Beacon Lesson Plan Library

I Hate My Sibling?

Dawn Capes
Bay District Schools


Can you truly hate your sibling? Students explore this controversial question and examine literary techniques used by the author as they begin to read the book [Jacob Have I Loved].


The student incorporates audiovisual aids in presentations.

The student recognizes complex elements of plot, including setting, character development, conflicts, and resolutions.

The student understands various elements of authors' craft appropriate at this grade level, including word choice, symbolism, figurative language, mood, irony, foreshadowing, flashback, persuasion techniques, and point of view in both fiction and nonfiction.

The student knows that a literary text may elicit a wide variety of valid responses.


-Classroom set of the book [Jacob Have I Loved] (Katherine Paterson. Harper Trophy. ISBN0-06-440368-8)
-Additional copies of the book for student checkout
-Copies of the handouts (One per student. Available in the Associated File. If copies are of concern, students can keep notes of the necessary information on notebook paper.)
-Standards written in a display form that will be able to stay displayed through the duration of the unit (transparencies, chart paper) (See Extensions)
-Transparency of Journal Entry #1 (Associated File)
-Folders (one per student)
-A brief book talk on the book (Example available in the Associated File)
-Method for collecting books to ensure none are misplaced or lost
-Place for storing books (crate or box is suggested)
-Answer keys for handouts and journal entries
-Computer with display capabilities
-PowerPoint, Audiovisual Aides (See Extensions for more information)
-Bulletin board or table with visual aides (see Associated File)


1. Read the novel, [Jacob Have I Loved] and prepare a brief book talk on the novel or use the one provided in the Associated File. Remember that book-talks will vary based on the needs of your students and the teacher. Some may need to be more elaborate than others; some teachers may wish to use props; some students may need a more mature book talk.

2. Obtain one classroom set of the novel. Number them and decide how you will collect and store them at the end of each class period.

3. Obtain additional copies of the book so students can check out. Students who read at a slower rate may need extra time to read.

4. Make transparencies, charts, signs or another display model of your choosing for the standards that are available in the attached file. Standards should be left up in the room for students, parents, administrators, etc. to view.

5. Collect one folder for each student to store his or her work. This is not mandatory, but should be considered, as middle school students are prone to disorganization. You may want to consider using a table of contents in order to further help students with organization.

6. Print a copy of the Content Questions. (Students will use these to act as exit slips. Students can write their answers on scratch paper, notebook paper, or something “fun” that the teacher creates and copies for the purposes of this unit (like a die-cut of a boat, sun or seagull). Exit slips DO NOT have to be done everyday. Their use is suggested. )

7. Make a transparency of the Journal Entry.

8. Decide which reading strategies will be used with your students. All students can benefit from the instruction of one or more of these tactics.

9. Create a bulletin board to pique student interest. Use the standards handouts available in the Unit Attachments (See Extensions) to show purpose. It is suggested that visuals be added and referred to in order to gain student's attention. A suggested list of items is available in the associated file.

10. Decide if the unit handouts will be used or if you will have student's work on their own notebook paper. Unit handouts available in the Unit Plan's Associated File. See Extensions.


Day one of the unit, [Jacob Have I Loved]

Note: It is suggested that this day fall on a Friday so the teacher has adequate time to assess the Diagnostic.

1. Announce that students will be beginning a novel study of the book, [Jacob Have I Loved]. Not only will students be learning about the characters in the novel, they will also be exploring literary techniques. (Optional- point out the visual aid and invite students to explore what the novel's content could be.)

2. Share with students the standards. (This is often helpful in getting students to understand the purposes in why they are studying techniques, etc.)

3. Give the diagnostic. Directions and the diagnostic are available. Please see Extensions for more information.

Day Two of the unit, [Jacob Have I Loved].
1. Pass back the Diagnostic. Go over the results and allow students to ask questions.

2. Pass out folders and inform students that all of their work for the unit should be placed in this folder. Explain that this will be used to keep their work organized, together and easily found. (Use a table of contents if you think it will be helpful to your students' organization.) Explain where the folders will be kept and that you will be using this information to help you teach the unit. While the work will be ungraded, since it is practice work, it will be helpful when taking the summative assessments. Have students place the diagnostic in the folder.

3. Ask students the guiding question “Is it possible to truly hate your sibling?” This may bring out some interesting comments, so allow a few minutes for replies.

4. Hold up the book, read the title, and ask students if they know the end to the quote. (Esau have I hated.) Do they know the context of the quote? (From the Bible.) Do a brief book-talk on the book to pique student interest. Bring focus back to the guiding question and how the book will explore this concept.

5. Pass out copies of the handouts, You’re such a character, Setting: Time, Place and Space, and Vocabulary and Literary Terms. Go over each briefly. (Again if copies are an issue, disregard the handouts loctated in the unit handouts and instead note the information students need to take notes on. For instance, the characterizations and setting notes can be written on their own notebook paper. It should all be labeled accordingly.)

