Close Read, Part 1: “Hugo, the Lord’s Nephew” | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M2B:U2:L2

Close Read, Part 1: “Hugo, the Lord’s Nephew”

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text. (RL.6.1)
  • I can determine a theme based on details in a literary text. (RL.6.2)
  • I can analyze figurative language word relationships and nuances in word meanings. (L.6.5)
  • I can interpret figures of speech in context. (L.6.5a)
  • I can use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words. (L.6.5b)
  • I can distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions). (L.6.5c)

Supporting Targets

  • I can read the monologue "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" for flow and for gist.
  • I can determine the themes of the monologue "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew." 

Ongoing Assessment

  • Reading for gist notes
  • Theme of Adversity graphic organizer for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew"


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Setting the Stage for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" and Homework Routines (7 minutes)

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Reading for Flow and Gist: "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" (20 minutes)

B. Identifying Themes of Adversity: "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" (10 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Adversity Today--Question and Discussion (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read "Giles, the Beggar" and complete the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer.

  • In Unit 2, students read some of the monologues in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! in class and some for homework. Introduce the routine of triads meeting when they begin class.
  • To simplify management, students should remain in stable triads throughout this unit.  When forming triads, consider students work styles and readiness.  Form these groups with the intention of giving students opportunities to share their thinking.  For example, placing an especially quiet student with a student who routinely asks questions or shows encouragement.  Furthermore, students who may need support in understanding the language or content of the monologues may be placed with students who are more ready for this level and style of reading.
  • This lesson introduces the routine students will use to closely read selected monologues. In this lesson, students use close-reading strategies to understand the flow of the text and get the gist of the monologue "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew." The monologue will be experienced four times--first through just listening, then listening and reading along, then partner reading, and finally independently reading silently and making note of the main idea of each stanza.
  • After reading for flow and gist, students work with partners to identify themes of adversity or challenges that the main character, also the narrator, presents. They will look for evidence that expresses the theme or themes. Evidence in the text supports more than one theme of adversity in "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew." Consider collecting the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" to see what adversities students feel they are faced with today.
  • Present the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer they will use to identify and record themes, evidence, and who was affected by these challenges. Students will use the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer as they identify and record themes found in the monologues of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! throughout this unit. 
  • Point out that this is a general graphic organizer that students will use throughout the unit; a new copy, named for the monologue, will be given to them in each lesson they need it.  In this lesson, they first use the graphic organizer for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew"; they then take a second graphic organizer home to use for taking notes when reading "Giles, the Beggar."
  • An answer key is not given for every Themes of Adversity graphic organizer. Be sure to read the monologues in advance to help guide students in this work.  In each lesson opening, guidance is given what students should have noticed and what you might "listen for" in students' conversations.
  • In this lesson, the class also launches a "Themes of Adversity" anchor chart.  This is a single anchor chart to keep throughout the rest of the module. Tracking the class' thinking on this chart will help students see the patterns, as well as the variety, in the types of adversities the characters face in the texts students are reading.. 
  • Throughout this unit, students will use two word walls.  The Academic Word wall (used in the first half of the unit) is used to collect academic vocabulary.  The Writing Word Wall (used in the second half this unit) is used to collect domain-specific vocabulary that students may use in their own writing. In the supporting materials for this lesson is a list of words that are added to the Academic Word Wall across multiple lessons; keep this as a reference.
  • In advance:

-    Determine triads.

-    Practice reading the monologue. Be mindful of the author's use of structure and punctuation as you read aloud for flow and gist.

-    Prepare the Themes of Adversity anchor chart (see supporting materials).

-    Create the Academic Word Wall

-    Add to the Academic Word Wall: themeadversity.

-    Determine triad groups for the opening discussion of homework.

