Launching Lyddie | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2A:U1:L2

Launching Lyddie

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze the interaction of literary elements of a story or drama. (RL.7.3)
  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases. (L.7.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Lyddie.
  • I can use context clues--both in the sentence and on the page--to determine the meaning of unknown words.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 1


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.     Opening

A.  Entry Task: Settings in Lyddie (5 minutes)

B.  Introducing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.    Work Time

A.  Close Read: Chapter 1 of Lyddie (20 minutes)

B.  Guided Practice with Reader's Notes (10 minutes)

3.    Closing and Assessment

A.  Reviewing Homework and Previewing Checking for Understanding Entry Task (5 minutes)

4.  Homework 

  • In this lesson, students begin to read Lyddie, the central text of Unit 1. This unit focuses on standard RL.7.3: students will analyze how the plot, setting, and characters in Lyddie interact. In this lesson, they learn these terms and apply them to the first chapter of Lyddie.
  • As explained in more detail in the Unit 1 Overview, Lyddie is a more complex text than A Long Walk to Water, and students move through the book fairly rapidly, doing substantial reading for homework. All students, even readers at grade level, will need your support in developing their stamina and independence with complex text during this unit. Consider how your existing routines and class culture around celebrating homework completion and effort might be used to support and encourage students as they read Lyddie.
  • Also be sure to read the text in advance and consider what supports your students will need to understand it. See the Unit 1 Overview for a list of ways to support struggling readers and determine what will be most effective for your students.
  • The sequence of homework, lessons, and assessments in this unit has been carefully designed to provide appropriate supports during class and to make sure that students who are struggling with reading complex text at home will not be unduly disadvantaged on assessments. The sections of the book that students focus on during class are the sections most relevant to assessment tasks.
  • The homework routine is designed to support students in a first read of a given section of text. (Then in class, students reread the most central sections of the text.) The Reader's Notes that students complete as they read for homework and the daily Checking for Understanding entry task that begins class the next day provide students with structures that help them make meaning of the text and then check to make sure their understanding is accurate.
  • In this lesson, students have guided practice with the Reader's Notes that they will use throughout their reading of the novel. The Reader's Notes for Lyddie are similar to those for A Long Walk to Water from Module 1. As they read, students take gist notes (though this time they are organized by character, setting, and plot) and keep track of the new vocabulary they encounter. As suggested in the Unit 1 Overview, decide how you will organize, check, and collect Reader's Notes for Lyddie. Consider checking the work most days but collecting it periodically to look it over more thoroughly. Lesson plans assume that students have the Reader's Notes as three packets and that they will turn in each packet for feedback as it is completed: Chapters 1-7; Chapters 8-17; and Chapters 18-25. After evaluating their work, return these packets to students so they can refer to them as they write their essays. It is possible to organize the Reader's Notes differently to meet the needs of your students.
  • The Reader's Notes that students will use for homework are attached to the lesson in which the homework is assigned, as is the Teacher's Edition of those chapters. The Teacher's Edition always includes all vocabulary words; for several lessons in which you refer to the Teacher's Edition to model, the character/setting/plot chart is also filled in. Please note that you will often need to use the Teacher's Edition for a given chapter in class the day after that chapter is assigned for homework. For example, in Lesson 5, students are assigned to read Chapter 8, and so Reader's Notes and the Teacher's Edition of those Reader's Notes are attached to Lesson 5. However, you will want to use the Teacher's Edition for chapter 8 in Lesson 6, when you review that chapter.
  • Both the Reader's Notes and the Reader's Notes, Teacher's Edition are also available as a part of the Unit 1 Overview (if you want to make packets).
  • In this lesson, explain to your students how their work will be organized and how you will check and collect it.
  • Lyddie contains more difficult vocabulary and syntax than A Long Walk to Water, and teacher read-aloud is frequently used as a tool to help students access and enjoy this text.
  • This module includes a new type of supporting material for reading lessons that is explained more fully in the module and unit overviews: a Close Reading Guide (for teacher reference). This guide is used for lessons that involve the close reading of part of the text and is sometimes (as in this lesson) accompanied by a worksheet (e.g., Chapter 1 of Lyddie Text-Dependent Questions) on which students can record their thinking.
  • In advance: Consider what type of pep talk or planning in class will help your students be successful with completing more rigorous reading assignments for homework. Time is built into the lesson to discuss this with students; consider what your students need to hear from you or discuss.
  • Review: Unit 1 Overview; Preparation and Materials; Reader's Notes, Chapter 1, Teacher's Edition; Lyddie Chapter 1.
  • Post: Learning targets.


