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The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 Lesson Plan
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By using this lesson plan, teachers will be able to successfully guide their students through Christopher Paul Curtis's Newbery-award winning novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963. With your class, explore the novel's central themes of parent-child relationships as eleven-year-old Kenny, his older brother Bryon, and sister Joetta come-of-age in the racially-charged American South of the early 1960s. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- What did Kenny think would happen when the teacher sat Rufus next to him in class? Was he right or wrong? Explain what happened. He was upset. He thought that now he would get picked on even more, since they were both people who got teased anyway. He was wrong. The other kids left Kenny alone and started picking on Rufus.
- Why was Rufus upset with Kenny? What happened as a result? How did Kenny feel? How was the problem solved? Larry Dunn made fun of Rufus and Cody because of their pants. When the other kids laughed, Kenny laughed along with them. Rufus stopped sitting next to Kenny and playing at his house. Kenny felt sad and told his mother what had happened. His mother visited Rufus’s house and the next day Rufus and Cody came over to Kenny’s house. Kenny apologized and the boys became friends again.
- What did Momma tell the boys to do when they went to Mitchell’s store for some groceries? What did Byron think this meant, and how did he feel about it? Was Byron’s assumption correct? Momma told Byron to sign for the groceries. He thought that meant they were on welfare. He was embarrassed to sign a welfare list like a peon. He made Kenny sign for the food. Byron’s assumption was not correct. The family was not on welfare. Mr. Watson had arranged to pay the bill all at once.
- What news did the parents tell the children while they were all sitting in the car listening to the records? What were their reasons for this news? The parents told the children that the family would soon be driving to Alabama. Byron would be spending the summer or maybe the next school year with Grandma Sands. They said that Byron was driving them crazy and they would not have the nonsense going on any more.
- How did Kenny feel at the end of The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963? He felt better and was laughing.
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eNotes is pleased to offer Teacher's Pet Publication LitPlans, the most complete literature lesson plans available to teachers and educators everywhere. Since 1989, these lesson plans have undergone extensive development based on the experience and feedback of teachers all over the world. We have more than 115 lesson plans available for download on the most widely-read books and plays, including this lesson plan for Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watson's Go to Birmingham - 1963.