Discovering Self: 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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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

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

Supporting Materials

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.

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? 

Vocabulary

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Text-based

"on the lam" abundance acquaintance advises affection antsy bandit blurt brute budge contaminated confidential 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 scolding scrawny 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-

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 4th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

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Lesson Map

7

  • Children of the Great Depression pp. 18 – 23

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Explain why Hoovervilles were created.

9

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

    RL.4.2

Explain how the flyer impacts Bud’s life.

11

  • Bud, Not Buddy — Ch. 9

    RL.4.2

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

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.

28

Assessment

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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RI.4.3

RI.4.7

RI.4.9

RL.4.2

RL.4.3

RL.4.4

RL.4.6

RL.4.9

SL.4.1

W.4.1

W.4.1.a

W.4.1.c

W.4.1.d

W.4.3

Supporting 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

SL.4.4

W.4.10

W.4.10

W.4.4

W.4.5

W.4.6

W.4.9