Bud, Not Buddy

Students learn about the Great Depression through the eyes of a ten-year-old African-American boy, analyzing themes of compassion, maturity and the idea of home, through the novel Bud Not Buddy.

Unit Summary

In this historical fiction unit, students learn about the Great Depression through the eyes of a ten-year-old African-American boy by reading the core text Bud, Not Buddy. In Bud, Not Buddy, students join Bud on his quest to find his father. In doing so, students are exposed to what life was like during the Great Depression, especially for African-Americans. Over the course of the novel, students will grapple with lying, and if lying is always bad or if it can sometimes be a good thing, as they witness Bud lying as a way to survive. Students will also analyze and explore the idea of maturity and what it means to act one’s age versus acting more mature as Bud finds himself in situations most ten-year-olds will never experience. The theme of compassion and kindness also arises over the course of the novel. Students will analyze how the compassionate actions of others help Bud on his journey, while deepening their understanding of why it’s always important to help others, even when times are tough. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with the rest of the fourth-grade sequence, will help students develop empathy and understanding for the experiences of others.

As readers, this unit serves as the culminating unit for the year. Therefore, the majority of the unit focuses on spiraling strategies. Students should be pushed daily to summarize key events, analyze characters and setting, and figure out the meaning of unknown words. Students should also be pushed to use the information they learn from the nonfiction text about the Great Depression to confirm and deepen their understanding of what life was like during the Great Depression.

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  • Google Classroom Integration
  • Vocabulary Package
  • Fluency Package
  • Data Analysis Package
 

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit with videos and short readings that cover:

  • Key standards
  • Essential questions
  • Text complexity
  • Monitoring student progress
 

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

  • Book: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Laurel Leaf, 2014)   —  950L

Supporting Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What traits help people succeed in the face of challenge? 
  • Can a person be entirely self-sufficient? 
  • What was the Great Depression? How does the setting of the Great Depression influence the way the story unfolds? 

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write complete sentences using a variety of constructions 

There are no new sentence focus areas in this unit. During this unit students will practice responding to daily Target Task questions using a variety of sentence constructions. ​​​​​

Paragraph-Level Focus Areas

  • Create outlines for multiple paragraph essays 
  • Draft an introductory topic sentence
  • Draft a concluding sentence 
  • Draft multiple paragraph essays
  • Use transition words and phrases to connect paragraphs 

At this point it is assumed that students are able to outline and write strong single-paragraphs. Building on their understanding of single paragraph structure, students review outlining multiple paragraph essays. Once students have an understanding of how to outline a multiple-paragraph ​​​​​essay, they will learn how to turn their outlines into drafts. Additionally, students will practice using transition words and phrases to show the connection between different paragraphs.

Related Teacher Tools:

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Self-corrects when reading difficult words and sentences structures. 
  • Reads smoothly and with accuracy. 
  • Uses proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage. 
  • Reads with a rate appropriate to task and purpose

The fluency focus of this unit is on reviewing all previously taught fluency strategies. Use data from previous fluency check-points and the demands of the text to determine which fluency supports to include in the unit.

Teachers should plan to do fluency checkpoints at several points throughout a unit. Have students grade themselves or a friend on the Reading Fluency Rubric. If a student scores a 2 or lower on any of the sections, we offer some ideas for additional fluency instruction and support in our Fluency Assessment Package.

At the end of each unit, teachers should assess each student using the unit’s fluency assessment found in the Fluency Assessment Package. This assessment is quick. Teachers should plan to pull students one-on-one to do this while the rest of the class is independently reading or writing.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Questioning and clarifying to build understanding. Students seek to clarify a particular point a student makes by asking follow up questions. 
  • Build on and challenge partner's ideas. Students challenge the thinking of their peers.
  • Synthesizing to build deeper meaning. Students synthesize everything they heard into a coherent statement at the end of the discussion 

The main focus of this unit is getting students to critique and analyze the reasoning of others. At this point, students should be able to clarify and explain their own thoughts using ideas and vocabulary from the text. They should also be able to engage with the thinking of others by building on, paraphrasing, and asking clarifying questions. Now students will work on engaging with others at a much deeper level. 

Instead of just building on to a partner’s idea, students should begin to challenge his or her thinking. To do so, students may focus on a particular idea or example, and then explain why they disagree. Or, multiple students should be pushed to analyze and critique a particular problem or line of thought. The idea is that students are able to use discussion strategies to go deep into a particular point or idea. 

Finally, students should be able to synthesize key ideas from the discussion. The synthesis should hit on the key takeaways and learning of the discussion. This is to ensure that students walk away from the discussion with new or deeper understandings of the topic.

Guidance on teacher moves to support these discussion focuses can be found in our Guide to Academic Discourse (below).

Vocabulary

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Below are all of the unit vocabulary words. Prior to teaching the unit, we recommend teachers decide which words to prioritize. We also recommend that teachers decide which affixes to prioritize. See our teacher tool Prepping Unit Vocabulary (below) for more guidance on which words to pick as priority words.

