Understanding Interactions: Launching Pygmalion, Part 1 | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2B:U2:L2

Understanding Interactions: Launching Pygmalion, Part 1

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite several pieces of text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text. (RL.7.1)
  • I can analyze the interaction of literary elements of a story or drama. (RL.7.3)
  • I can select high-quality texts to read independently. (RL.7.11a and b)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze the play Pygmalion for internal and external characteristics of its main character, Eliza.
  • I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Pygmalion.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 1


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

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

     B.  Introducing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Close Read: Section 1 of Pygmalion (23 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

     A.  Complete Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (Column 4 and Reader's Dictionary).

     B.  Read independently for 20 minutes.

  • This unit focuses on standard RL.7.3: Students analyze how the plot, setting, and characters in Pygmalion interact. In this lesson, they learn these terms and apply them to the first section of the play.
  • Students have guided practice with the Reader's Notes that they will use throughout their reading of the play. The Reader's Notes for Pygmalion are similar to those for A Long Walk to Water from Module 1 as well as those used in Unit 1 of this module. As they read, students take gist notes (though this time the notes are organized by character, setting, and plot) and keep track of the new vocabulary they encounter.
  • As suggested in the Unit 2 Overview, decide how you will organize, check, and collect Reader's Notes for Pygmalion. Consider checking the work most days but collecting it periodically to look it over more thoroughly. After evaluating students' work, return these packets to the 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.In this lesson, explain to your students how their work will be organized and how you will check and collect it.
  • Pygmalion contains more difficult vocabulary and syntax than A Long Walk to Water. Teacher read-alouds, as well as Close Reading Guides, are used as a tool to help students access and enjoy this text.
  • Access to drama also depends heavily and uniquely on oral interpretation of the script. See the Unit 2 Overview for suggestions for how to deliver the script of Pygmalion auditorily. Find some way for students to hear the multiple voices, accents, and emotion that accompany the lines of the play and allow the script to be "lifted off the page." This is especially important considering that the play's plot centers upon the transformation of Eliza Doolittle's speech.
  • In Section 1 and throughout Act I and II, it is critical for students to understand that Eliza is speaking in her Cockney accent. Later, her voice changes because of the influence of Henry Higgins' training; this fact is also critical to understanding the play. If you are comfortable with mimicking accents or have stage training, consider making sure that when Eliza's lines are read, they are read with the appropriate accent. If not, find a way for students to hear an audio version of the lines whenever possible. Refer to the Cockney station in the Gallery Walk of Lesson 1 as well, where needed.
  • Review: Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (for teacher reference)
  • Post: Learning targets.


elements, interact, plot, setting, character; italics, stage directions, pedestrian, portico, preoccupied, gumption, dialect, phonetic, unintelligible, amiable, sovereign (half-a-crown, tuppence, ha'pence, tanner); proximity, bloke, deprecating, sensibility, row, molestation


  • Setting Pictures A, B, and C (one of each to display or print out)
  • Entry Task: Lesson 2 (one per student)
  • Pygmalion (play; one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 1 (one per student)
  • Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion, Section 1 (for teacher reference)
  • British Dialect/Slang anchor chart (new; teacher-created)
  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (one per student)
  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (for teacher reference)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

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

  • In advance, either post or project Setting Pictures A, B, and C. There is one picture for each setting in Pygmalion (Covent Garden, Henry Higgins' laboratory, Mrs. Higgins' parlor).
  • Distribute Entry Task: Lesson 2 to students as they enter. Tell them that today they will start a new play, and that the entry task will let them look ahead to some of the places the play describes.
  • Direct students to complete the entry task individually and silently, just as they did in the previous lesson.
  • 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 Covent Garden, B is Henry Higgins' house, and C is Mrs. Higgins' parlor.
  • 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 Pygmalion, 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 play shortly.
  • Consider posting these three terms, along with visual representations, in the room: setting, character, and plot. Students will refer to them frequently in this unit.
  • Consider posting the three pictures of the settings of Pygmalion in the classroom for the duration of the unit, to help students visualize the details of Victorian London.

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 students:

*   "What does it mean to analyze an interaction?"

  • Remind them that they have done this already in Unit 1. Listen for them to say that an "interaction" is the way aspects of a story or piece of text interact and influence one another.
  • Finally, have the students define "analyze." Remind them that this is reviewing material from Unit 1. Listen for: "to examine something carefully; to understand it by looking at its parts."
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read: Section 1 of Pygmalion (23 minutes)

Note: Bear in mind that Eliza Doolittle is not described by that name until Act II, and in Act I is known only as "the Flower Girl." Don't explain this yet to the students.

  • Distribute the play Pygmalion to each student. Point out the title of the play--it has the same title as that of the myth they read in Lesson 10 of Unit 1. Clarify for them that the play is not about Pygmalion, but about a story that relates to the myth (how it relates will become clear as the students progress through the unit). Through their reading of the play Pygmalion, they will begin to think about questions like these:

*   "What is identity?" (Remind them that this was the focus for Unit 1).

*   "Why does identity matter?"

*   "Can identity change?"

  • Distribute the Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1. Ask students:

*   "How are these Reader's Notes similar to your Reader's Notes for Unit 1?"

*   "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 Unit 1, they'll want to fill in the Reader's Dictionary as they go but should probably wait until the end of a section to fill in the other notes.

  • Tell students that in most lessons, you or they will read aloud (or hear an audio version of the play). Remind them that when they are listening, they also need to be reading silently to themselves.
  • Distribute and display the Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 1.
  • Use the Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion, Section 1 (see supporting materials) to guide students through a series of text-dependent questions related to Section 1.
  • 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 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 Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 and model how to fill them out. (You may find the Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 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 (Covent Garden) and characters (the Daughter, the Mother, the Bystander, etc.).
  • Then fill in the first part of the plot column (A family is caught in the rain, and the son cannot find a cab) 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 (The son runs into the Flower Girl, who tries to sell a flower to the Mother) to the plot column. Ask:

*   "What makes plot notes effective?"

  • Listen for them to notice that effective plot notes 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 rereading of Pygmalion at home. Set the purpose for rereading. 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 play."

  • Tell students that this is a challenging play. 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 play 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. Good readers are good readers because they reread.
  • Explain how the Reader's Notes and daily entry task will help them understand the play. You might say something like:

*   "The Reader's Notes will also help you understand the play 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 play. The Checking for Understanding entry task is not a quiz, but it lets me and you see how you are doing with understanding the play and figuring out new words."

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

  • Help students 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 they understand that strong readers reread often.


  • Complete Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (Column 4 and Reader's Dictionary).
  • Read independently for 20 minutes.

Note: In the next class, you will model how to use the Reader's Notes to perform the entry task. The Reader's Notes: Pygmalion Section 1 (teacher reference) may be a useful resource for you.

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