Analyzing Character: Launching Pygmalion, Part 2 | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2B:U2:L3

Analyzing Character: Launching Pygmalion, Part 2

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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 track the development of Eliza Doolittle as a character through the play Pygmalion.
  • I can cite specific evidence from the play Pygmalion to determine Eliza's internal and external characteristics.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Eliza Character Tracker
  • Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 1
  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Checking for Understanding Entry Task (12 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Introducing the Eliza Character Tracker (3 minutes)

     B.  Close Read: Pygmalion, Section 2 (20 minutes)

     C.  Guided Practice: Eliza Character Tracker (7 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Previewing Homework and Reviewing Learning Targets (3 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Finish filling in the Eliza Character Tracker for Section 2.

     B.  Independent reading (20 minutes).

  • In the early lessons in this unit, students are introduced to several new routines to support them in reading Pygmalion. Therefore, there is more modeling of how to do specific routines. Students watch you model how to use the Reader's Notes to complete the daily Checking for Understanding entry task, as well as strategies students might use to make meaning of this text when reading for homework.
  • The lesson provides significant scripting as a resource for teachers. However, consider what type of modeling will best support your students and adapt the modeling to meet your style and their needs.
  • This lesson introduces the Checking for Understanding entry task. Students answer several questions about the previous night's homework using their Reader's Notes and the text of the play. Decide how you want to collect these and use the information and communicate that clearly to students. Especially during the first part of the unit, consider the entry task as useful formative data to guide instruction (rather than as an assessment for a grade). Encourage students to use the task as a self-check: if they can answer the questions correctly, they are understanding the homework reading; if they cannot, they should consider how to change their homework practices (for example, by doing more rereading).
  • Consider how you might present this routine to students to ensure that they understand it as a tool that you and they will use to help them become better readers, rather than as a way to "catch" students who aren't reading at home. Emphasize that reading, rereading, and taking good notes are important strategies for making meaning. Consider how your grading structures might be used to recognize effort and thoroughness on the Reader's Notes and success with the Checking for Understanding entry task.
  • This lesson, plus Lessons 4 and 5, focuses on helping students understand Eliza, one of the main characters, in preparation for writing an argumentative essay on how she changes over the course of the play. The closing gives students an opportunity to synthesize what they have learned about Eliza so far.
  • In advance: Pygmalion is a difficult text. 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 in to discuss this with students. Emphasize the use of practices such as rereading and focus on helping students engage with the main character. Consider what your students need to discuss.
  • Review: Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 2 (for teacher reference). Note that the teacher's edition for Section 1 was provided at the end of Lesson 2, when the notes were distributed to students. This will be the case throughout the unit; see the Unit 2 Overview for details.
  • Post: Learning targets.


internal/external characteristics


  • Pygmalion (play; one per student)
  • Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 1 (one per student and one to display)
  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (from Lesson 2; for teacher reference)
  • Document camera
  • Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 1 (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Diversity Discussion Appointments handout (from Unit 1, Lesson 4)
  • Eliza Character Tracker (one per student and one to display)
  • Internal and External Identity anchor charts (from Unit 1, Lesson 10)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 2 (one per student)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 2 (answers, for teacher reference)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Checking for Understanding Entry Task (12 minutes)

  • Be sure students have their text, Pygmalion. Distribute Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 1 to students as they enter. Tell them that usually they would complete this individually, but today you will guide them through the process.
  • Remind students that they can use their Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1, and the play, to answer these questions. Remind them that the purpose of this is not to quiz them, but to show how they are doing with taking notes and with understanding character, plot, and setting in Pygmalion. You might say something like:

*   "The skills of reading, rereading, and taking notes are so important that you are going to work with your notes almost every day so that you can see how they help you and so that you get into the habit of reading carefully and taking good, thorough notes."

