For Teachers

Lesson Plans for El Deafo Book2Cloud Experience

Old method:  In a traditional novel study, students read a book a little at a time and respond to questions, complete whole class, individual, and small group activities along the way, and are usually assessed through a written exam or writing assignment at the end of the unit.

Overview: This type of novel unit takes a different approach. It is constructivist in nature, as small groups and then the whole class work to make meaning from the text and images. While each student is still expected to read the entire novel, deeper understandings are built through close reading and examination of small sections of the text, as well as collaborative work in analyzing the plot elements of the story as a whole.

Goals and objectives: This unit is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. 6th grade common core ELA standards are used, but the unit can easily be adapted for older or younger students.

  • Content Objectives:

      Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
      Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

  • Process Objectives:
                             Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6                              topics texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.

Essential Questions:

  • How can we communicate the message of a set of chapters in another format?

  • What tech tools can help others understand a story?

  • How do the parts of a story fit together to make a plot?

  • How do the text and pictures in a graphic novel work together to help us understand the plot?


  • Content Assessment: Though some plot elements are subject to interpretation, each student will be assessed on his or her understanding of the basic plot structure and ability to locate events in a logical place on the plot diagram.

  • Process Assessment:

    • Groups will also be assessed on the quality of their products to retell their chapters, and their use of appropriate media to represent the story elements. Individual students will be assessed on their contributions as members of a collaborative group.

Graphical chart/flow chart:

Learning Activities:

1. Before starting these activities, the students should read El Deafo independently, or at least skim it thoroughly. As a graphic novel, it will not take a long time to complete, but they should be allotted a couple of weeks outside of class to complete the reading. Then the class will read chapter 1 together and see the teacher example product:

2. Next students are divided into groups of about 5 and given an assigned set of chapters to read closely and to produce a product representing the main events of these chapters. They should post their products on the site pages allocated to them.

3. After these products are complete, the groups are jigsawed so that each group has a member from one of the original groups.               Each member shares their original group's product with their new group, so everyone has a better understanding of the entire               story. (see Jigsaw page)

Culminating Activity:

4. Next, the new groups create a plot diagram by posting a copy of each group's product to a Prezi created for this purpose.

5. When the plot diagrams are complete, the class should compare and discuss the results. Did each group diagram the plot the same way? Is there are right and wrong way to do it? Why did they place certain events where they did? (see Bringing it All Together page)

The Big Think:

6. Finally, the class will engage in a discussion about this learning experience. Was it a good way to study a novel? Did they understand the book better after creating their products and seeing the products others made? How can this experience help them the next time they study a new piece of literature? (see The Big Think page)