elements, interact, plot, setting, character; mighty (2), anxious (4), queer (5), charity (6), beholden (7)


  • Setting pictures A, B, and C (of the three settings for Lyddie) (one of each to display or print out)
  • Entry Task: Lesson 2
  • Lyddie (book; one per student)
  • Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 (two separate supporting materials; one each per student)
  • Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, Teacher's Edition (two separate supporting materials; for Teacher Reference)
  • Chapter 1 of Lyddie Text-Dependent Questions (one per student)
  • Chapter 1 of Lyddie Close Reading Guide (for Teacher Reference)
  • Lyddie: Reading Calendar (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task : Settings in Lyddie (5 minutes)

  • In advance, either post or project the Setting pictures A, B, and C. There is one picture for each setting in Lyddie (cabin, tavern, mill town).
  • Distribute Entry Task: Lesson 2 to students as they enter. Tell them that today they will start a new novel, and that the entry task will let them look ahead to some of the places the book describes.
  • Direct students to complete the entry task individually and silently, just as they did during Module 1.
  • When students are done, call on several to share their answers. Prompt students: "What did you see in that picture that helped you match it with the description?" Listen for students to notice that A is the tavern, B is the cabin, and C is Lowell.
  • Tell the class that the time and place in which a story takes place is called the setting. Ask several students to predict the time and place for Lyddie, but do not tell them the correct answer yet-- assure them that they will be able to test their ideas when they start reading the novel shortly.

B. Introducing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets for today. Tell them that we often think about the elements of a story: the parts that make it up. Setting, which they just discussed, is one element. Characters and plot are two other elements.
  • Ask students to define these words, giving examples from any common text (such as A Long Walk to Water). Listen for students to say that the characters are the people or other actors in a story and that the plot is the series of events in a story.
  • Next, ask them: "What does it mean to analyze an interaction?" Invite volunteers to share their thinking. Guide students, as needed, to define interaction (a process through which several things, possibly people, affect each other). Point out the prefix inter-, which means "between," and connect it to students' understanding of the word interstate: a road that goes between the states. Tell students that readers often ask questions about how different characters interact with each other (for example, when Salva's uncle helped him survive), or about how an event or setting affects a character (for example, how Salva and Nya learned to be persistent because they lived in a challenging physical environment).
  • Finally, define analyze (to examine something carefully; to understand it by looking at its parts). Point out that in Module 1, when students were discussing how Salva and Nya survived, they were analyzing the interaction of character and setting. Point out that through analyzing the story, they will "get to know" the characters better--one of the main reasons that reading any book is enjoyable. Assure them that this intellectual work will actually make the reading process more enjoyable and a richer experience.
  • Consider posting these three terms (setting, character, plot), along with visual representations, in the room. Students will refer to them frequently in this unit.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read: Chapter 1 of Lyddie (20 minutes)

  • Distribute the novel Lyddie to each student. Point out the title of the book. This gives the reader a clue that a person, not an event, is the focus of the book. Assure them that Lyddie is a strong and interesting character--and someone about their age. Remind students that Module 2 will examine working conditions. Through their reading of the novel Lyddie, they will begin to think about questions like these:

*   What are working conditions?

*   Why do they matter?

*   Who creates them?

  • Analyzing Lyddie's experiences will help students begin to answer these questions.
  • Distribute the Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. (If you have decided to make the Reader's Notes into packets, you will distribute the packet that includes Chapters 1-7.) Ask students:

*   "How are these Reader's Notes similar to your Reader's Notes for A Long Walk to Water?"

*   "How are these Reader's Notes different?" Listen for them to notice the similar format for the Reader's Dictionary and the different headings for the gist notes. Tell students that, as in A Long Walk to Water, they'll want to fill in the Reader's Dictionary as they go but should probably wait until the end of a chapter to fill in the other notes.