-    Determine partners for reading the monologues and identifying themes of adversity.


monologue, theme, adversity, flow, gist, stanza; Feast of All Souls (2), friants (2)


  • Document camera
  • Themes of Adversity graphic organizer for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" (one per student and one to display; see Teaching Notes)
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (book; one per student)
  • Sticky notes (10 per student)
  • Equity sticks
  • Academic Word Wall anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see Teaching Notes)
  • Themes of Adversity anchor chart (new; teacher-created)
  • Themes of Adversity graphic organizer for "Giles, the Beggar" (one new blank copy per student; see Teaching Notes)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Setting the Stage for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" and Homework Routines (7 minutes)

  • Group students in triads for daily Openings. Explain that in this unit they will join these triads at the beginning of each lesson to share the independent work they did at home. Tell them that the efforts of their work at home contribute to the experience they have as a group to explore the struggles of children in medieval times and the struggles of children today.
  • Tell students that they will read the monologue "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
  • Ask students to look at the title of the monologue. Ask them to discuss with their triads which class Hugo belonged to and what his living conditions were probably like. Listen for responses such as: "He lived in an upper class," "He lived in the class of lords," "His family owned land," "He lived in a wealthy class," or "He lived in the manor house."
  • Tell them that throughout Unit 2, they will read a different monologue each night on their own for homework. Explain that the characters they meet will live in different classes and face very different challenges. Remind them that the characters "tell their own stories" in the monologues.
  • Explain that as they read the monologues in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, they will look for the evidence the author uses to create images and illustrate their difficulties. They will then use a graphic organizer to record their findings.
  • Use a document camera to briefly display the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer for Hugo, the Lord's Nephew. Tell students they will have an opportunity to work with this graphic organizer while reading "Hugo, The Lord's Nephew.
  • Presenting the homework routine at the beginning of this lesson helps set the stage for subsequent lessons in this unit. It lets students know that they are accountable for doing their homework and being prepared to collaborate with and contribute to the work they will do with their triads.

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the first learning target aloud:

* "I can read the monologue 'Hugo, the Lord's Nephew' for flow and for gist."

  • Ask students what it means to read for both flow and gist. Ensure they understand that reading for flow means to read in a smooth, continuous way. And to read for gist means reading to get the main idea or point of the text.
  • Explain that punctuation provides the signals readers need to guide the flow of their reading. It helps with understanding what the author is telling us. Consider comparing punctuation to traffic signals. A red light is signaled by end punctuation such as periods, question marks, or exclamation marks. Colons and semicolons are also red lights. A red light, a place to stop, often signals that one thought or idea is ending and a new one is beginning. A yellow light, signaled by a comma, is a place to pause. The absence of punctuation is a green light--proceed. Speed also affects the flow. Adjust the speed to fit the message.
  • Point out a punctuation mark that students may not have seen before, the em dash. Explain that em dashes are often used by authors in place of commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses. Their job is to indicate added emphasis on an idea or to signal an interruption in the flow of the writing or an abrupt change of thought.
  • Redirect students' attention back to the posted learning targets. Invite them to read the second learning target with you:

* "I can determine the themes of the monologue 'Hugo, the Lord's Nephew.'"

  • Remind students that they were introduced to theme in Lesson 1. Ask them to turn and talk with a partner:

* "What is theme?"

  • Cold call students. Listen for and guide them to recall that a theme is an author's message about a subject or topic. Remind them that the themes they are reading about in Unit 2 are about adversities or challenges that people faced during the medieval age.
  • Tell students that authors communicate their theme through the type of language they use and by describing the subject. Often the subject is described repeatedly.
  • Learning targets are a research-based strategy that helps all students, especially challenged learners.
  • 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. Reading for Flow and Gist: "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" (20 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will do a close read of the monologue "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" in the book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Explain that a close read involves listening to and reading the monologue four times. Each time the reading is a little different:

-    First read: Listen with eyes closed as the teacher reads aloud.

-    Second read: Open the book to page 2 and follow along as the teacher reads aloud.

-    Third read: Take turns reading aloud to a partner. Tell students to use whisper voices as they read to keep the overall classroom volume down and keep distractions to other students at a minimum.

-    Fourth read: Read the monologue independently. Pause at least twice per page. Use sticky notes to annotate or make note of what is happening in that part of the monologue.

