Purpose: What kind of thinking
does this routine encourage?
This routine helps students to explore different perspectives and
viewpoints as they try to imagine things, events, problems, or issues
differently. In some cases this can lead to a more creative understanding
of what is being studied. For instance, imagining oneself as the
numerator in a fraction. In other settings, exploring different
viewpoints can open up possibilities for further creative exploration.
For example, following this activity a student might write a poem
from the perspective of a soldier’s sword left on the battlefield.
Application: When and Where can
it be used?
This routine asks students to step inside the role of a character
or object—from a picture they are looking at, a story they
have read, an element in a work of art, an historical event being
discussed, and so on—and to imagine themselves inside that
point of view. Students are asked to then speak or write from that
chosen point of view. This routine works well when you want students
to open up their thinking and look at things differently. It can
be used as an initial kind of problem solving brainstorm that open
ups a topic, issue, or item. It can also be used to help make abstract
concepts, pictures, or events come more to life for students.
Launch: What are some tips for starting
and using this routine?
In getting started with the routine the teacher might invite students
to look at an image and ask them to generate a list of the various
perspectives or points of view embodied in that picture. Students
then choose a particular point of view to embody or talk from, saying
what they perceive, know about, and care about. Sometimes students
might state their perspective before talking. Other times, they
may not and then the class could guess which perspective they are
In their speaking and writing, students may well
go beyond these starter questions. Encourage them to take on the
character of the thing they have chosen and talk about what they
are experiencing. Students can improvise a brief spoken or written
monologue, taking on this point of view, or students can work in
pairs with each student asking questions that help their partner
stay in character and draw out his or her point of view.
This routine is adapted from Debra
Wise, Art Works for Schools: A Curriculum for Teaching Thinking
In and Through the Arts (2002) DeCordova Museum and Sculpture
Park, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Underground