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Lesson Plan #:AELP-WLG000
Author: Gary Miller; Whitford (Int.) Beaverton, OR
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops. Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9


  • Language Arts/Whole Language

I have used it successfully with 7th through 9th grade students. It may be presented as a language arts activity but could easily be presented as a cultural awareness or human relations activity.

Overview: This lesson involves observation, role playing, writing in character, and presentation to the class. Students will visualize themselves as an observer of humanity in a given situation. They will be stepping out of their own character and into the character of someone else (what an opportunity to teach Reach!). They will react to a situation as they imagine someone else might and then write about it. Your classroom may need to be reorganized to simulate a shopping mall, but you need no special equipment or materials.

Purpose: As this lesson unfolds, students will begin to understand how they observe, identify, and sometimes judge others by behavior and appearance.

Objective(s): This lesson will help kids become better observers, demonstrate point of view as a literary and human function, and teach them an important lesson about how to understand differing perspectives in the same situation.

Resources/Materials: The only materials required for this activity are a flexible room, imagination, and a very heavy book. (a microphone can be improvised)

Activities and Procedures:

  • Ask students to list the different types of people they might see at a large shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon (families, kids, security and custodial people, clerks, retired people, mall walkers, people canvassing, etc. List as many as possible on the board.
  • Have the students choose one character and visualize what that character might be doing at the mall. Then adjust your classroom to accommodate movement and have the kids actually simulate their characters by turning the room into the shopping mall! Encourage the kids to really get into their roles.
  • After the students have been role playing for about two minutes (just make sure they are completely absorbed in what they are doing), slam the heaviest book in the room down on the floor. Explain that a huge explosion has just occurred. Instruct the students to return to their desks and write what just happened from the point of view of the character they are pretending to be.
  • Allow five to ten minutes for writing and then ask students to meet in small groups to read their writing to each other. Each group should choose the best or most effective writing from their group.
  • Select a TV interviewer from the class and stage a Man on the Street interview with all of the selected authors. ( I usually choose one of my least successful writers as the interviewer)
  • Discussion may follow concerning point of view writing.
  • Tying It All Together: In addition to being an active, fun, and creative way to teach a literary element, this activity helps students to see how they look at others, and how different people might have differing perspectives on the same experience. While some what slanted culturally (in that it assumes most kids have access to and would go to a shopping mall), the format allows for modification and adjustment to create an environment where students might enjoy the privilege of walking a mile in someone else’s moccasins and learning a new point of view.