Basil’s New Experience

story by Wendy Graham , illustrated by David Legge

Learning Intention:

I am learning to analyse different perspectives in a text so that I can explain how a text would change with a different point of view.

Success Criteria:

  • I can identify the point of view in a text.
  • I can describe the events of a text from other characters’ perspectives.
  • I can explain how a text would change depending on the point of view.

Essential knowledge:

For more information on context, view The School Magazine’s video on Context.

For more information about lenses in which we view the world, view The School Magazine’s video on Perspective.

For more information on viewpoints, view The School Magazine’s video on Point of View.

Oral language and communication:

Read the title Basil’s New Experience. Ask students to write down predictions based on the following questions:

Who is Basil?

What is the new experience?

Understanding text:

Read the first two sentences of the narrative (My favourite family member, Max, has arrived home from school. I leap up, overcome with joy.) and ask students to revise their predictions if they wish. Read the third sentence of the narrative (Is he about to get my leash and take me for a walk?) and ask students:

Who is Basil? (Dog)

Who owns Basil? (A family)

Who is Max? (Someone from the family – students might predict that Max is either a child or a parent)

Ask students why the author might have decided to use a dog’s point of view rather than Max’s. Guide them back to the title if they’re unsure. Students should connect the fact that Basil is the one who will have the new experience, therefore he is the one who would have the best point of view to tell the story. Ask students to predict what Basil’s new experience might be now that they know he’s a dog.

Read the rest of the story aloud to the class, or, if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording.

When the story’s finished, ask students:

- Why was Basil the best narrator for the story? (It was his experience/it made the story funny/it gave a fresh perspective on dog classes)

- Who else could have narrated the story? (Dad)

- How might Dad’s context and perspective change the narrative? (The tone will become frustrated rather than funny)

Creating text:

Put students into groups of two or three and give each group an A3 sheet of paper. Have students divide the paper into thirds. In the centre of the paper, students write the title Basil’s New Experience inside a circle. Explain that groups will be completing a Circle of Viewpoints task (slides 3-4), looking at the narrative from other characters’ points of view. Groups choose three characters to examine the events of the text from their context and perspective. Explain that while the narrative doesn’t give us exact details about the characters, students can make inferences based on the clues in the text. For example, if Max is Basil’s favourite family member, he probably loves Basil and plays with him a lot, whereas Sarah is easily frustrated by Basil’s playful nature and doesn’t have as strong a relationship with him.

Groups are to make four or five points for each character, writing from the character’s perspective of the events of the narrative. Students can be creative with their ideas, as long as it matches the information from the narrative.

For example:

Sarah – We have such a naughty dog. I wish we had a cat instead!

Dad – I knew buying Max a dog for his birthday would result in trouble!

Flash – Hooray, that cheeky dog from next door is back! Play, play, play, play, play!

Once the class have completed their circle of viewpoints, groups compare their answers and discuss similarities and differences.

Extension: Students write the events of the story from another character’s point of view.

Assessment for/as learning:

As an exit slip, students complete the following template:

If the narrative was written from __________’s perspective, the story would change because ____________________________.