I decided to choose the book Bud Not Buddy because it was a recommended read by the CCSS, it has interpersonal relationships that offer good evaluation of the problem solution format of character development and it has a connection with the history topics we are covering this year with slavery and industrialization. In this book Bud's father has left him when he was very young and he goes in search of him. I start the lesson by pretending to read the jazz band flyer titled "Limited Engagement of 'Herman E. Calloway and the Dusky Devastors of the Depression".- his father's band and the last thing he holds from him.
I then ask students "If you were an orphan what one thing would you have would be the most important to you?" I take some answers and then ask "What if you thought you were an orphan and then found out that your father was alive but was living far away. Would you go and try to find him?" How would you do this if you didn't have any money?"
Students share responses and we have a discussion about the questions.
Now I introduce the objective and book - Today we are going to begin a unit on a story titled, "Bud Not Buddy" about a young orphan who has to face this same problem.
Today we are going to begin reading a class story titled Bud Not Buddy.
It’s a story about a boy about your age that is an orphan because his mother is died and his father left when he was very young. The setting is during the time in your history called the Great Depression. This was a time after the war when people could not find work and many were poor and hungry. It was also a time when African American’s faced segregation and many were treated unfairly.
Now I introduce them to Bud and the adventures he faces by reading a part of the text aloud –
Bud has only a suitcase, a few pieces of clothing and a flyer his mother left him with the name of a jazz band. Bud thinks the band leader is his father and decides to go and find him because he is treated so badly while living at the orphanage. On his trip he finds a city called Hooverville made up of homeless and jobless people, gets picked up on the side of the road by a stranger named, Lefty Lewis, meets a kind limousine driver who warns him about the dangers of being an African American child walking alone, meets someone he thinks is a vampire and many other adventures on his way to find his father.
I share that when I chose this book for our class read aloud, I first read the title page, then the back cover, then the introduction and finally the first few pages to see if it was interesting and written in a way that I could read aloud. When I realized it was a great story to read, I thought about what I already knew about the setting of the Depression, like people use to stand in food lines, and many lived on the streets or worked really long hours for little pay. This made me think of some questions that I wanted to get answers to in the story. I wondered if Bud’s mother worked long hours and that was why she died? I also wondered how Bud felt and if he had any friends? Another thing I wanted to know was why his father left him and never tried to contact him?
Good Readers question text and read for meaning to better understand the story events.
I put up the chart of with my questions and knowledge in the columns.
I pass out copies of the book Bud Not Buddy (or you can pass out copies of the introduction paragraphs) and a worksheet What I Wonder What I Know chart
Students are instructed that they will read the first chapter of the text silently and write down connections to the information that they already know in the "What I Know" section. They will then add questions they have about the story events or characters in the "What I Wonder" section.
I set a timer for 15 minutes because I want students to feel the urgency of getting the task completed and to give me enough time to circulate and address the difficulties of a few struggling students. The primary areas of struggle were in understanding what the Depression was and how needy these people were. Most students had never gone hungry for more than an hour so the concept of not eating for days was not comprehensible. It did leave a big impression and increased their buy-in for the story once they got it:)
When the timer sounds I have them do a five minute share with their partners of their worksheets to begin building group sharing skills.
I circulate and question students to determine their reading abilities. Struggling readers can be partnered in a read aloud group with a helpful peer.
I gather students together again and want to keep them interested and questioning as they read so I ask them:
Why do you think parents would abandon their children during the Great Depression time?
Bud kept saying his name was "Bud" not "Buddy" - what was his purpose for saying this? - how did he want others to feel about him?
I ask students if any would like to share their questions on the text they read for our chart and write them below my entries. I collect the books and have students put their worksheets in their lit circle folders (I collect them so that they do not read ahead of the sections we are focusing on)