Testing/Assessments & Learning Standards
July 23, 2015

Lesson Plan: Henry and Mudge

Source: Research and Educational Services

LESSON TITLE:  Writing an Opinion Piece Using “Henry and Mudge: Under the Yellow Moon”

TEACHER:  Katie Kurjakovic 



TIME FRAME:  5, 45-minute periods



  • Students should each have an assigned discussion partner whether they are seated at desks or in the meeting area.
  • Students should already have been introduced to the concept of “opinion” and the terms “same” and “different”.
  • Write questions on post-its ahead of time, and place them on the corresponding pages in your copy of the book.  (See lesson activities from Day 1 for questions.)

Lesson Implementation - Edited:

Lesson Implementation - Unedited:


NYSED Classroom Videos

The NYS Education Department has classroom videos available in ELA (3 elementary, 1 secondary), mathematics (2 elementary, 2 secondary), and a European history lesson. The videos are presented un-edited and formatted to highlight specific NYS Learning standards as they are implemented.

Go to EngageNY to view the videos.

Materials/Equipment needed:

  • Henry and Mudge:  Under the Yellow Moon, “Together in the Fall” by Cynthia Rylant pp 5-11
  • post-its
  • Chart paper/markers
  • Writing paper for students
  • Student copies of “character cards” worksheet (attached):  1 copy for each pair of partners plus 1 piece of blank paper
  • Scissors and glue for student use
  • Envelopes or baggies/ 1 per pair of students
  • If using the second grade Harcourt Trophies series, student copies of the first reader which includes the Henry and Mudge story.

Learning Standards: ELA:  RL 1, RL 7, RF 4, W 1, SL 1, SL 6, L1

Shifts in relation to common standards: 

  • Text-Based Answers
  • Writing from Sources
  • Academic Vocabulary
  • Staircase of Complexity (Note:  I deliberately chose what appears to be a simple text, in order to introduce a complex concept requiring analysis of the text.) 

Content objectives:

  • Students will be able to compare and contrast two characters in a story.
  • Students will form compound sentences using linking words such as and, but, while
  • Students will be able to verbalize and then write an opinion piece supported by evidence in the text
  • Students will comprehend a grade-level text

Academic Vocabulary:

      pick, sniff, chipmunk, woods, inside out, migrate, compare, same, similar/dissimilar, alike/unlike, different 

Differentiated Instruction:

This lesson was created for a self-contained ESL class including students with special needs.  Differentiation is integrated into the lesson.

Sequence of Lesson Activities:

Day 1 

Read-aloud (15 minutes)   Shift:  Text-Based Answers

Gather students in meeting area, seated next to a partner.  Read the story aloud, using the text-based questions written below.  The text is in italics, the questions are in regular font. Placing the questions on post-its in the book next to the text itself makes it much easier.

“Together in the Fall” 

In the fall,
Henry and his big dog Mudge
took long walks in the woods.        
What is the boy’s name?  What is the dog’s name?

                                                      What do they do in the fall?

Henry loved looking at
the tops of the trees.
He liked the leaves:

orange, yellow, brown,
and red.                                         
What did Henry love to do?  Why?


Mudge loved sniffing
at the ground.                               
Demonstrate sniffing and have students mimic.


And he liked
the leaves too.  He always ate
a few.                                          
Why does Mudge like the leaves?


In the fall,
Henry liked counting
the birds flying south.                
What does Henry like?  Show me! (Have students act out.)


Mudge liked watching
for busy chipmunks.                     
What does Mudge like to watch?

Since one was a boy
and the other was a dog,
they never did things just

the same way.                              
What is the author telling us about Henry and Mudge?


Henry picked apples
and Mudge licked apples.              
Demonstrate and have students mimic “pick” and “lick”.


Henry put on a coat                      Why does Henry put on a coat in the fall?


and Mudge grew one.                    What does this mean?  Grew what?  Why?


And when the fall wind blew,
Henry’s ears turned red
and Mudge’s ears

turned inside out.                        
When it’s windy, what happens to Henry’s ears?

                                                     What happens to Mudge’s?


But one thing about them
was the same.
In the fall

Henry and Mudge liked
being together,

most of all.                                    
What do Henry and Mudge both like the most? 

                                                     Does the author think they are more alike or different?

                                                     What in the text tells you? (…[only] one thing about them was the same.)


Character card sort (20 minutes)

At their seats, partners will work together to cut out and sort the character cards (see worksheet included below).  One partner will be Henry and one Mudge.  After they cut out cards, they place them in a pile, face down.  As they alternate turning the top card over, they decide whom the card should belong to.  They will each end up with six cards.  If there are student copies of the reader, students should be encouraged to use their books for support.  Students who finish early can illustrate their cards. 

Formative Assessment (10 minutes)

Share out to check answers.  One way to increase engagement is to have all Henrys spread out their cards and stand up.  Call on one student to read a Henry card.  Partners who have that card displayed turn it over. The next Henry reads another.  When a student has no more cards, he or she sits down.  Repeat with all Mudges.

