The Zorthan Episode

story by Peter Friend , illustrated by Peter Sheehan

Learning intention

I am learning to investigate how point of view is influenced by past experiences so that I can consider an alternative point of view for the characters.

Success criteria

  • I can identify the recent experiences of characters.
  • I can identify how characters’ reactions are influenced by past experiences.
  • I can use past experiences to create stories with an alternative point of view.

Essential knowledge

View the video Point of View from The School Magazine. Ensure students identify that the point of view a text is told from refers to the lens through which the subject is viewed.


Read The Zorthan Episode or listen to the audio file, up to the end of page 21. Discuss the following:

  • Whose point of view is the story told from? (It’s told in the third person, focusing on Will and Mia)
  • What have Will and Mia just been watching and playing? (Zorthans)
  • What do Will and Mia find in the kitchen? (Their mum is missing and there is a broken pink teacup)
  • What happened in the previous episode of The Zorthans?

(Princess Zillani had been turned into a china vase. And then, when the Princess had tried to escape by wriggling off the vase stand, she had smashed herself on the floor below).

Note: inform students that this forms part of the character's recent experience.

  • What do Will and Mia think happened to mum? (She has turned into a teacup, and she has smashed herself on the floor just as Princess Zillani did)
  • Why do Will and Mia think this? (They have recently watched that particular episode of The Zorthans and they were playing the game)


Keep reading to the end of the story, Page 22, or listen to the audio file. Discuss the following:

  • How do the characters react when they think mum is the teacup? (They talk to the teacup, and both start crying)

Read to the end of the story and identify what had happened to mum (she had gone outside to collect the dustpan and brush and had got talking to the neighbour, Mrs Williams). Discuss the following:

  • How do the characters’ past experiences shape their reactions? (They connect the broken teacup in the kitchen to the one in the episode of The Zorthans and they believe that mum has been turned into a teacup, just as the princess was in the television episode)
  • How might we use this in the stories we write? (We can use past experience to provide backstory for how the characters behave)

Inform students that they will be composing their own story about characters connecting current events to past experiences. Tell them that first you’ll be completing an example collaboratively.

View the episode Women’s World Cup from Behind the News. Discuss the subject matter, ensuring students identify it focuses on the soccer Women’s World Cup. Discuss how Will and Mia might have reacted to finding the broken teacup if they had just watched this episode of Behind the News. For example, they might have thought mum had dashed off to play a game of soccer, breaking the cup in her haste. Collaboratively compose a brief narrative about Will and Mia’s reaction to the broken cup with this as their previous experience. Use the following line from The Zorthans in the beginning of the story:

But when they got through the kitchen doorway and looked around, there was no sign of their mother at all.

But there was something on the floor.

Just beside the kitchen table, on the floor tiles, there was a smashed teacup. A pink one.

For example:

“Hmmm, that’s strange,” Will said.

“But where’s mum?” Mia asked.

They looked from the teacup to the open back door. Mum must have left in a hurry.

“Perhaps she’s dashed out to play soccer,” Will suggested.

“Oh yes, she might want to find a team, now soccer is so popular,” Mia agreed.

“That makes sense. Go mum,” Will exclaimed.

“Yes, go mum! Soccer lasts for at least ninety minutes, so she won’t be home anytime soon. Guess we’d better clean up this mess then,” Mia said with a shrug.


Instruct students to compose their own stories. Tell them that they should decide whether Will and Mia are happy about mum playing soccer or not. Place students with a partner and instruct them to compose a brief story.

Assessment for/as learning:

Instruct students to respond to the following exit ticket question in their workbooks:

  • Writers can use past experiences to_______ (provide backstory to explain their character’s reactions)