Lessons & Units :: Bridge to Terabithia 5th Grade Unit

Lesson 5: Character and Relationship Changes

Lesson Plan

Bridge to Terabithia | 810L

Bridge to Terabithia
Learning Goal
Explain what drives a change in characters and their relationships.
Duration
Approximately 2 Days (45-50 minutes for each class)
Necessary Materials
Provided: Relationship Change Chart, Plot Conflicts Chart 2 (from Lesson 2), Relationship Chart (from Lesson 3), Relationship Change Worksheet (Student Packet, page 29)
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  • Before the Lesson

    Read Chapter 13; Complete Student Packet Worksheets for Chapter 13

  • Activation & Motivation

    Tell students they are going on a trip back in time. Their mission is to remember important events that happened while they were in fourth grade, in third grade, and in first grade. Have students tap into their memories by answering the following questions about each time period/age. Write these questions on chart paper and ask students to share their time travel answers with the class: Did I look differently then than I do now? What is one important event I remember from that age? How did it change or impact me? Did a person or group of people change the way I thought about something? Who/what? How did that time in my life impact my life now?

  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain that just like people change over the course of their lives, characters, or protagonists and antagonists in Realistic Fiction, change over the course of a book. This physical and/or emotional change usually occurs because of significant events or other characters have impacted the character’s life or experience. In a work of Realistic Fiction, character relationships also change over the course of the story. Usually, the protagonist’s relationship with other characters is the main focus in a work of realistic fiction.

    As we learned in our Realistic Fiction Genre Lesson, Realistic Fiction includes characters and events that seem real or within the realm of possibility. The author must include relationships between characters that grow, change and impact change in others—just like in real life.

    Now that I have read Bridge to Terabithia, I can think about how a relationship has changed in the story, what impacted that change, and how this change in relationship also brought about change in a character. I am going to examine the relationship between Jess and Leslie, and I’m going to answer the following questions on my Relationship Change Chart to understand what drove the changes in their relationship and how these changes impacted the characters: 1) What did this relationship look like in the beginning of the book? 2) What does this relationship look like now? 3) What events or other characters caused the change in the relationship? 4) How did the relationship change impact the characters? Note: See the Relationship Change Chart for specific examples.

    I will answer the first question on the chart, “What did the relationship look like in the beginning of the book?” In order to refresh my memory about this relationship, I will review Plot Conflicts Chart 2 (from Lesson 2) and the Relationship Chart (from Lesson 3). I have noted in my journal that at the beginning of the book, Jess and Leslie were not friends. Jess felt upset and angry towards his new neighbor because she beat him in a race. But as the book unfolds, Jess and Leslie form a strong friendship. I will record this information under the column with the question, “What did the relationship look like in the beginning of the book?” on the Relationship Change Chart.

    Next, I will answer the second question on the Relationship Change Chart, “What does the relationship look like now?” The relationship changed when Leslie dies. At first, Jess felt angry with Leslie. He even said he hates her. But then, he starts to appreciate how she impacted his life. He acknowledged that he would pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength. So, under the column with the question, “What does the relationship look like now?” I will write: Their relationship changes from not being friends, to being best friends, to Jess appreciating how his friend positively impacted and changed his life.

    Now I will ask myself, “What events or other characters caused the change in the relationship?’” It is obvious in the book that many events impact Jess and Leslie’s relationship. The race changed their relationship; Terabithia changed their relationship; Janice Avery changed their relationship; and Leslie’s death changed their relationship. I will write these changes under the column with the question, “What events or other characters drove the change in the relationship?” on my Relationship Change Chart.

    Finally, I will answer the last question on the Relationship Change Chart, “How did this relationship change impact the characters?” I will use the information I have written about Leslie and Jess on the chart to draw a conclusion about how this relationship change impacted them. Jess learned to take chances and has become less fearful. He also learned the value and importance of friendship. I will record these details under the last column on the Relationship Change Chart.

  • Think Check

    Ask: "How can I identify how a relationship in a work of realistic fiction changes, what drives that change, and how a relationship change impacts the characters?" Students should respond that you examine a relationship in the book and look at details about the relationship and how it has changed over time. Then, you identify which events in the book or other characters drove that change. You then compare and contrast the character’s personality and actions from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, and draw a conclusion about how this relationship change has also changed the character.