Have partners save the cards in envelopes or bags.  Collect for later use.     

Day 2

Introduce Vocabulary in context (15 minutes)  Shift:  Academic Vocabulary

Gather students in meeting area.  Introduce vocabulary on index cards.  Have the word and an illustration on the front, and a student-friendly definition written on the back for you to read.  You may draw your own pictures or print-out images using Google Images.  Samples of these are attached.

chipmunk -a small, furry animal

inside-out -the underneath part is on top

migrate –to move for part of the year to find food (Note that this word is not explicitly used in the text, but the concept is.)

pick –to take something from a plant (model picking an apple and have students mimic)

sniff –to smell with small, fast breaths (model sniffing the air and have students mimic)

woods –a big area filled with trees (make sure students understand it is different from a park)

Important:  modify your selection of vocabulary words depending on the language level of your students.  For example, if you have a more advanced class, you might want to introduce words that, while not written in the text, can be used in discussions, such as “companion” to describe Henry and Mudge’s relationship, or “vibrant” to describe the colors of autumn leaves.   For lower language levels, you might select “south” instead of “migrate”.  Note that if you are using this story from the Trophies series, my selection of vocabulary words has some overlap, but is not identical.

After introducing the vocabulary, leave the cards displayed.  Tell students you are going to read the story aloud again.  You want them to listen for the vocabulary words and raise their hands when they notice one.  In the case of words like “migrate,” they should raise their hands at the part they think matches it. 

De-contextualize Vocabulary (students connect words to their own lives)  (15 minutes) 

Students will work with a partner, either still at the meeting area, or back in their desks.  After posing a prompt for each word, give them 1-2 minutes to talk.  Call on one student to share out.  To maximize accountability and engagement, have student names written on popsicle sticks and select one at random.   Make sure they use the vocabulary word in their responses.

  1. In the story, Henry and Mudge walk in the woods.  Have you ever been in the woods?  Tell your partner about it. 
  2. In the story, Mudge sniffs at the ground.  Did you ever sniff at anything?  Tell your partner about it.
  3. In the story, birds migrate south.   Have you ever seen animals migrate in real life or in a movie or show?  Tell your partner about it. 
  4. In the story, Mudge likes to watch chipmunks.  Did you ever see a chipmunk in real life or in a movie or show?  Tell your partner about it.
  5. In the story, Henry picks apples.  Did you ever pick anything? (fruit, vegetable, flower) Tell your partner about it. 
  6. In the story, Mudge’s ears turn inside-out.  Did you ever have anything inside-out?  Tell your partner about it. 

Students Record Vocabulary Words (10 minutes)

Have students copy the vocabulary words into a notebook and draw illustrations.  These can be based on your images, images from the text, or, better yet, their own. 

(Note:  this also makes a good activity for a literacy center.  In that case, intermediate or advanced ELLs can also copy the definitions.) 

Homework (to be completed by the end of the week) 

This activity provides students with additional practice, and allows the teacher to assess comprehension of the targeted vocabulary.  By providing the student with a “sentence starter,” the student must focus on the meaning of the word.  This eliminates the copying of sentences from the dictionary or simplistic sentences such as “I like chipmunks.”   Since one of this week’s goals is to form complex sentences using linking words, these sentences provide scaffolding for students to begin using them.

Sample:  The woods can be scary at night because…

Download the full worksheet here: ( pdf / Microsoft Word )

Day 3

Shared Reading for Fluency (5 minutes)

As you read the text aloud, students should follow along in their copies with their fingers.  They should read out loud with you, as able.   Make sure that students are moving their fingers under the words, not on them. 

Sorting Character Cards in Preparation for Compare/Contrast (20 minutes)

Partners will work together to put their character cards saved from Day 1 in the form of a T chart.  Model this by folding a blank paper in half and labeling one side “Henry” and one side “Mudge”. Partners will glue the cards under the correct heading.   Have them draw lines to connect cards that show how the characters are different (e.g. “ He likes to look at leaves.” and “He likes to eat leaves.”   If you have newcomers, beginners, or non-readers, you may want to work with them in a small group.  As partners finish, have them discuss how Henry and Mudge are different.  Gather in the meeting area to share answers as a class.  This may be done on a Smart Board, pocket chart or written chart.

Create Complex Sentences Orally to Make Comparisons Using “But” and “While”  (10 minutes)

Use the character T chart to model the use of “but” and “while” for comparing Henry and Mudge.  For example, “Henry likes to look at leaves, but Mudge likes to eat leaves.” and “Henry likes to look at leaves, while Mudge likes to eat leaves.”  Record the sentences on a chart/board.   Have partners turn and talk to create other examples.  Choosing a student by popsicle stick works well here to keep all students on task.

Write Complex Sentences Using “But” and “While (10 minutes)

Students return to their desks.  They each write at least one sentence using “but” and one using “while”.  Collect these for assessment. 

Day 4

Re-read to Find the Author’s Opinion (15 minutes)  Shift:  Text-Based Answers

Have students read the story aloud with their partners.  Below-level readers can listen and follow with their fingers or echo read.  You may choose to work with a small group. 

Ask students if the author thinks that Henry and Mudge are more the same/alike/similar or different/unlike/dissimilar (Alternate the use of these synonyms as you speak.  You can also post these words to have available throughout the week’s discussions and writing activities.)  What in the text tells them this?   Possible answers are:  “Since one was a boy and the other a dog, they never did things just the same way.”  and “But one thing about them was the same.” 

Support a Dissenting Opinion Using Evidence from the Text  Shift:  Staircase of Complexity

Create Complex Sentences Orally Using “And”  (15 minutes) 

Ask partners to discuss if they agree with the author that Henry and Mudge are more different than the same and why.  Call on one or two students to share.

View the class T chart from yesterday, where items had been matched in pairs.  Elicit from students how the items were paired (to compare how Henry and Mudge were different).  Can we look at these pairs to form a different opinion?  Have partners discuss and share.  Elicit the idea that the pairs also show how much Henry and Mudge have in common.  For example, they both like leaves. 

Model the use of “and” to create compound sentences.  Record an example (e.g. Henry likes leaves and Mudge (also) likes leaves (too).  Choose your targeted sentence structures based on the needs/levels of your students.   Have partners practice and share. 

Write Complex Sentences Using “And”  (15 minutes)

Students return to their desks.  They each write at least two sentences using “and”.  More advanced students can forego their T charts and go directly to the text to find evidence and write their complex sentences.  They may also use more variety in their structure and word choice  (e.g.  Henry likes leaves, and Mudge enjoys them as well.)  Collect these for assessment.  

Day 5 

Supporting an Opinion Orally  (15 minutes)  Shift:  Writing from Sources

Explain to students that today, they are going to write an opinion piece.  They will decide whether they think Henry and Mudge are more alike or more different.  They will write a paragraph (a few sentences) to support their opinion, using evidence from the story. 

Tell students that to prepare for their writing, you are going to give them a few minutes to re-read the story independently.  Then you will ask their opinion.

After about five minutes, designate one side of the room for people who think Henry and Mudge are the same, and the other side for those who think they are different.  At your signal, have them walk to their chosen side. 

Give students about 5 minutes to support their opinion verbally with a few people next to them.   Then they take their seats.    Have one or two students of each opinion share their ideas.

Write an Opinion Piece Using Evidence from the Text  (30 minutes)


Are Henry and Mudge more the same or different? 

Write a paragraph to support your opinion.

Your paragraph should begin with an opening sentence that could start with “I think…. “OR “In my opinion…”

You should use details from the story to support your opinion. 

Use words like and, but, while to make complex sentences.

Your paragraph should end with a closing sentence.

Depending on the knowledge and skills base of your students, you may need to supply them with samples of opening and closing statements, particularly if this lesson is being taught at the beginning of the year.  The primary focus should be on using evidence from the text to support their opinion.  

Students should have available to them their T charts and sentence samples as well as the class charts with sentence samples. 

You will need to work with Beginner and Low Intermediate ELLs and students with special needs to allow them additional time to verbalize their responses before writing.  You may wish to use the template that is included which provides a stronger scaffold for these students.  They will still allow them to search for evidence in the text.  For students who do no not write at all yet, they can draw pictures of something that is the same, or something that is different and talk about or label their drawings. 


Formative assessments have been included in the description of the lesson.

Summative Assessment - The opinion piece will be scored according to the following rubric:

  • Contains an introductory and closing sentence
  • Includes several details which support the opinion with text-based-evidence
  • Most sentences are complex and use linking words
  • Follows standard conventions of written English
  • Most grade level words spelled correctly


  • Contains an introductory or closing sentence
  • Includes a few details that mostly support the opinion with text-based evidence
  • Most sentences are complex and use linking words
  • Mostly follows standard conventions of written English
  • Most grade level words spelled correctly


  • Contains limited details
  • Uses limited evidence from the text
  • Contains no,or limited use of, complex sentences
  • Inconsistent use of standard conventions of written English
  • Grade-level words may be misspelled


  • Contains only one or two simple sentences related to the task
  • Does not follow standard conventions of written English
  • Most grade level words are misspelled


  • Teacher reflection on the process of development of the lesson incorporating the shifts and reflections on implementation.



  • What I was thinking about during the lesson writing – the students and implementing the shifts
  • Why I chose the lesson
  • Struggles to make the shifts come to life



  • What was the effectiveness of the instructional design?
  • What concerns or issues do/did I have?
  • How will/did I revise the lesson?





     He likes to look at leaves.



     He puts on a coat.



     He grows a coat.



     He likes to eat leaves.


     He likes to pick apples.



     His ears turn inside out in

     the wind.



     He likes to lick apples.


     He is a dog.


     His ears turn red in the wind.


     He likes to watch



     He is a boy.


     He likes to count birds.