6. Allow students time to read the Introduction, “Rass Island.”

7. Once students have completed the Introduction, introduce the concept of flashback using the last line of the book. Ask them what they think this line means. Do any of them know what this literary technique is? Then, have them read the definition from their vocabulary sheet. Explore the different clues that we know that the story is told in flashback. (“As soon as the snow melts,” “As a child,” “although for much of my life,” )

8. Next, have them read the concept of setting on the vocabulary sheet. Ask what do they know about the setting of the book thus far. (The Introduction is mostly about setting) Together, fill in the setting handout. Be sure to include instruction on setting explaining that it illustrates the time and place. (See Answer key for guidance.)

9. Have students place all notes in their folders and return books and folders to assigned place.

10. OPTIONAL: Finally, explain that at the close of each day students will answer some short simple questions about the novel that will be called Exit Slips. These are not graded, but are going to be used to ensure that they are reading the novel and following the story line. (Use the Unit Handout, Content Questions for the Introduction.)

11. Collect the Exit Slips and see who has missed the questions. These students may need additional content questions directed at them the following day. Remember these are not to be graded because they are merely to find out who is struggling with the content. Also, the content is not the primary focus of this unit.

Day Three of the unit, [Jacob Have I Loved]
1. As students enter the room, have the PowerPoint playing. Set it so it scrolls automatically. Once class begins, you can change the setting to view it slide by slide. Go over the concepts on the PowerPoint, especially the portion about audiovisual aids.

2. Review concepts of foreshadowing and setting.

3. Assign students to read Chapter One. (Use reading strategies with your students. See Extensions for more information.)

4. Once students have read Chapter One, ask them whose point of view the story is told from. Discuss the definition of point-of-view. Ask how can this help the reader? (Guide students to the answer that it allows the reader to obtain more insight from one character’s point of view. It also allows the reader to understand emotions a character is feeling.)

5. Have students fill in the character sheet (You're Such A Character) with the necessary information from the Introduction and Chapter One. Model the process of writing down character information for students with one or two characters so that they understand the types of things that make up a character (physical descriptions, emotional descriptions, etc.) that will later help them identify how a character is developing/changing. (Captain Billy, Mary Louise, Call, Mr. Rice, Otis, grandmother, Caroline, mother) It may be helpful to use chart paper, an overhead or some other display device in order to facilitate this as a group activity.

6. Ask students what are their initial reactions to the book. Do they like it? Dislike it? Are there any characters that stand out to them? Allow them a few minutes to discuss. Students will probably have different responses to the novel. Discuss the reasons why the book elicited a wide variety of valid responses. (Everyone comes into a novel with their own experiences, beliefs, etc.) Then, ask them to take a sheet of notebook paper and label it Journal Entries. Explain that the Journal Entries will give you something to read to see if they understand the novel and the concepts being taught. Give Journal Entry #1.

7. Students should place their work (Journal entry, character sheet and setting sheet) in their folders for formative assessment.

8. Do Exit Slips for Content Questions for Chapter One. (See Extensions for more information.)


Day One- Assess students' diagnostic assessments. For directions and more information, see EXTENSIONS.

Day three

-Assessment (Setting) Formatively assess student handouts and ensure that they have been able to identify settings that have been included in the novel thus far. Use key for assistance. Note that key may not contain all possible answers.

-Assessment (Foreshadowing) Formatively assess student journal entries and ensure that they can define what foreshadowing is and make an attempt to explain what is being foreshadowed. Student answers to the second half will vary. Accept any reasonable answer.


Note- This is written for grades 6-8; however, it should be noted that 6th and 7th graders may need additional assistance with some of the terminology and activities such as figurative language, word choice, etc. Use student textbooks or a book such as [Reader's Handbook: A Student Guide for Reading and Learning]. Great Source Education Group a Houghton Mifflin Company. 2002.
This book can be very helpful in providing definitions, practice, and examples of the literary terms in this unit.

1. Depending on the needs of your students, you may need to implement reading strategies to ensure students comprehend the content of the novel. You are the best judge of what will be best for your students. The site has a plethora of reading strategies. (Go to Reading Strategies and Active Reading Strategies.)

2. Instead of using the handouts in the attached file, note the necessary information and have students write on their own notebook paper.

3. Involve your social studies or science teacher! Use the complementary science and social studies units and make it an integrated approach! (Links are available in the Weblinks section.) The science unit, entitled Twin Traits, explores the idea of twins and if they are more impacted by their environment or by their genetics. Students learn about twins that have been separated at birth and how alike and unalike they are. The social studies unit, World War II, explores background information of World War II and how it impacted America. Students create radio broadcasts simulating the way many people received their information during this time period.

4. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or going to: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, (if any).

5. It may be helpful to give students a target as they are reading. Write the exit slip and journal entry questions on the overhead or white board before students enter the room.

Web Links

Web supplement for I Hate My Sibling?
Just Read Now

Use this link to reach the science unit that can be integrated with the Jacob Have I Loved unit plan.
Twin Traits

Use this link to reach the social studies unit that can be integrated with the Jacob Have I Loved unit plan.

Attached Files

PowerPoint     File Extension: ppt

Visuals for lesson one     File Extension: pdf

Journal entry and handouts for lesson one     File Extension: pdf

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