Lesson: Setting and Characters

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Lesson Objective

students will be able to: • locate (on a map) where the story took place in order to locate setting • examine pertinence of setting (place, time, customs) in relation to the mood, tone, and meaning of the text by exploring New York on a virtual field trip

Lesson Plan

Do Now
Brainstorm a list of behaviors that might get a teenager in trouble with his or her parents. List a minimum of 5 and then rank them with the most severe being #1.

Staten Island, the setting of The Pigman, is the smallest of five boroughs that make up New York City, the largest city in the United States. A borough is a political division unique to New York City. The other four boroughs, in order of size from largest to smallest, are Brooklyn (which until the 1890s was a separate city), Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx. In total, these boroughs make up a city of over 7 million people.

When most Americans speak of New York City, they generally mean Manhattan, the home of Wall Street, the nation’s financial capital, and Broadway, the nation’s chief theater district. Staten Island residents are able to reach Manhattan by ferry.

This is where The Pigman takes place.

Direct Instruction:
Today we will look at setting and why it is important to any novel.  Can someone please tell me the definition of setting?

Teacher will show a powerpoint that defines and discuss setting and its importance to a novel.

Guided & Independent Practice:
Discussion of setting in relationship to The Pigman will be discussed. We will discuss New York City and its attributes. Students will then receive a blank map of New York in which they can record and map the travels of the main characters John, Lorraine, and Mr. Pignati. Before actually reading the story, students will locate the boroughs of New York including: Staten Island, Empire State Building, Statue if Liberty, etc. After discussing the location and features, we will go to the computer lab and visit the following sites on the Internet:

  • Downtown Manhattan (http://info.admin.umass.cdu/user/flak/dtnyc.htm)

  • New York City Skating Guide (http://www/skatecity.com/nyc/maps/im.manhattan.html)

  • Manhattan Art Guide (http://www/menus/net/Menus/manmap.htm)

  • Time Square (http://kane.x-zone.canon.co.jp/WebView-E/sites/eimessquare2.htm)

  • Statue of Liberty (http://www/sccorp.com/cam/)

  • Guggenheim Museum (http://www/thais/it/Guggenheim/uk.htm)

  • Manhattan Transfer (http://www/mt.com/webcam/)

During this activity, students will become familiar with the term setting its relevance to the story. They will later use their map to trace the characters adventures throughout the story.


After completing this activity, students will go back to class and write in their journals about their adventures on the Internet. They must include specific locations and express why they liked or disliked the sites provided.

Lesson Resources

What is Setting   Smart Board


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