Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Are You Moody?

Dawn Capes
Bay District Schools


Are you moody? Is a novel? Students continue their study of the novel, [Jacob Have I Loved] and their examination of literary techniques the author uses to grab their attention.


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 responds to a work of literature by interpreting selected phrases, sentences, or passages and applying the information to personal life.


-Student folders (began in lesson one, )
-Classroom set of the novel, [Jacob Have I Loved] (Katherine Paterson. Harper Trophy. ISBN0-06-440368-8)
-Exit Slip questions for Chapters 2-5 from Content Questions (Unit Plan attachments; See Extensions)
-Conflict handout (one per student. See Attached File) Note: Notebook paper can be used if copies are an issue.
-Transparency for Journal Entry for Chapter 5 (see Associated File)
-Answer Keys for Handouts and Journal Entries (see Extensions)
-Bulletin board or table with visual aides (see Associated File)


1. Make transparency for Journal Entry #2 for Chapter 5.

2. Make copies of conflict handout. If handouts are of concern, at least make copies of the 1st page and have students take further notes on their own paper.

3. Determine if the exit slips will be used for each day and if so, download the Unit Plan Content Questions.

4. Determine which reading strategies will be most helpful for your students. Implement them during reading times.

5. Prepare bulletin board or table with visual aides. See Associated File for ideas and pictures. Note- let the file completely load before printing. The picture of Hitler will take a moment to load.


This lesson is for Day 4 of the unit, [Jacob Have I Loved]- A Novel Study.

1. Review concepts from the previous day (foreshadowing, setting, point of view and audiovisual aides). Ask students to share their ideas as to what of the last line of the introduction was foreshadowing. Accept any reasonable answers.

(Optional- use the new visual- see Associated File- to spark a discussion about the next chapters in the book. What could the picture of the wagon represent? What about the ax? etc.)

2. Allow students time to read Chapter Two. Including reading strategies may be important to assist your students in the understanding of the vocabulary that is introduced in the novel. Please see Extensions and Modifications for more information.

3. Ask content questions to students verifying that they understand the novel to date and have taken in general information. (Remember not to spend a lot of time on this as content is not the main crux of the unit.)
***Questions may include-
*Mother worked as a what? Teacher.
*How was the father hurt? Shrapnel during the war.
*Why was Caroline doted upon? She was the smaller, weaker twin at birth.
*What was Caroline’s gift? Voice, musical talent.
*What do we know about life on Rass Island? (Be sure to discuss the roles of men and women and the environment.)

4. Then, share with students the quote, “From the moment Caroline was born, she snatched it all for herself.” Ask students, “What does “IT” reflect? What is Sara Louise suggesting? Is this an instance where she hates Caroline? Does she hate Caroline?” Allow students an opportunity to discuss their opinions. (Be sure to bring in the fact the reasons why people may have a different reason for believing what they believe. In other words, understanding that a text can make us feel different emotions because we all enter into with our own preconceptions, experiences and beliefs.)

5. Now tell them that one of the standards they are studying is to relate a quote to their lives. Repeat the quote to students, and then ask if they ever feel like their siblings get all the attention. Allow them a moment to mentally contemplate and/or share their answers.

6. Next, discuss with students the usage of figurative language. Instruct students that figurative language can be use of metaphor, simile, descriptive language, etc.

a. In the quote (On page 20) “I am hunched there like a fat dark shadow..”. Explain that this is a simile. It compares Sara Louise to a fat dark shadow using the word like.
b. Then, on page 23 is the part where Auntie Braxton is described standing there listening to Caroline play, “lips parted to reveal her almost toothless gums, eyes shining, drinking in a polonaise as though it were heavenly nourishment.” Explain that this is an example of specific word choice that can be termed descriptive language. The words “toothless gums, “shining, “drinking” all help the reader obtain a more vivid image of what the writer is trying to suggest. It helps the reader see what the writer means.

7. Students should update their character and setting sheets (which provide practice with LAE132). As students are working, walk around and individually assess each student’s work. Be sure that students are filling out their sheets appropriately. Use the key for assistance. Students who are continually struggling may need more instruction in identifying character traits and settings.

8. Exit Slips for Chapter 2 (See Extensions for where to find this handout).

9. 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 a primary focus of this unit.

