Henry and Mudge

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SWBAT use the illustrations in the text to deepen their understanding of the characters, setting, and plot.

Big Idea

Allow students to read about Henry and Mudge and draw a deeper understanding by analyzing the illustrations.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

The standard RL1.7 allows students to analyze the illustrations and use them to deepen their understanding of the characters, setting, and events in a story.  In this lesson, students get to practice this skill and also their evaluation, speaking, and listening skills, all of which engages them in higher order thinking activities.  Speaking and listening are the foundation for effective communication, which is a necessary skill to be prepared for college or a career.

Lesson Overview

I try to use complex texts in my lessons that are well-suited to the specific skill I am trying to teach, and Henry and Mudge does just that for this lesson.  The text allows the reader to analyze the emotions of the characters specifically because the illustrations show very clear images of the characters' emotions.

The students work in small collaborative groups and transition about every twenty minutes throughout the lesson. I have created a video for Transitions and small groups (Peanut Butter Jelly Partners) in the resources in case you want to know more.

Beginning Activity

I project the lesson image on the Promethean board and ask the class to discuss what the image shows about the character, setting, or events.  While the students are discussing, I am listening to assess their prior knowledge. Then I share some great things I hear.

Next, I explain that we will be doing a read aloud and I will stop periodically for us to discuss the illustrations.  You will then analyze some illustrations on your own. Last, we will share and evaluate each others work. Students need to know the flow of the lesson so they feel comfortable.  In addition, it really helps with classroom management if the flow stays the same in each lesson.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Now we move to the desks for the guided practice and I read the story aloud. When I get to the first picture I stop and allow the students to talk to their partner about how the illustrations I describe the character, setting, or events. We stop at each of the pictures in the links for analysis.

I remind the class to :

  • Check the colors used in the illustration for mood.
  • Check the expressions on the characters’ faces for emotions
  • Check the action in the illustration for additional details about the event it portrays.

Then I ask one student to share their ideas.  Last, other students engage in a discussion by adding to what the previous person said.  I then add their ideas to the chart on the board.

I usually put a sticky note on the places where I want to stop in my book.  At each picture I have noted ahead of time with a sticky note, the students pair share about how the illustrations add to the description of the characters, setting, and events.  Then one person shares aloud.  The class engages in a discussion and I finally write their comments on the chart.

Partner Work

20 minutes

The students are moved to the center tables to work in small groups.  I give each group a copy of Henry and Mudge and the Funny Lunch.  They use the text's illustrations to find evidence that deepens their understanding of the characters, setting, and events.  I try to use pictures that show some emotion from the character and the children have a lot of expression in the illustrations:

The students use a simple graphic organizer that we have used in previous lessons to list the picture and how it adds to their understanding of the character, setting, or events.  By using the same graphic organizer for these lessons my students are able to focus on the skill, and not how to use a new graphic organizer.  Keeping some things consistent helps first graders as they learn new things, and too many new things can be very overwhelming to young learners.

Now I am getting to my role in this section, which is walking around and getting the students started.  After they get started, I keep walking around reading their work and stopping to check for understanding. If I see several groups missing one thing, I just stop and help the whole class.  Sometimes I just say, "hey class, I see that everyone is struggling here so I need to make sure you understand."  Then I just start explaining.  This is a very complex time for me as the teacher because I am analyzing their work, and trying to guide the class in the right direction without feeding them the answers, all at the same time. I typically do this with questions.  How does Henry feel?  How do you know?  What expression does his make?  How do you feel when you make that face?  Where is he?  What does he want? How can you tell?

My notes and planning strategies are in these videos: Partner Practice with Notes and Partner Practice Planning Notes.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Next the students transition to the lounge for the students reflection. This is where about three volunteers will present their work to the class, and the class will evaluate.

As you can see in the video, students give their peers specific feedback on what they need to do to make their work better or something they really like. One of my favorite comments has been, "you got the conclusion right because it is kind of like the one Mrs. Aymett did."  The student still needs support isolating what about my model is good, but this shows that the student is able to make a connection and reference a model.  I want the students to avoid saying good job because it's not specific enough, and if somebody does say that I just ask them to think deeper.


5 minutes

As the lesson comes to a close the students remain in the lounge since this section only takes about five minutes.  It is at this time I want to know what my class knows, and where we need to go from here.  So, I ask the students to discuss with their peanut butter jelly partner one thing they learned and one thing they would like to learn. As the class discusses I listen and restate some of the things I hear. Then I ask other students to add to that to create a discussion. Last, we discuss where we will go next and probably I will raise the complexity in the text and continue working on this same skill. Finally the lesson ends with the students echoing the lesson goal:  I can analyze illustrations to add to my understanding of the characters, setting, and events.