  • Guided Practice

    will examine the changes in Jess’s relationship with May Belle, discussing the relationship as a class and recording the information on our Relationship Change Chart. Note: Continue to use the Relationship Change Chart started in the Direct Teaching. See Relationship Change Chart for specific examples.

    First, we will describe the relationship in the beginning of the book. By reviewing the beginning of the book and our notes on our Plot Conflicts Chart 2 (from Lesson 2) and the Relationship Chart (from Lesson 3), we can recall that Jess had a loving but distant relationship with his sister, May Belle. He often saw her—and his other sisters—as a bit of a pain or nuisance. We will record this information under the question, “What did the relationship look like in the beginning of the book?” on our Relationship Change Chart.

    Next, we will think about what the relationship looks like now. Jess and May Belle eventually became closer. Jess decided to stand up to Janice Avery for taking May Belle’s Twinkies. May Belle appreciated that he did this. After Leslie died, Jess became more affectionate and accepting of May Belle, as shown when Jess rescued his sister from the branch. We will record these details under the question, “What does the relationship look like now?” on the Relationship Change Chart.

    Now, we need to think about what events or other characters caused the change in the relationship between Jess and May Belle. In Chapter 5, Leslie encouraged Jess to help his sister get back at Janice Avery for taking the little girl’s Twinkies. Without Leslie, Jess would probably have ignored May Belle’s pleas to “Kill Janice Avery!” because he was afraid of confrontation and fighting. Jess’s friendship with Leslie slightly changed his opinion about May Belle. Leslie helped Jess see that it was the principle of the thing—he couldn’t let Janice Avery get away with continuing to bully little kids. After Leslie died, Jess and May Belle’s relationship changed significantly, as shown in Chapter 13. Prior to her death, Jess tolerated May Belle. After Leslie died, he became more affectionate and accepting of May Belle, as shown when Jess rescued his sister from the branch. We will record these details under the question, “What events or other characters caused the change in the relationship?” on the Relationship Change Chart.

    Finally, we need to think about how the relationship change impacted the characters. Jess is more accepting of May Belle. May Belle respects Jess more because he allowed her to join Terabithia and he stood up for her. We will record these details under the question, “How did the relationship change impact the characters?” on the Relationship Change Chart. Note: You may choose to read aloud the rescue and dialogue between Jess and May Belle to emphasize the change in their relationship. Prior to Leslie’s death, Jesse didn’t want May Belle to come to Terabithia, but after Leslie died, he decided to share the secrets of Terabithia with May Belle and encouraged her to share it with Joyce Ann.

  • Independent Practice

    will examine the relationship between Jess and his father. You will use your recalling skills, reread parts of the book, and access your notes in your Eyewitness Journal to gather information for how and why Jess’s relationship with his father changes.

    On your Relationship Change Worksheet in your Student Packet you will write down what Jess’s relationship with his father was like at the beginning of the book. (See page 29 in the Student Packet.) You will then describe how their relationship changes by the end of the book. You will cite examples and details from the text to show examples of this change. In the third column, you will write down what caused the changes in Jess’s relationship with his father (characters, events, realizations, etc.). You will cite evidence from the text to support your answer. In the last column, you will describe how this relationship change impacted Jess and his father.

  • Reflective Practice

    will share our information as to how and why Jess’s relationship with his father changed. We will engage in a class discussion: Did Jess’s relationships change with other characters in the book? Which relationship changed the most because of Leslie’s impact on Jess or because of Leslie’s death? We will wrap up our discussion on character change by thinking about how a relationship in our own lives changed another relationship with someone else in our lives. Have you had a friendship with someone that changed how you interacted with someone else in your life?

Build Student Vocabulary constricting

Tier 2 Word: constricting
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story After Leslie died, Jess goes back to the castle at Terabithia with P.T. He does not know what to do. “The coldness inside of him had moved upward into his throat constricting it.”
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) When something is constricting, it is becoming smaller or narrower. When the coldness moved up towards Jess’s throat was constricting, he felt that his throat was becoming narrower, making it harder to breathe or speak.
Students repeat the word Say the word constricting with me: constricting.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts The snake wrapped its body around its prey, constricting the mouse’s ability to breathe. The boa constrictor squeezes its prey to death before eating it. My stomach constricted when I got nervous.
Students provide examples What is something that can constrict? Start by saying, “Something that can constrict is _________________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? constricting
Additional Vocabulary Words piteously, traitorously, swiftly, emphasis

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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User Comments

beautifully thought out! thank you.

Love it!