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Character Perspective in Jack and the Beanstalk


TOPIC: Analyzing Character Persptective and Story Elements/Structure 

GRADE LEVEL: 3rd Grade


  • How does a story change when viewed from different perspectives?
  • How does that effect the art that we make?


  • What is DBI and how can it be used in project-based learning? 
  • How can multiple art forms be used to support content integration?


Students will work together to create a story Students will examine a familiar story from a different point of view. Students will identify the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Students will learn about dialogue and how it helps tell a story in theatre. Students will create puppets, sets, and mood music or sound effects to stage their story. Students will perform their story and film it.



§110.14. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 3

(8) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Fiction. Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of fiction and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:

  • (A) sequence and summarize the plot's main events and explain their influence on future events;
  • (B) describe the interaction of characters including their relationships and the changes they undergo; and
  • (C) identify whether the narrator or speaker of a story is first or third person.

(14) Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students are expected to:

  • (A) explain how messages conveyed in various forms of media are presented differently (e.g., documentaries, online information, televised news);
  • (B) consider the difference in techniques used in media (e.g., commercials, documentaries, news);
  • (C) identify the point of view of media presentations

(16) Writing/Literary Texts. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas. Students are expected to:

  • (A) write imaginative stories that include:
    • (i) a clearly defined focus, plot, and point of view;
    • (ii) a specific, believable setting created through the use of sensory details; and
    • (iii) dialogue that develops the story;

§117.13. Theatre, Grade 3

(1) Perception. The student is expected to:

  • (C) respond to sound, music, images, and the written word with voice and movement and participate in dramatic play, using actions, sounds, and dialogue; and

(2) Creative expression/performance. The student is expected to:

  • (D) reflect the environment, portray character, and demonstrate actions in classroom dramatizations.
  • (C) dramatize literary selections, using shadow play and puppetry;

(3) Creative expression/performance. The student applies design, directing, and theatre production concepts and skills. The student is expected to:

  • (A) identify technical theatre elements;
  • (B) begin to use simple technical theatre elements.

Common Core State Standards

Reading Standards for Literature Grade 3 

Craft and Structure: 

  • (4) Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
  • (5) Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
  • (6) Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

Writing Standards Grade 3

Text Types and Purposes:

  • (3) Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • a. Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • b. Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
    • c. Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
    • d. Provide a sense of closure.

Facilitator: Today we are going to explore the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of this story before. Great! Today we are going to look at the story through a bit of a different perspective. Let’s get started by reading a version of Jack and the Beanstalk.

1. TELL THE STORY (use storybook)  Jack and the Beanstalk, use some interactive elements

Transition: Now that we have heard Jack’s journey lets think about some of the elements of this fictional story. (Teachers, you might also tie this to a folk or fairy tale unit.)

2. GROUP BRAINSTORM (write list on board):

  • Characters in the story
  • Setting (Mood) (agree on four locations, we’ll use these four locations)
  • Conflict (& solution)


"We are going to group up and each group is going to choose one character to explore the story through their point of view or perspective. Can anyone tell me what they think perspective means? Great. We’ve done some analysis of what we know about the story and soon we’ll use that information to make inferences about other story possibilities."


  • Select 1 character per group


"Great, now in our groups we’re going to move through an exercise that helps us learn more about the character’s lives in relation to the story. We’re going to use our inferencing skills to create well developed characters."


4. ROLE ON THE WALL (do for each character, could be done whole class or in small groups)

 Draw the outline of a person on a sheet of paper. Write the character name on top of paper. Start with events and characters from the story (for outside messages/influences/ happening). Brainstorm the messages that the character is receiving and who is sending those messages (family, community, etc). Based on those external messages brainstorm how that character might be feeling on the inside. Write inside figure with another color. Directly relate the external and internal messages. Share out with the larger group.

  • What did we learn about our characters from this exercise?
  • Looking at the inside of our role on the wall do we see any similarities or differences in how these two characters feel throughout the story?


“Great! Now that we have thought about some of the external messages and internal feelings and motivations for our character we’re going to begin telling the story from our character’s perspective.”

 5. SEVEN LINE STORY in GROUPS (give directions to full group, pass out 1 worksheet per group, have each group choose a scribe.)

Once upon a time there was.. And one day... But or Then... And because of that... And because of that... Until finally... And ever since that day...


Once Upon a time there was a tiny green frog.

And one day she hippity hopped to her neighborhood watering hole to catch flies for breakfast.

But the watering hole was gone.

It had dried up.

And because of that she hippity hopped to the next watering hole which was very far away, where she met a new friend.

And because of that she went to that watering hole everyday.

Even though rain had caused her watering hole to refill.

Until finally she was so exhausted she couldn’t hippity hop to the far away watering hole to see her friend every single day.

