WISS Today Article


By Holly Clegg, Grade 3 Teacher

One of the most compelling reasons to teach children is seeing them learn and then take off using what they have learned to go in directions you may never have thought of; in essence taking ownership of their learning. In our current unit on How We Express Ourselves, Grade 3 focused on Perspective as one of our driving concepts. We approached this concept through storytelling. This is one of the more challenging concepts to teach, as you are trying to get the students to view an event from someone else’s point of view. A challenge, one could argue, that even adults can face.

Most of us have probably heard or read a version of the Three Little Pigs. The traditional tale usually has the three pigs going out into the world, making their houses then having them blown down by the Big Bad Wolf. Two pigs get eaten because their houses are flimsy, and the third pig survives because his house was made out of bricks. Depending on the version you read the Wolf either dies (he climbs down the third pig’s chimney and ends up in a cooking pot), or he goes away defeated and the third pig lives happily ever after.

Initially our students believed that the Wolf was indeed the ‘bad guy’, that is until we read them the story from another perspective: The True Story of the Three Little grade-3-2-adjusted-02Pigs. In this version the Wolf gives his side of the story. This resulted in the students suddenly being a lot more critical; “Where is the evidence?”, “Is it the Wolf’s fault?”, “We eat pigs, so is it really bad of him?” These were just some of the initial questions that came up.

Throughout the rest of the unit, the students no longer just read a story or fairy-tale. They started to question the main character’s perspective and opinion, clamouring for more evidence! This is what was so compelling about teaching this particular unit; the students became more critical in their thinking, and yet open to new ideas and different perspectives. The most rewarding part as a teacher is witnessing the students take these lessons and concepts and apply them to the real world; empowering them so they can make more informed decisions. In the words of Margaret Mead: “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”