  • Tell students that in some lessons, you or they will read aloud. Remind them that when they are listening, they also need to be reading silently to themselves.
  • Distribute and display Chapter 1 of Lyddie Text-Dependent Questions.
  • Use the Chapter 1 of Lyddie Close Reading Guide (see supporting materials) to guide students through a series of text-dependent questions related to pages 1-7 of Lyddie.
  • Hearing a complex text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes fluency and comprehension 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 the text aloud.
  • Providing models of expected work supports all learners, especially those who are challenged.
  • When reviewing graphic organizers or recording forms, consider using a document camera or chart paper to visually display the document for students who struggle with auditory processing.

B. Guided Practice with Reader's Notes (10 minutes)

  • After finishing the close reading, display the student version of the Lyddie Reader's Notes for Chapter 1 and model how to fill them out. (You may find the Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, Teacher's Edition to be a helpful resource, but it is useful for the students to actually watch you fill the chart in.)
  • With students' input, quickly fill in setting (farm in Vermont, 1843) and characters (Lyddie, 13; Charlie, her brother, 10; Rachel, 6, and Agnes, 4, her sisters; Mama; bear; Clarissa and Judah).
  • Then fill in the first part of the plot column (a bear comes into the cabin, and Lyddie keeps her family safe) and direct students to work with partners to add the next event to the plot column.
  • When they are done, ask several pairs to share out and add their entry (Mama, Rachel, and Agnes leave to live with Judah and Clarissa) to the plot column.
  • Ask: "What makes plot notes effective?" Listen for them to notice that they are concise, list events in order, and focus only on central events (for example, the bear crashing in the woods is not included).
  • Finally, focus students on the fourth column of the chart. Explain that these questions will help them focus on the interaction of characters, setting, and plot.
  • Direct students to work with their seat partners to answer these questions. Circulate to support them as needed, directing them back to the text for evidence. Use your circulating to select several strong pairs to share out; script their answers as they share to create a common public record of a strong answer.

Closing & Assessments


A. Reviewing Homework and Previewing Checking for Understanding Entry Task (5 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will be doing a lot of the reading of Lyddie at home. Set the purpose for reading at home. You might say something like: "In high school and college classes, students read at home and then use class time to talk about their reading. We will be doing the same thing. You will read carefully at home, and then we will work together in class to get to a deeper understanding of the book."
  • Tell students that this is a challenging book. Ask them to name some reading strategies that will help them read successfully on their own. Listen for them to name: visualizing what they read, connecting the book to their own experience, and slowing down to reread some paragraphs or even some pages to understand what is happening. Stress the importance of rereading. Assure them this is normal for difficult texts.
  • Explain how the Reader's Notes and daily entry task will support them in understanding this book. You might say something like: "The Reader's Notes will also help you understand the book and focus on what to reread. In addition, each class will start with a Checking for Understanding entry task based on the homework from the previous night. For this activity, you will be able to use your Reader's Notes but not the book. The Checking for Understanding entry task is not a quiz, but it lets me and you see how you are doing with understanding the book, figuring out new words, and analyzing the interactions of character, plot, and setting. For example, if you had read this chapter for homework, a Checking for Understanding question might be: 'What does Lyddie mean when she describes her mother as 'queer in the head'?"
  • Ask:

*   "How will reading carefully and having strong Reader's Notes help you on the Checking for Understanding tasks?"

  • Help them generate ideas for how they can make sure their reading at home is as effective as the reading they did in class.
  • Make sure they think about where and when they will read, and what strategies they will use if they get confused. Emphasize the importance of rereading and make sure that students understand that strong readers reread often.
  • If you are using any of the accommodations outlined in the Unit 1 Overview, discuss and launch them here.
  • If you are choosing to use the reading calendar to help students know what is due when, distribute that calendar.


HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Finish reading Chapter 1 and read Chapter 2; complete Reader's Notes for those chapters.

Note: In the next class, you will model how to use the Reader's Notes to perform the entry task. The Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, Teacher's Edition, may be a useful resource for you.


  • Consider providing a reading calendar for students to help them, support teachers, and families understand what is due when. A calendar template is provided in the supporting materials for this lesson.

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