Mr. Dodd's Lesson Plan
Grade: 7th
Short Story: The Smallest Dragonboy
Common Core Standard: 3 Analyze how particular elements of a story interact.
Focus: Setting and Description
  • Discuss setting and why it's important. What are the important aspects of a good setting?
  • Analyze the characters, and discuss the characteristics of each.
  • Open class asking if any students can explain what a setting is. Try to get a short discussion going. Explain that authors like Anne McCaffrey have to come up with their own settings. There are many things that they must consider, such as residents, terrain, wildlife, technology, culture, etc. Have the students write about their own planet or world, in which they are the sole creator. They will have to consider all of these aspects, and come up with the name of their world. What is the name of your world? Who lives there? What has happened or is happening? (If a student is having trouble writing, give them the option of drawing a picture of their world.) (15-20 min)
  • Have students share their worlds with the class. Ask how they came up with certain things. Identify that they had to use inspiration from somewhere to fabricate their world. Did they think of things like culture? economy? timeline? These are all very important to the setting. (5-10 min)
  • Begin reading the story. Have students take turns reading segments of the story aloud. At the point of the story when Keevan hears he may not be able to participate in the hatching ceremony, put a hold on the reading. Ask the students what they think of Keevan and Beterli and how they compare and contrast. (To encourage discussion, form two groups. Have one group discuss the characteristics of Keevan and the other of Beterli.) What kinds of predictions do the students have for the story? (10-15 min)
  • Continue reading until the end of the story. Have the students compare their predictions to the actual ending of the story. Were they similar? Why or why not? What changes were visible in Keevan at the end? What gave him courage or confidence? Were there times when you may have felt like Keevan? Or even Beterli? (10-15 min)
  • Give the students a chance to edit their world, keeping in mind the details that McCaffrey used in The Smallest Dragonboy. Encourage them to try to use all of their senses (sounds, smells, tastes) in describing their world.
Assessment: There will be no formal assessment for this lesson. However the writing exercises will be collected and reviewed, looking for understanding of setting in a story. Also, class participation will be recorded.