Day 5
1. Have students read Chapters 3 and 4. (See the Unit Plan handout, Reading Options.) As they are reading, they should update their character and setting sheets. As students are working, walk around and individually assess each student’s work. Be sure that students are filling out their sheets appropriately. Use the key for assistance. Students who are continually struggling may need more instruction in identifying character traits and settings.

2. Discuss content as appropriate.

3. Explain that the mood of a story is the feeling the reader gets from the story. It could be dark and gloomy or it could be happy and sunny. Ask students how they think mood is related (given) to the reader. If students don’t suggest it, guide them towards vocabulary, word choice, and reactions from characters.

4. Examine these three places in the novel-
a. The mood when the attack came on Pearl Harbor. (Tense, sad, worried)
b. The mood after Sara Louise’s suggestion of canceling Christmas. (Embarrassed, humiliated)
c. Finally, the mood after the Christmas pageant once they get home. (Caroline is happy, smug while Sara Louise is crabby about being shunted aside.)

5. Pass out the handout on conflict (or have students use their own paper.) Go over the different types of conflict. Have them discuss the conflicts to date. Examples- Person against person (Grandmother vs. Sara Louise). Person against self (Sara Louise vs. herself). As discussion takes place and conflicts are noted, have students take notes on them.

6. Students should turn to page 45 and note the quote, “bullets in your eyes.” What is the author trying to illustrate. How does this help the reader? The author could have said, “Why do you look at me so meanly?” Then, have a student demonstrate looking at someone with bullets in their eyes for the class. (Have fun with this! It will help students when they get to Summative #2.) Then, ask students to attempt to explain the scene from the Grandmother's point of view. What could she be [thinking] when Sara Louise looks at her like this?

7. Review the concept of foreshadowing. Do students have any idea where an instance of this occurred in Chapter 4? (See page 46 where the Grandmother “looked strangely blank.”) What do students think is going to happen with the Grandmother? Have a student or students demonstrate what “strangely blank” looks like. Again, ask students to try and explain what the grandmother's point of view is. What could be going through her mind when she looks strangely blank?

8. Ask what kind of audiovisual aid they would use to help demonstrate this point.

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

10. Exit Slips for Chapters 3 and 4. Use the handout Exit Slips for Content. (See Extensions for more information.)

Day 6
1. Students should read Chapter 5. (Again, consider using Reading Strategies.)

2. Students should update their character and setting sheets.

3. As students are working, walk around and individually assess each student’s work. Be sure that students are filling out their sheets appropriately. Use the key for assistance. Students who are continually struggling may need more instruction in identifying character traits and settings.

4. Ask content questions as appropriate.

5. Then, discuss the conflict of person against nature. In this case, the people of Rass vs. nature. Have students update their conflict sheet. Again, individually assess students’ work as they are working.

6. Finally, discuss mood. What is the mood in this chapter? How does it change? When does it change? (Goes from excitement and a hint of danger to nervousness and fear to aggravation.) Ask how they could use an audiovisual aid to show mood. (Guide students towards sound mixed with digital pictures and PowerPoint with sound to set up for Summative Assessment #2.)

7. Students should now answer the three journal questions for Chapter 5. Place the transparency on the overhead and allow students time to answer these questions.

8. Students finishing early should begin reading chapter 6. Students not finishing early should make arrangements to come and check out a book for homework reading.

9. Students should place all work (Journal entries, character, setting, conflict/resolution sheets) in their folders and turn in for formative assessment.

10. Exit slips for Chapter 5. Use the Exit Slips for Content Questions. (See Extensions for more information.)


On Day 6 do a Formative Assessment of the Character, Conflict and Setting Sheets. Use the answer key for guidance. Assess Journal Entries for Chapter 5. Use the answer key for guidance. Students not showing growth or understanding of the content should be given individualized instruction.


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. ESOL students can be paired with a reading buddy, have a version of the novel in their native language (if available), an audio tape of the novel (this can be created by the teacher), and additional reading time.

2. 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 Just Read Now at has a plethora of reading strategies. Choose Reading Strategies and Active Reading Strategies.)

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

4. Involve your social studies or science teacher! Use the complementary science and social studies units and make it an integrated approach!
**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.
**Discussion questions are available in the Unit's Associated Files.

5. 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 File. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, (if any).

6. 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 Are You Moody?
Just Read Now

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

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

Attached Files

Handouts for lesson two     File Extension: pdf

Visuals for lesson two     File Extension: pdf

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