Is it Good to be Bad?

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SWBAT actively read and generate text based questions from "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Big Idea

Read actively and decide if Jack is good or bad.

Before You Read

10 minutes

Before we begin reading "Jack and the Beanstalk" I want to set the stage for the future of this story, so I will ask a guiding question.

Is being bad for a good reason ever okay? Explain your answer.

My plan is to have the students use textual evidence to determine if Jack is a criminal or a hero.  We will end the story by putting our friend Jack on trial.  

I chose this question so that the students would begin to think about Jack's choices as they read.  

I'll ask students to write for a few minutes about the question in their reading notebooks.  After this, students will share out with the class.  I'll ask students to elaborate and give specific examples to help support their opinions.  

Student Example #1

Student Example #2

In my experience, sixth graders love discussing questions like this.  They love bringing up those gray areas like breaking laws in cases of self defense or lying to protect a friend.  

I try to spend time building background before reading a new text so that students can connect to it on a personal level.  This aids in comprehension and helps students buy in to what they are reading.  

First Reading

30 minutes

The version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" that I chose is by Joseph Jacobs, and it is a pretty easy read for sixth graders.  I chose this version because I want students to use the text to form an argument and using a simple text relieves some pressure.  It is easy for the majority of my students to understand, so they are free to focus on forming higher level arguments.  My students also really enjoy reading this classic tale, and it gives them an opportunity to read for the joy of it.  

I will let my students decide if they would like to do this first reading alone or with a partner. As they read, I'll have them use my active reading key:

  • Circle unfamiliar words
  • Put a star by important parts
  • Put a ? by parts you don't understand or have a question about


After You Read

10 minutes

After reading the story, I have a few things that I want my students to think about.  

First, I'd like them to generate a question about Jack in order to focus in on his character.  In this story, Jack makes some questionable decisions, and I'll direct the students to write a question about something Jack says or does.

I'll also encourage them to write other questions about the text.  Generating questions helps students think deeply about the text and analyze specific parts of literature.

Finally, I'll ask students to connect to the text by completing the following sentence:

I am like/unlike Jack because....

This sentence stem will encourage the students to analyze the text and also make judgments about Jack's character.