Lesson 4: Character and Relationship Changes
- Learning Goal
- Explain what drives a change in characters and their relationships.
- Approximately 2 Days (45 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Relationship Change Chart 1, Sample Relationship Chart 1 (from Lesson 2), Plot Conflict Chart 1 (from Lesson 1), Plot Conflict Chart 2 (from Lesson 1), Relationship Change Chart 2, Relationship Change Worksheet (Student Packet, page 24)
Not Provided: Photograph of a family member or a friend (can be the same photo from Lesson 2), chart paper, markers, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Before the Lesson
Read Chapters 8-13; Complete Student Packet Worksheets for Chapter 8-13
Activation & Motivation
Have students recall the picture of the friend or family member they shared with the class during Lesson 2. Have students think about this relationship further and answer the following questions, recording their responses on lined paper: How would you label this relationship? (parent/child, friends, sibling, student/teacher) How long have you had this relationship? Recall an event, a conversation, or even another person who might have changed the relationship. How has this relationship changed over time? How has this relationship changed you? Has the relationship had a positive or negative impact on your life or your personality?
If students prefer, they can write about another relationship that has changed, rather then the relationship that they have with the person in the photograph. Ask students to share their answers and observations with the class.
will explain that just like real people’s relationships change over the course of their lives, character relationships change over the course of a book. A change in a relationship usually occurs because of significant events or because characters’ actions have impacted others. As readers of Realistic Fiction novels, it is important to look at changes in relationships in order to figure out how these changing relationships impact the characters in the book. Good readers try to understand how a character changes for better or worse because of the relationship changes he or she goes through.
Now that I have read most of The Great Gilly Hopkins, 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 Gilly and Trotter, and I’m going to answer the following questions on Relationship Change Chart 1 to understand what drove the changes in their relationship and how these changes impacted the characters.
I will answer the first question on the chart, “What did the relationship look like in the beginning of the book?” To answer this question, I will think about the relationship between Gilly and Trotter. In order to refresh my memory about this relationship, I will review the Sample Relationship Chart (from Lesson 2),Plot Conflicts Chart 1 (from Lesson 1), and Plot Conflicts Chart 2 (from Lesson 1). I will also skim early chapters of the book to look for interactions between Gilly and Trotter. I have noted that Gilly acts as though she doesn’t like Trotter and wants to cause trouble. I also have noted that Trotter loves Gilly and tries to act like a parental figure for her. I will record this information under the column with the question, “What did the relationship look like in the beginning of the book?” on Relationship Change Chart 1.
I will answer the second question on Relationship Change Chart 1, “What does the relationship look like now?” To answer this question, I will recall details that I have read from Chapters 11-13. In Chapter 11, Gilly enjoys being at Trotter’s, but Miss Ellis comes to tell them that Gilly must leave with her grandmother. In Chapter 12, Gilly has an internal conflict which shows that she didn’t want to hurt Trotter by writing that letter to her mother. At the end of Chapter 12, Gilly is crying to Trotter and asking her to stay. This shows that Gilly has come to love Trotter. Gilly also now wants to please Trotter because she promises to make Trotter proud of her. In the second column on Relationship Change Chart 1, I will write: Gilly now loves Trotter and wishes she could stay with her. She wants Trotter to be proud of her.
Next, I will answer the third question on the Relationship Change Chart 1, “What events or other characters caused the change in the relationship?” To answer this question, I will recall events that I think caused these changes in Trotter’s and Gilly’s relationship. I think a few events have caused this relationship change. When Gilly gets caught trying to run away from Trotter’s home, Trotter comes to Gilly’s rescue and doesn’t blame or punish Gilly. She doesn’t send her away like the other foster parents in Gilly’s life. These actions show Gilly that Trotter loves her and cares for her no matter what. Another event that may have caused the change in the relationship between Trotter and Gilly was when Trotter gets sick. Gilly cared for her and even made Thanksgiving dinner for the family. These events and Trotter’s constant love for Gilly drives the change in their relationship. I will record this information under the third column on the Relationship Change Chart 1.
Finally, I will answer the last question on Relationship Change Chart 1, “How did this relationship change impact the characters?” I will use the information I have written about Gilly and Trotter on the chart to draw a conclusion about how this relationship change impacted Gilly. I think Gilly seems nicer and more caring towards Trotter, W.E., and Mr. Randolph. I think she wants to please them, and that’s not something she wanted to do before. Under the fourth column on Relationship Change Chart 1, I will write: Gilly has become more loving and caring toward Trotter, which has made her calmer and nicer to others.
