Lesson plan

The Not-So-Great Depression: Bud, Not Buddy

A lesson about the Great Depression doesn't have to depress your students! They will enjoy building background knowledge for *Bud, Not Buddy* with great interactive and cooperative learning tasks.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Inferences and Quotes as Proof pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Inferences and Quotes as Proof pre-lesson.

Students will summarize text and cite quotes as evidence.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(15 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that the class will be starting a new book titled Bud, Not Buddy.
  • Show students the book and cover.
  • Read aloud the inside cover to give students more information about what they will be reading.
  • Elicit discussion by asking students questions about what the book will be about. Great questions should lead them to acknowledge the year 1936.
  • Activate prior knowledge by asking them to discuss in their groups what is significant in American history during the 1930s.
  • Have a whole group discussion and introduce the idea of the Great Depression.
  • Explain that students will now build background knowledge on the Great Depression so they will be able to understand the setting of the story.
(15 minutes)
  • Show students a Great Depression article online (see related media) and read the first 3 paragraphs.
  • Explain that they will summarize each of the paragraphs with a partner.
  • Have students read the first paragraph with you.
  • Instruct students to raise their hands when they read a word that they feel is important. As students raise their hands, highlight the word.
  • When the students finish the first paragraph with you, write all of the highlighted words on the board.
  • Ask students if they can come up with one to two sentences using those words that can summarize the paragraph.
  • Have students work with their partners to create one or two sentences with the words on the board.
  • Explain that this is one way to create a summary of what they read.
  • Have a few students share out their sentences.
  • Elicit a short discussion by asking students if those sentences actually summarize what they read.
  • Send students off with their partners to complete the other three paragraphs.
  • Clarify vocabulary words as needed.
(20 minutes)
  • Allow students to work in pairs to complete the article.
  • Instruct pairs to create sentences using the important words they chose to highlight.
  • Have students copy the sentences onto a separate sheet of paper or in a journal.
  • Invite a few students to share out their chosen words.
(45 minutes)
  • Explain to students that during the Depression, those who had radios gathered around them every few weeks to hear President Roosevelt's Fireside Chats (see related media).
  • Ask students to imagine how these people must have felt.
  • Play the audio clip of President Roosevelt's Fireside Chats (see related media).
  • Encourage students to make inferences about what he is saying and his tone of voice while they listen.
  • Have students respond to the prompt: What was it like living through the Great Depression?
  • Instruct students to refer to explicit information from the excerpt and audio as well as inferences they have made with both.
  • Instruct students to use at least one relevant quote.


  • Pair struggling students with a peer mentor.


  • Challenge students to research more information about the Fireside Talks or about specific people or locations that were important during the Great Depression and present it as a separate oral project.
  • Note students' input throughout the lesson to check for comprehension.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring students back to Bud, Not Buddy by asking them questions about the Great Depression and how it applies to their book.
  • Have students make predictions about the book.

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