  • Complete the first read.
  • Start the second read by asking students to look at page 2 in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Point out that some words and phrases have numbers after them. Remind students that these are endnotes and that they saw one of these in the previous lesson. Direct them to page 83 and read aloud the explanations for the numbered terms.
  • Complete the second read by inviting students to read along as you read aloud.
  • Form student partnerships. Tell students to read the monologue aloud to each other. As they read aloud, circulate and listen for reading fluency.
  • Prepare students for the fourth read. Distribute 10 sticky notes to each student. Remind them to pause at least twice per page to make note of what is happening in the monologue. Explain that breaking the passage into smaller sections, or chunking, helps with understanding the gist, or the main idea of the monologue.
  • Remind students that they may finish before some of their classmates and ask them to respect the quiet reading environment. Encourage them to reread and review their notes while their classmates finish.
  • Circulate as students read independently.
  • Refocus students whole class.
  • Recognize them for following the steps of a close read. Explain that the work they have just completed will help with identifying the themes of adversity in the monologue.
  • Hearing text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes fluency for students; they are hearing a strong reader read the text aloud with accuracy and expression and are simultaneously looking at and thinking about the words on the printed page.
  • Be sure to set clear expectations that students read along silently in their heads as you read aloud.
  • Make note of students who may benefit from reading in supported small groups when reading aloud or reading to annotate.

B. Identifying Themes of Adversity: "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" (10 minutes)

  • Remind students that in Lesson 1, they were introduced to themes of adversity.
  • Use equity sticks to select students to read the definitions of theme and adversity on the Academic Word Wall.
  • Distribute and display the Theme of Adversity graphic organizer for Hugo, the Lord's Nephew.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "What adversities or challenges did Hugo face in the monologue?"

  • Listen for responses such as: "not wanting to be in school," "fear of being punished," and "proving you can act like a man on a hunt."
  • Ask students to record these themes in the first column of the Theme of Adversity graphic organizer for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew", as you record them on the displayed version.  
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "What group of people in medieval times might also be affected by that challenge?"

  • Listen for responses that include people in the upper classes, such as nobility, knights, lords, and the clergy. Model writing this response on the displayed version of the graphic organizer. Note that this information also goes in the first column of the organizer.
  • Direct students' attention to the second column of the graphic organizer. Invite them to find evidence in the text that identifies the adversities that they listed in the first column. Ask students to include the page number where they found their evidence. Include that as you model using the graphic organizer. For example, on page 2 Hugo says, "I ran from my tutor" and "Latin and grammar--no wonder!"
  •  Ask students to work with their partners to complete Columns 2 and 3 for the themes they identified.
  • Reconvene students attention whole class.  Direct their attention to the Themes of Adversity anchor chart.  Tell students that this will be a place in which they will collect various themes of adversity they identify in the monologues.  This tool will help them if they get stuck on a monologue, as many themes are common across literature, and seeing a collection may help to get them started. 
  • Let them know that they will do the same kind of work for homework. 
  • Consider allowing select students to complete one adversity with a partner or in a supported small group.
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms engage students more actively and provide the scaffolding that is especially critical for learners with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning.
  • When reviewing graphic organizers or recording forms, consider using a document camera to display them for students who struggle with auditory processing.
  • Providing models of expected work supports all learners, especially those who are challenged.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Adversity Today--Question and Discussion (5 minutes)

  • Ask students to turn and talk:

* "Do the themes of adversity in 'Hugo, the Lord's Nephew' exist today?"

  • Cold call a few pairs to share their thoughts.
  • Ask students to record their thoughts on their Themes of Adversity graphic organizer for "Hugo, the Lord's Nephew" using evidence or examples from their own experience.
  • Circulate as students are writing their responses. Make note of those who understand the theme of adversity and are using relevant evidence or examples and those who may benefit from additional support.
  • Refocus students whole class.
  • Distribute the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer for "Giles, the Beggar." Remind students of the value of this homework for having rich and engaging discussions with their opening triads.
  • Some students may be facing adversities that are personal to them. Assure them that they do not need to share personal situations with the class.


  • Read "Giles, the Beggar" and complete the Themes of Adversity graphic organizer.

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