Ask: "How can I identify how a relationship in a work of realistic fiction changes, what drives that change, and how a relationship change impact 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.
will examine the relationship between Gilly and William Ernest. We will answer the following questions and record the information on the Relationship Change Chart 2.
First, we will recall information from the beginning of the book and the Sample Relationship Chart (from Lesson 2). For example, we noted that Gilly disliked William Ernest; she thought he was “retarded” and “stupid.” She also tried to intimidate and bully him. She also felt a bit of jealousy towards W.E. because of his relationship with Trotter. We will record these details on Relationship Change Chart 2.
Next, we need to think about the second question on Relationship Change Chart 2, “What does the relationship look like now?” To answer this question, we need to recall information from Chapters 11-13 to think about Gilly and W.E.’s current relationship. In Chapter 11, Gilly jokes with W.E. and even waits for him after school so that no one can fight him. Ask: "What can we conclude about this relationship now?" We can conclude that their relationship now looks more like a friendly relationship or even a relationship between siblings. Record this information under the second column on Relationship Change Chart 2.
We will answer the third question on Relationship Change Chart 2, “What events or other characters caused the change in the relationship?” To answer this question, we will need to recall events in the book or other characters that helped change W.E. and Gilly’s relationship. Similar to Gilly and Trotter’s relationship, one event that changed the relationship between Gilly and W.E. was when Gilly tried to run away. W.E. convinced Gilly to come back home, and she took his hand to go back to Trotter’s. When W.E. became sick, Gilly cared for him as if he were her brother. W.E. may also have changed Gilly because he looks up to her and depends on her to teach him how to fight and learn things on his own. We can conclude that all of these details drove the change in their relationship. We will record this information under the third column on Relationship Change Chart 2.
Finally, we will answer the last question on Relationship Change Chart 2, “How did the relationship impact the characters?” To answer this question, we need to think about both characters and their personalities and draw a conclusion about how they have been impacted by the changes in their relationship. We can conclude that Gilly made W.E. stronger and more independent, and she helped him believe in himself. W.E. made Gilly more loving, caring, and trusting because he looked up to her. (Record additional statements and ideas made by the class as appropriate under the last column on Relationship Change Chart 2.)
will choose one of the following relationships to examine: Gilly and Mr. Randolph; Gilly and Miss Ellis; Gilly and her grandmother; or Gilly and her mother. Note: You may ask students to examine every relationship, or pair/group students to examine one relationship each. You will examine the relationship by filling in the columns of your Relationship Change Worksheet in your Student Packet (see page 24 in the Student Packet).
will share our information for each relationship we have examined. We will engage in a class think-aloud. At the end of Chapter 13, Trotter tells Gilly she won’t be able to come back; that she shouldn’t make it harder for Trotter and W.E. and even Gilly. We will try to think about how these relationships might look in a year from now. Ask: "How do you think the relationships might change? Will they become stronger or weaker?" We will state our opinions about the future relationships and try to predict how these relationships might even change in the final chapters of the book.
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Build Student Vocabulary indefinitely
|Tier 2 Word: indefinitely|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||Miss Ellis is speaking to Gilly about leaving Trotter and William Ernest. “You could have stayed here indefinitely, you know. They’re both crazy about you.”|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||Indefinite means not certain, not clear, or not limited. When Miss Ellis told Gilly that she could have stayed at Trotter’s house indefinitely, she meant that she could stay there for an unlimited and undefined length of time. She was allowed to stay there for a week or for years, if she wanted to.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word indefinitely with me: indefinitely|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||My uncle has to moved Florida for an indefinite period of time–I’m not sure how long he’ll be there, and he might not even come back! We’ll celebrate at an indefinite point in the future. We definitely will celebrate, but we’re not sure when.|
|Students provide examples||Do you think Gilly would have wanted to stay with Trotter indefinitely? Why or why not? Start by saying, “I do (not) think Gilly would have wanted to stay indefinitely with Trotter because ___________________.”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? indefinitely|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||presided, steadfastly, futile, bellowed, appalling, faltered, commendation, belligerently, permanence, hovering, elaborately|