  • Display the Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 1 (for teacher reference) on a document camera. (Note: These were provided in the Lesson 2 supporting materials along with the student version of those sections, as will be the case throughout this unit. See the unit overview for details.) Give students a few moments to compare their notes to yours.
  • Prompt all students to raise their hands to represent how they feel about their ability to fill out their Reader's Notes, using the Fist to Five Checking for Understanding technique.
  • Describe to the class any patterns that you notice in this early self-assessment. You might say something like:

*   "I see that a number of students are holding up 4s or 5s. Great! Many of you are confident in your ability to complete these Reader's Notes since you had lots of practice with them in Module 1. I wonder if those of you who have held up 2s or 3s should concentrate on taking more notes, or rereading the text a few more times as you work."

  • Cold call a few students to point out some similarities and differences between your notes and theirs. Give them specific positive feedback for their efforts to understand the text.
  • Display the entry task and direct students to complete it individually as you model out loud. See the Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 1 (answers, for teacher reference) for a suggested way to model this task. As you model out loud, also write your answers down to provide a record of what exemplary work looks like.
  • When students are done with the entry task, notice and appreciate their success with completing the reading and note-taking assignment for homework. Assure them that it will get easier as they get used to the process and become stronger readers. Emphasize the importance of rereading. If appropriate, ask several students to share what they did to ensure that they were successful with the homework assignment.
  • Developing self-assessment and reflection supports all learners, but research shows it supports struggling learners most.
  • For definitions of words in Pygmalion, refer to the teacher reference version of the Reader's Notes. Also consider the Longman online dictionary at, or Merriam-Webster's Word Central at, both of which provide student-friendly definitions.
  • Some students may benefit from being privately prompted before they are called on in a cold call. Although cold calling is a participation technique that necessitates random calling, it is important to set a supportive tone so that its use is a positive experience for all.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Introducing the Eliza Character Tracker (3 minutes)

  • Have students take out their Diversity Discussion Appointments handout (from Unit 1). Invite them to pair up with their Blue Hands appointment.
  • Distribute the Eliza Character Tracker. Give pairs 1 minute to find one "notice" and one "wonder" about the Character Tracker.
  • Ask for volunteers to share their "notice" and "wonder." During the course of this class examination of the Eliza Character Tracker, make sure these points are addressed, either by you or by the students' comments:

-   The Eliza Character Tracker will be used, as the title indicates, to "track" the changes in a character named Eliza Doolittle. Let the students know that they have actually already met this character in Section 1 and have them take a guess as to who it is (the Flower Girl).

-   The Eliza Character Tracker is divided into two sections, Part I and Part II. Part I is what will be used for the majority of the unit. Part II will be used at the end of reading the play, in Lesson 11.

-   The tracker asks students to track both Eliza's internal and external identity characteristics. Remind them that they spent much of Unit 1 discussing both internal and external characteristics of identity. Point out that the Internal and External Identity anchor charts are still posted in the room, and they should refer to them in this lesson and in the future when needed.

  • Consider modifying the Character Tracker ahead of time to meet student needs: simplifying the wording, including copies of the Internal and External Identity anchor charts, partial or entire fill-ins, and so on.
  • Review the definitions of identity, internal identity, and external identity if needed during Work Time A.

B. Close Read: Pygmalion, Section 2 (20 minutes)

  • Tell students that will you read Section 2 of the play aloud to them today. Preface this section by previewing the main actions:

-   We find out in this section that the Note Taker, who will become a very important character, is actually a phonetics expert named Henry Higgins.

-   Higgins meets another language expert named Colonel Pickering, who will also become a very important character.

-   The Flower Girl (Eliza Doolittle) remains frightened and insulted by Higgins but is fascinated by the boast Higgins makes that he could teach her to act like a duchess and no one would know the difference.

