Bud, Not Buddy: Launching the Novel and Understanding Its Context (Chapter 1) | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M2A:U1:L1

Bud, Not Buddy: Launching the Novel and Understanding Its Context (Chapter 1)

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text. (RL.6.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use evidence from the text to make inferences about Bud. 

Ongoing Assessment

  • Exit ticket: Who's Bud?


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A. Unpacking Learning Target (2 minutes)

2. Work Time

     A. Establishing a Context for Bud, Not Buddy (20 minutes)

     B. Whole Class Read of Chapter 1: Who Is Buddy? (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

     A. Exit Ticket: Who's Bud? (3 minutes)

4. Homework

     A. Read Chapter 2. Complete the Bud's Rules graphic organizer for rules 3 and 118.

  • Through the analysis of a photograph and a whole class read of the first chapter, students launch the reading of the novel 
    Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.
  • The purpose of the lesson is to orient students to the context of Depression-era America, as well as gain an understanding of the main character's place in that setting.
  • Consider using additional photographs (follow the link in the supporting materials).
  • While reading this novel, students continue the familiar routines of collecting new vocabulary on a word-catcher and using evidence flags. See Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 2 for description of evidence flags.
  • In advance: create one "The World of Bud, Not Buddy" chart for each triad. This can be half a sheet of chart paper or an 11-by-17 piece of paper, with the photograph and the caption placed at the center.
  • Post: Learning target.


inference, evidence, narrator, protagonist; vagrant, orphaned, Depression


  • Bud, Not Buddy (book; one per student)
  • Photograph for The World of Bud, Not Buddy chart (see Teaching Note)
  • The World of Bud, Not Buddy chart (new; teacher-created, one per triad)
  • Word-catcher (one per student)
  • Evidence flags (one bag per student)
  • Tracking Bud's Rules graphic organizer (one per student)
  • Exit Ticket: Who's Bud? (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unpacking Learning Target (2 minutes)

  • Invite a student to read aloud the learning target

* "I can use evidence from the text to make inferences about Bud."

  • Ask:

*  "What words in the learning target do you think are most important? Why?"

  • As students respond, circle words on the posted learning target and annotate words for meaning or associations. Guide students toward the words evidence, text, inference, and Bud. 
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. They also provide a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Establishing a Context for Bud, Not Buddy (20 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit with their triads around The World of Bud, Not Buddy chart with the image of the boys and the caption.
  • Tell students to begin by focusing only on the photograph. Ask:

*  "What do you notice?"

  • Invite students to silently jot their ideas about the photograph in the space around it.
  • After about a minute of writing, ask:

* "Zoom more closely into the image. Think about the details. Now, what do you notice?"

  • Again, give students a couple of minutes to write down the details they see.
  • Finally, invite students to think about the questions that both this photograph and caption make them wonder. Ask:

* "What do you wonder?"

  • Invite students to silently jot their wonderings about the photograph in the area around it.
  • Tell students to leave the chart paper on their table or desks where they were working. Give directions:
  1. Travel as a triad to the next station clockwise from your own.
  2. At that station, you will have 1 minute to review another triad's "notices" and "wonders." With your group, discuss the questions: "What was similar about their notices and wonders to our own? What was different about their notices and wonders?"
  3. When given a signal, rotate to the next station and repeat the same questions.
  • Allow students to rotate to three or four stations to discuss a diverse selection of ideas.
  • Refocus students whole group and ask:

* "Based on the details of this picture and the context of the caption, what do you think the word orphaned means?" Invite student volunteers to share their ideas. Say: "Orphaned is what we call children who have lost both of their parents." Tell the class that the word orphaned is the verb form of the word orphan and is related to the word orphanage.

  • Distribute the word-catcher. Point out that this word-catcher is the same one they used in Module 1. It is a tool to collect new words they are learning through the reading and discussion of texts throughout this module. Invite students to add the word orphaned to the word-catcher.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "How might the life of an orphaned child be different from the life of a child who has a family?"

