and they were given a file folder with a copy of each illustration from their voice.
The students had time to look at all of their pictures and share what they saw. After enough time for discussion, they were instructed to put the pictures in what they thought was a logical order, coming up with a story about what was happening as they worked. When the groups were finished writing down their stories, I put the pictures up on the board in their order and they took turns telling their stories to their peers. One of my favorite parts of this activity is when at this point, they realize that “their” characters are in someone else’s story, too. After each group had gone, I gathered the students on the rug and read aloud the text.
I love this lesson for so many reasons. The conversations at all stages are organic and each year I do this activity, there has never been a student disengaged on the sidelines. The book provides an authentic discussion on how the point of view of the story can make such a difference, even with a plot as simple as going to the park.
If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at this book, I highly recommend you do. I do this lesson each year with third graders and love teaching it every time!