And ever since that day she and her friend would trade off hippity hopping to one another’s watering holes to share breakfast.

Large Group Story Skill Building/Small Group Creation Time

Each group can shape their story by completing a seven line story in their group, remembering that they will be following the point of the view of the character that they created their role on the wall for.


Divide into Beginning/Middle/End sections. “Using the seven line story, decide what the beginning, middle and end is for your story.”


Teach tableaux to FULL Group “Jack cutting down the beanstock”

"In a moment we are going to create what Jack might look like cutting down the beanstock. We are going to make a frozen image - as stage picture or tableau. If we were to create a frozen image with our bodies of this picture, what details do we need to make sure we have in our image of Jack cutting down the beanstalk? These are great details. Now, let’s talk for a moment about how we create a great stage picture. To create a strong frozen picture, we need to think about the following:"

  • SHAPE: What shape is your body making? How are you using your whole body? How can you use your body to show the audience where to focus? What is the shape of the entire image?
  • SPACE: How much space does your image take up? Why? How does space define character relationships? How might space define the mood and purpose of the overall image?
  • EMOTION: What emotions best captures the character? How do you show these in your body? How can we help communicate the overall emotional quality of the image?

STAGE PICTURE: Ask for three volunteers. Counting them in have them create an image of “Jack cutting down the beanstalk”. DAR focusing on Shape, Space, Emotion.


Great work. Now we have an understanding of what a frozen picture is. In just a moment you will get back into your groups and create three images that represent the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Think about how shape, space, and emotion inform your choices.

(10 minutes) Groups create three images. (facilitators rotate)

(10 minutes) Have each group show their sequence to the group.

Facilitator: "When I say “blackout” the audience will close their eyes while the actors get into place for image number one. When I say “lights up” the audience will open their eyes. Actors, wait til I say “blackout” to change to your next image. Are there any questions about how this will work?" (see each group's image sequence)

Return to middle image to process in each group.

Process each group in a different way: GROUP #1: Full DAR middle image

  • Describe: What do you see in this image?
  • Analyze: Based on what you see, what could be happening in this image?
  • Relate: What title would you give this image?

GROUP #2: Process middle image (“Thought-bubbling”) Quick DAR. What could this character be thinking in this image? If this character was saying a line of dialogue, what might it be? (SCRIBE IDEAS ON BOARD) If this character was responding to that line of dialogue, what might it be?


Great! Now that we have our story and “blocking”, we need dialogue which we began to create by thinking about voices in the head of our tableaux. Does anyone know what dialogue is? Explain. (conversation in between characters, moves forward the story, etc.

 7. CREATING DIALOGUE Let’s look at lines we wrote down on the board as examples. Ask students, who would speak next? What would they say? To help you organize your story we have put together this worksheet. You can quickly sketch in your frozen images. Now for each image please write 1-3 lines of dialogue. Write in the quotations section of the worksheet! You’ll have to decide how the seven line story matches up with the frozen images, and the dialogue. Write your dialogue first though, and then align the elements.

8. MUSIC/SOUND Now that we have the story, blocking, and dialogue we’re going to think about another vital element of theatre. Sound. How is sound used in theatre and movies? (scribe) Great, how do you think they choose these sounds/music? (mood, tone, heighten action, etc) Now for each of your tableaux come up with a sound that will help to communicate the mood or tone of that tableaux. A sound effect or short musical phrase created only by your bodies. Write it in your worksheet. Then hold a full rehearsal without tableau.


Facilitator: "Great! We are going to create sets and puppets for our story. Explain that if we had time we might do a quick DAR (Describe Analyze Relate) with an example of a puppet and set design that works well. What do you see? Quickly popcorn out answers.Then ask, Do you think the people viewing this production can see and understand the emotions and actions of the puppets? What makes the sets and puppets effective? For now we’ll go over these instructions. Characters - Simple, bold silhouettes, physical characteristics that are exaggerated. The goal is to capture the essence of each character. One or two moving parts, no more than two or three sticks. Each character may only have one movement today so pick the motion that is central to the story. Set - Simple, bold images (what makes a strong image - might be a great time to defer to the art teachers so they can give their expert input) emphasize the mood of each place. Tour of materials Create sets and characters (based on how many characters and sets we have and who wants to work on what - we may need to break into groups) Rehearse with puppet sticks (ideally taking some time to learn how small movements need to be to really work on camera and give each other feedback on this process)"




Ask each group to share their story. Will need to project it so everyone can see it.

After each group shares:

  • Ask for appreciations. What moments did you like?
  • What stuck out to you about this character’s story? Why?
  • What were some similarities and differences you saw between the two stories, based on the point of view of the character?
  • How does hearing Jack and the Beanstalk through another character's point of view change how you understand and feel about the story?