Text-based

"on the lam" abudance acquaintance advises affection antsy bandit blurt brute budge confidential contaminated deny devour doze eviction exaggerate fidget foster fumbling glum gratitude hard-headed ignorant ingratitude income insist jolt judgmental kin lavish meddling nosy nourished nudge paltry privilege proper puny raid reputation resourceful retrieve revenge rightful scrawny scolding scoop shriek snotty sputter starvation suffer symbolize thrive tolerate unemployment upbringing

Idiom/Cultural Reference

"in hot water" "spitting image" "talking someone's ear off"

Root/Affix

-ful -ment -tion in- un-

Assessment

These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills. Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit.

With Fishtank Plus, you can download the Fluency Package for this unit, which includes a unit-specific fluency assessment passage and additional tools to help monitor and support students’ reading fluency. Download Sample

Lesson Map

1

  • Children of the Great Depression pp. 3 – 11

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Back of the Book

    RL.4.3

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Explain what life was like during the Great Depression. 

2

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 1 and Ch. 2

    RL.4.3

Analyze and explain how Bud is more mature than other ten year olds.

3

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 3 and Ch. 4

    RL.4.3

    RL.4.4

Defend if Bud’s actions from chapters 3 and 4 show that he is just like other ten year olds.

4

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 5

    RL.4.3

Describe the memories Bud has when he looks through the suitcase and how they impact him. 

5

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 6-7

    RL.4.3

Analyze the ways in which Bud acts his age and in what ways he acts more mature than his age.

6Essential Task

  • Bud, Not Buddy pp. 60 – 70 — Ch. 8

    RL.4.3

Describe what life was like in Hooverville and how the description of Hooverville helps the reader better understand the Great Depression.

7

  • Children of the Great Depression pp. 18 – 23

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Explain why Hoovervilles were created.

8

  • Bud, Not Buddy pp. 71 – 80 — Ch. 8

    RL.4.3

Analyze the ways in which Bud carries his family around inside of him.

9

  • Bud, Not Buddy pp. 80 – 88 — Ch. 8

    RL.4.2

Explain how the flyer impacts Bud’s life.

10

Writing

  • Bud, Not Buddy

  • Children of the Great Depression

    W.4.1

Write a multiple-paragraph essay that describes what the Great Depression was and how the setting influences how the story unfolds.

11

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 9

    RL.4.2

Explain how the idea that Herman E. Calloway was Bud’s father started.

12

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 10

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

    RL.4.6

Defend if Bud acts his age or if he acts more mature when interacting with the man on the side of the road.

13

  • Bud, Not Buddy pp. 108 – 115 — Ch. 11

    RL.4.3

    RL.4.6

Describe how Bud’s perspective of the man changes.

14

  • Bud, Not Buddy pp. 115 – 129 — Ch. 11

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

Summarize Bud’s experience with the Sleet family.

15Essential Task

  • Bud, Not Buddy

    RL.4.2

    SL.4.1

Identify details that help support the development of different thematic topics.

16

Discussion

  • Bud, Not Buddy pp. 1 – 129

    SL.4.1

Analyze and debate unit-essential questions by stating a claim and then using evidence from the entire text and unit to support the claim.

17

Writing

    W.4.1

Write a multiple-paragraph essay to answer a unit essential question. 

18

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 12

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

Defend if Bud does or does not act his age in the chapter.

19

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 13

    RL.4.3

Describe the way different members of the band treat Bud and how their responses influence Bud.

20

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 14

    RL.4.3

Describe what Bud realizes in this chapter and what effect it has on him.

21

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 15

    RL.4.3

Analyze how Herman E. Calloway responds to Bud being in his house and how Herman’s actions influence Bud.

22

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 16

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

Describe what can be learned about Mr. Calloway, Miss Thomas, and the other members of the band.

23

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 17-18

    RL.4.3

Explain what Bud and Herman learn about each other and how they both respond. 

24

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 19

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

Explain why the author chose to begin and end the book with “Here we go again” and how the difference between the phrases captures Bud’s growth as a character.

25

Discussion

  • Bud, Not Buddy

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.c

    W.4.1.d

    SL.4.1

Identify the themes that are present in Bud, Not Buddy and how they are developed over the course of the novel. 

26

Discussion

  • Bud, Not Buddy

    RL.4.2

    RL.4.3

    SL.4.1

Analyze and discuss unit essential questions by stating a claim and supporting the claim with details from the entire unit.

27

Writing

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.c

    W.4.1.d

Write a multiple-paragraph essay to answer a unit essential question.

28

Assessment

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  • Bud, Not Buddy

  • Course novels

    RL.4.9

    SL.4.1

Compare and contrast the development of theme in Bud, Not Buddy with other novels from the course by stating a claim and supporting it with evidence from multiple texts. 

Common Core Standards

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.4.3 — Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • RI.4.7 — Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

  • RI.4.9 — Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.4.2 — Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

  • RL.4.3 — Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

  • RL.4.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

  • RL.4.6 — Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

  • RL.4.9 — Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.4.1 — Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Writing Standards
  • W.4.1 — Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information

  • W.4.1.a — Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.

  • W.4.1.c — Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).

  • W.4.1.d — Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

  • W.4.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Sprial Standards

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L.4.1

L.4.2

L.4.4

L.4.4.b

L.4.5

L.4.6

RF.4.3

RF.4.4

RL.4.1

RL.4.10

RL.4.4

SL.4.1

SL.4.4

W.4.10

W.4.10

W.4.4

W.4.5

W.4.6

W.4.9