Perspective

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

This quote became a reality as I worked with 5th graders today to determine how perspective affected how key events of the Revolutionary War were portrayed.

Students initially sided with the colonists around the statement “no taxation, without representation”. They were very mad that Great Britain punished all of Massachusetts for the “Boston Tea Party” when it was only a few. A passionate student expressed that this was like when a teacher gets mad at a class for only a few, unfair! 🙂 This made made me smile. I agree, that is unfair.

However, when students started exploring Great Britain’s reasons for the taxes, laws, the Boston Massacre, and their retaliation to the Boston Tea Party, things began to change. They struggled with which side was in the “right”. Students were eager to continue our comparison on how the perspective an event is told in changes your interpretation of the event.

Here are a few of the responses from kids on Great Britain’s perspective on the “Boston Tea Party”:

  • As the colonists’ boycott went on British merchants again demanded a repeal of taxes on the colonies. The Boston Tea Party infuriated King George and he agreed that ALL of the Massachusetts colonies had to be punished. But by this time king George refused to give in and repeal the laws and taxes.
  • The king was FURIOUS with the colonists and saw them as rebels and thought he had to show them he was in full control of the colonies.
  • I think Great Britain is mad that the colonists ruined their favorite drink and refuse to pay their taxes.

After our interactive read aloud,students returned to their seats and were searching for perspective in their books. A little girl pulled me over to her in excitement and asked if the news is also reported from a perspective. I asked her, “What do you think?” and she replied, “I do!”. Following that question I realized the weight this simple lesson will hold for these students as they go through life. Hopefully they will take a critical lens to what perspective an event is being told from and search out other sides to formulate their own interpretation, because if Friedrich Nietzsche is correct,“There are no facts, only interpretations”. 

I’m participating in Slice of Life Story Challenge every day in March! Check it out athttps://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/

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6 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. I love how the overall attitude went from angry mob to “wait a minute” in the course of your lesson. We need more of these for the adults in our lives! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this learning moment in your slice!

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  2. I found your blog! Yay!

    I love this, Angela. I think you turned an experience and made it Slice-y by sharing your conversation with the little girl (what a GREAT question, by the way). I do think you taught them a valuable lesson – hopefully they will carry it with them and read everything with an eye for perspective.

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