  • Tell students they will now read an excerpt from Section 2 closely to analyze what we know so far about Eliza Doolittle (referred to in this section as the Flower Girl).
  • Ask the students to raise their hands if they know which learning target this addresses. Wait for most of the students to raise their hands and then call on one to explain. Listen for: "I can track the development of Eliza Doolittle as a character through the play Pygmalion."
  • Tell students that you will read the excerpt aloud, and they should read along silently. Ask them to underline words or phrases that help them understand how Eliza feels and acts in a certain way. Remind them that the words might not explicitly name an emotion (e.g., "she was sad") but might implicitly show an emotion (e.g., "her eyes began to fill with tears").
  • Remind them that it is essential to look at both the lines and the italicized stage directions for information about Eliza.
  • Read the excerpt aloud with expression, from "All the rest have gone ..." on page 22 to "And on the profits of it ..." on page 23. (Refer to the Teaching Notes for Lesson 2 and the Unit 2 Overview for suggestions on how to present the play orally or auditorily to students.)
  • Ask the students to "popcorn" (share out randomly as they choose) some of the words they underlined that refer to Eliza. Listen for them to note that Eliza is pitying herself, that she is sad and overwhelmed, but that she also has a small spark of resistance and a sense of self-worth. Probe for evidence for these answers, such as: "The stage directions say she is talking to herself in a pitying voice."
  • Distribute Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 2. Have students fill them out with a partner.
  • Use Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 2 (answers, for teacher reference) to guide students through the answers.

C. Guided Practice: Eliza Character Tracker (7 minutes)

  • Have students look at their Eliza Character Trackers again. Tell them that now they will use their previous reading and the answers to the Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 2 to fill in the first few items of the Eliza Character Tracker. Model the first two entries under the document camera:

*   "First, let's focus on External Characteristics/Identity. What do we know about Eliza's external identity, from this lesson and the previous lesson?"

  • Consider referring students to the External Identity anchor chart for a refresher on what external identity consists of.
  • Listen for students to recall the detailed description of Eliza's clothing and appearance from yesterday's reading, her job, her socioeconomic status, and her Cockney accent. Record each of these details on the External Characteristics/Identity section of the Eliza Character Tracker under the document camera while students place them on their own Eliza Character Trackers.
  • If students have trouble remembering these details, cue them with statements such as:

*   "Yesterday, the author provided us with a lengthy description of Eliza's appearance in the stage directions on pages 16-17."

  • Move on to Internal Characteristics/Identity, saying something like this:

*   "Now, let's use the Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 2 to make our first Internal Characteristics/Identity entry. We've determined from Eliza's first three lines that she is pitying herself quietly (in murmurs), but that she is still willing to be angry out loud at the Note Taker and to stand up for herself. I'm going to record as follows across the chart, and you do the same: 'Act I/angry, pitying herself, sense of self-worth/pitying herself in murmurs".../pages 22 and 23.'"

  • Let students know that they will complete their entries on the Eliza Character Tracker for homework and that their Checking for Understanding Entry Task in Lesson 4 will be based on the Eliza Character Tracker.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Previewing Homework and Reviewing Learning Targets (3 minutes)

  • Remind students that one thing readers do is to think about the main character in a play and try to understand her. They did this a lot when studying A Long Walk to Water (which actually had two main characters). They have seen Eliza interact with several other characters, settings, and events in Section 2.
  • Ask students to turn and talk with their partner:

*   "What have you learned about Eliza's external and internal identity?"

*   "What seems to be important to her?"

  • Cold call several students to share their answers, providing positive feedback for textual support.
  • When possible, try to create some suspense around what will happen to Eliza. For example:

*   "Eliza, the Note Taker and Colonel Pickering are going to meet again in Act II. I wonder what will happen."

  • Preview the homework. Let students know that they will return to the regular routine of Reader's Notes in Lesson 4.
  • Encourage students to use what they learned from the Checking for Understanding entry task today to guide how they read and take notes this evening. Remind them that they will be completing the entry task on their own in the next lesson.
  • If some students are using the accommodations outlined in the unit overview, this is a good time to check in with them about how well those accommodations are supporting them in making meaning of this complex text.


  • Finish filling in the Eliza Character Tracker for Section 2.
  • Independent reading (20 minutes).

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