Analyzing Character: Eliza Character Pyramid | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2B:U2:L5

Analyzing Character: Eliza Character Pyramid

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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)

Supporting Targets

  • I can cite evidence from the play Pygmalion to analyze its plot and characters.
  • I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Pygmalion.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 3 (from homework)
  • Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 3


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Unpack Learning Targets/Entry Task: Checking for Understanding (10 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Close Read: Pygmalion, Section 4 (23 minutes)

     B.  Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Fist to Five Self-Assessment (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Complete Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 4.

     B.  Complete the Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid.

  • In this lesson, students read the second half of Act II (Section 4). Eliza consents to the experiment, and her father, Alfred Doolittle, comes onto the scene, where we learn that he is a charming, thoroughly selfish man who only wants to get rid of his responsibility for Eliza and possibly earn some money through the experiment. Again, while this is a rather a long section, the plot is fast-paced and fairly easy to follow.
  • Alfred Doolittle is an important character in Shaw's play; he delivers the bulk of the play's ironic criticism of "middle-class values." Although this is an important aspect of the play, it is nuanced. Given time constraints, it deliberately is not a focus of this lesson. Consider discussing it as an extension activity for your more advanced students.
  • In this lesson, students thoroughly analyze Eliza, the central character. Work Time B serves to synthesize the discussion of Eliza's character that students have done in Lessons 2, 3, and 4.
  • This character analysis is important preparation for the end of unit assessment, in which students will write an argumentative essay about how Eliza has changed throughout the play.
  • Review:

-   Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion, Section 4 (for teacher reference)

-   Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 4

-   Go Go Mo protocol and Fist to Five in Checking for Understanding Techniques (see Appendix).

  • Post: Learning targets.


tyrannical, particular, diffident, overbearing, callous, incensed


  • Pygmalion (play; one per student)
  • Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 3 (one per student)
  • Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 3 (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Diversity Discussion Appointment handouts (from Unit 1, Lesson 4)
  • Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 4 (one per student)
  • Document camera
  • Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion, Section 4 (for teacher reference)
  • British Dialect/Slang anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2)
  • Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid: model (one to display)
  • Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid: blank (one per student)
  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 4 (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 4 (one per student)



A. Unpack Learning Targets/Entry Task: Checking for Understanding (10 minutes)

  • Distribute Checking for Understanding Entry Task: Pygmalion, Section 3 to students and have students get out Pygmalion. Remind them that they can use their Reader's Notes and the play to answer these questions.
  • Direct students to complete the entry task individually. As they do so, circulate to check the Reader's Notes for completion.
  • Depending on your plans for collecting this work, you can either collect the entry task as students finish and before they discuss the questions, or you can have students keep their papers and correct them as the class discusses the questions.
  • Debrief the entry task.
  • Praise students for their character analysis skills, and in particular recognize their growing independence and stamina in tackling a complex text for homework.
  • Point to the learning targets and tell them that they will focus on analyzing Eliza Doolittle's character today and that you are confident they are prepared to do so.
  • Post definitions for the Reader's Dictionary and prompt students to revise their Reader's Dictionaries as necessary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read: Pygmalion, Section 4 (23 minutes)

  • Have students get their Diversity Discussion Appointment handouts and find their Yellow Hands appointment.
  • Distribute the Text-Dependent Questions: Pygmalion, Section 4 and display a copy using a document camera.
  • Use the Close Reading Guide: Pygmalion, Section 4 to guide students through the series of text-dependent questions.
  • You will need the British Dialect/Slang anchor chart during this close reading.

B. Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid (10 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will synthesize their understanding of Eliza by writing a character pyramid about her. The pyramid will answer the question: "Who is Eliza?" Explain that getting to know a character is one of the ways we explore the themes and central questions of a book. The deeper you think about a book, the more you enjoy reading it.
  • Display the Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid: model on the document camera and ask:

*   "What do you notice?"

  • Listen for them to notice that there is a word or phrase that describes the character on each level of the pyramid and that the words increase by one as the levels go down. Point out that the bottom level is eight words long.
  • Quickly model the types of ideas they can enter on their pyramid. For example, students might include words about Eliza's internal and external characteristics, or what has happened to her so far in the plot. Note that the mental challenge of this type of activity is to condense knowledge about Eliza into a pre-determined amount of words per line, a bit like a haiku. If you like, tell students that they can get informal "bonus points" for insightful use of the words "agency" and "sense of self-worth" on the pyramid.
  • Distribute the Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid: blank. Give students a few minutes to add to their pyramids, encouraging them to refer to their Reader's Notes and the Eliza Character Trackers for inspiration (not just copy the model).
  • Then invite them to use the Go Go Mo protocol to add ideas:

1. Walk around the room and find a partner.

2. Give an idea to your partner and get an idea from your partner.

3. Then move on to another partner.

  • Providing models of expected work supports all learners, especially those who are struggling.
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms engage students more actively and provide scaffolding that is especially critical for learners with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning.
  • Many students will benefit from having the time available for this activity displayed via a timer or stopwatch.
  • This exercise is designed to help students synthesize their understanding of Eliza and increase their engagement in the novel. It is not intended to be a formal assessment of their understanding of either characterization or Eliza.

Closing & Assessments


A. Fist to Five Self-Assessment (2 minutes)

  • Ask students to give you a Fist to Five assessment in response to this prompt:

*   "I feel confident in my knowledge of Eliza Doolittle as a character so far."

  • Reflect out loud on what you see: for example, "I see lots of 4s and 5s--that's great!" or "Hmm--I'm seeing some 2s. Let's talk about how I can help you out."
  • Distribute the Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 4 for homework.


  • Complete Reader's Notes: Pygmalion, Section 4.
  • Complete the Eliza Doolittle Character Pyramid.

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