  • Invite whole class shares from students, depending on time.
  • Tell the class that the time period in which Bud, Not Buddy takes place is called the Great Depression. Explain that the Great Depression is a period of about 10 years in the 1930s when millions of people in our country were struggling and jobless. The economy and stock market had crashed; the Midwest, where much of our country's food is grown, was struck by drought, so farmers lost their crops; and many took to "riding the rails," crisscrossing the country in search of work.
  • Consider placing students in heterogeneous groupings for their triads based on individual strengths and needs. Each student should understand they bring individual strengths to their group: strong reading skills, writing skills, discussion facilitation, creativity, etc.
  • Having students analyze an image allows them to practice the skills of a close reader, such as asking questions, noticing details, and looking back multiple times for different purposes.
  • Some students may benefit from a sentence starter to prompt their conversations: "The life of an orphaned child would be different because ..."

B. Whole Class Read of Chapter 1: Who Is Buddy? (20 minutes)

  • Distribute a copy of Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis and a baggie of evidence flags to each student. Tell students that they will use this novel as a way to launch their next study: "Rules to Live By ..." Congratulate students, once again, on how well they did with their last whole-class novel, The Lightning Thief, and tell them that much of the same smart thinking and close reading that they learned while reading The Lightning Thief will continue and build in this novel.
  • Tell students that in order to get into the novel, you will read aloud the first chapter as they read along. First, however, they should take a couple of minutes to examine the cover and read the blurb on the back of the book. This will allow them to begin thinking about the character, setting, and plot of the story. After students have examined the cover and read the blurb, ask:

*  "What do you think this book is about?"

*  "Who is the main character, or protagonist, of the book?" Explain that the word protagonist means the leading character, or hero, of a story. Percy Jackson was the protagonist of The Lightning Thief.

  • Invite the class to read along as you read aloud Chapter 1 of Bud, Not Buddy. Read this chapter without stopping or discussing with students. If they have questions, tell them that they will have time to discuss this book more after reading the chapter. They may want to jot questions they have as you read.
  • Invite students to discuss with their triads:

"Who is Bud?"

*  "What have we learned about him?"
*  "What kind of character is he so far? What evidence from the text makes you think this?"

  • Give students 3 to 5 minutes to discuss. Invite a few whole class shares to help all students come to a similar understanding.
  • Tell students that in the next chapter, they will be introduced to some "rules" by which Bud lives his life. These rules provide another window into Bud's character and past. Distribute a Tracking Bud's Rules graphic organizer to each student. Tell them that they will use this organizer to think, write, and talk about Bud's rules. Often, this graphic organizer will be used for homework as they read, and then for discussion at the beginning of class.
  • Review each column with students. Explain that the second column requires them to support their answer with evidence from the text. The third column will not rely on evidence; it is their opinion.
  • Tell students it is all right if they feel a little confusion when trying this out for homework; they will reread and look more closely at this graphic organizer in the next lesson. 
  • Some students may benefit from using a ruler or piece of paper to underline the lines as they are read aloud.
  • Consider posting discussion questions where all students can see them.
  • Consider partnering ELLs who speak the same home language when discussion of complex content is required. This can allow students to have more meaningful discussions and clarify points in their native language.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Exit Ticket: Who's Bud? (3 minutes)

  • Distribute an Exit Ticket: Who's Bud? to each student. Tell them that they should take the next couple of minutes to write two things they learned about the main character in this chapter. Then, they should write "how" they know it. Point out that the first column is for a fact or an inference about character. The second column is for evidence from the text.
  • Circulate and support students as they work. At the end of 2 minutes, collect these exit tickets and review them. This will help to gauge students' understanding and determine which students may need additional support in the reading of this novel. 
  • When reviewing graphic organizers or recording forms, consider using a document camera to display the document for students who struggle with auditory processing.
  • Provide ELLs with a sentence starter to aid in language production. For example: "I think that Bud ..." or "I think this because ..." 


  • Do a "first draft" read of Chapter 2 of Bud, Not Buddy. In this chapter, Bud will begin to share his "rules." After reading the chapter, complete the Tracking Bud's Rules graphic organizer. You will discuss your writing and thoughts at the beginning of the next lesson.

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