First, the students identified the three perspectives: Billie Jo (protagonist), Pa (character), and a historical figure living in the Dust Bowl (found via research). Then the students described life in the Dust Bowl from each perspective and provided support for their thinking.
One of the many challenges the students face while participating in Circle of Viewpoints is explaining why each perspective feels or acts the way in which he or she does. However, by completing this activity in groups, students were able to build off of each others' ideas and suggestions. One of the many great aspects of this activity is the shift in emphasis from "one correct answer" to "can you justify your thinking?" As a result, the students feel free to express themselves and as indicated by the responses below, write beyond expectations. Considering that these students have been hesitant to write any more than what is only necessary, we were very impressed with the Circle of Viewpoints activity results! The students included many details, as well as identified key main ideas from the Dust Bowl unit. I look forward to using this activity again.
Here are two of the group submissions: