The Corner Shop

story by Andrea Keyo , illustrated by Jake A Minton

Learning Intention:


I am learning to create imaginative texts that use context to provide insight into a character’s perspective so that I can create well-developed and believable characters.


Success Criteria:


  • I can examine how knowledge of context impacts my perspective.
  • I can create an idea where the context influences perspective.
  • I can include my ideas in a story.
  • I can provide context in an engaging way, for example through flashback or via dialogue.


Focus question:


How does empathy and understanding link with perspective and context?


Essential knowledge:


View the video Perspective from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

  • Perspective shapes what readers see in a text and the way they see it
  • Perspective can be influenced by readers’ experiences, their attitudes, values and beliefs
  • Authors have their own perspectives
  • Authors’ perspectives are revealed through ways such as the language they choose to use, what they have included or left out of a text, and how they structure a text.

View the video Context from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

  • Context refers to the factors outside the text that shape its meaning
  • This means our own experiences and knowledge influence how we create texts, and how we respond to them
  • Context can include the time, place, and culture in which the author lives that influences the composition of the text.


Inform students that our perspective may be influenced by the context, either the context which the story was written in (who/when/where it was written) or the context in which the story is set, and the characters exist (When and where the story is set and the characters’ unique context).


Oral language and communication:


Note: Prior to the lesson, discuss the fact that stealing is illegal. Inform students that in this activity they will be considering how their perspective of who is to blame for stealing may change over the process of them developing a deeper understanding of the context.

Be mindful of the context within the classroom with the topic of the activity and consider replacing the first topic for the alternative topic provided.

Display the following scenario, without revealing any of the context yet:

  • A child has a chocolate bar that they didn’t pay for in their pocket when they leave a corner shop.
  • Alternative topic: A younger sibling gets angry at you, seemingly for no reason.

Discuss the scenario, encouraging students to consider whether they think the child is guilty or not. Students may comment on elements such as the fact the chocolate bar was found in the child’s pocket or the fact that the scenario omits to mention how it ended up there.

Once students have concluded their discussion, provide the following piece of information:

  • The child who stole the chocolate bar didn’t steal it themselves. Instead, their friends placed it in their pocket.
  • For the alternative topic: The younger sibling has had a particularly challenging day, and they didn’t sleep well the night before.

Reflect on how this new piece of information may change the students’ perspective of the situation. Most likely students will comment that the additional information changes their opinion. Draw students towards concluding that often understanding the context influences our perspective.


Understanding text:


Read Corner Shop or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription. Discuss the following:

  • How does Danny treat the main character when they go to the cash register to pay for a slushie and one chocolate bar, but they don’t offer to pay for the chocolate bar that Danny knows is in their pocket? (Danny raises his eyebrows and asks if the main character is only buying a slushie and the one chocolate bar, but he doesn’t question them about the chocolate bar in their pocket)
  • How else might Danny have reacted? (He might have accused the main character of stealing or blamed them for placing the chocolate bar in their pocket)
  • Why doesn’t Danny accuse the main character of stealing? (He understands that the Ben and Nico placed it in there and he reveals it is a test, to weed out the kids he can trust from those he cannot, in case any of the children ask them for a job when they are older)
  • How does the main character react when they discover a chocolate bar that they didn’t pay for in their pocket? (They immediately want to return to the shop and give it back, but Ben and Nico talk them out of it. Later, they visit Danny’s corner shop and returns the chocolate bar, prepared to take the blame for the theft until Danny reveals he knows that it wasn’t their fault)

Emphasise that Danny could have based his perspective of the main character solely on the results (the chocolate bar in their pocket). Instead, he understood the context and used this to form his perspective.

Those with a digital subscription can complete the interactive activity, The Corner Shop, Checking Understanding, now.


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be creating their own story, where context influences a character’s perspective of another character. Gradually release responsibility by working on an example collaboratively first. Discuss other actions that are deemed morally inappropriate just as stealing is and note these on the board. For example:

  • Lying
  • Betraying a friend

Discuss the following question:

  • Is there ever a time when these actions might be OK? (For example, it was necessary to lie to protect someone’s feelings)

Tell students that they will be creating a scenario where a character could form their perspective based solely on the results of the actions, just as Danny might have. Instead, they’ll show their character choosing to seek to understand the context before forming their perspective. Tell students that the context could form part of a backstory (the history of a fictional character).

Discuss an example, using the following questions to guide responses:

  • What action will the character display? (Lying about their plans for the next day)
  • What might another character’s perspective of this action be? (Another character, their friend, might think that they are being unkind and that they are trying to leave them out of an event)
  • What context/insight can you include that provides an explanation for the character’s actions? (They are planning a surprise party for the friend that they lied to)
  • How might this impact the other character’s perspective? (They know that they can trust their friend due to their past actions, so they give them to benefit of the doubt and wait to see what happens. When they attend the planned surprise party their trust in their friend is confirmed)

Place students with a partner and instruct them to use the same questions to plan their own ideas. Tell students that they should use their ideas to compose a story. Inform students that they can include the context in a variety of ways and display the following examples:

  • Writing the story in chronological order, so the back story appears first
  • Including the backstory as a flashback
  • Including the context as part of the dialogue between two characters

Allow time for students to compose their stories.


Assessment for/as learning:


Conference with students as they compose their stories. Once stories are complete, refer to the success criteria and instruct students to self-assess their work by ticking the criteria they have included. Tell students that they should score any criteria they have ticked out of five, depending on how well they believe they have met that element. Students should use the elements of the success criteria where they scored in the higher range to make a comment on their strengths. For example,

I have successfully generated an idea where context influences a character’s perspective.

Students should then use any criteria where they scored the lower range to set individual learning goals, for example,

My learning goal is to provide context in a creative way, for example through a flashback or dialogue.

Exit ticket

Students should respond to the following exit ticket question in their workbooks, to show their reflections on the focus question now that they have completed the lesson:

  • How do empathy and understanding link with perspective and context?