The Pigman Unit Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Pigman' by Paul Zindel is a novel for young adults about two teenagers that befriend a lonely, elderly man. This lesson provides teachers with an outline for teaching a unit on 'The Pigman.'

The Pigman Lesson Outline

The Pigman by Paul Zindel explores the unique relationship between some teenagers and an elderly man while providing a grim reminder that there are consequences for bad decisions. This unit plan provides an outline for teaching students about this novel.

Pre-Reading Activities

Before students begin reading this novel, you will want to activate prior knowledge and build their background skills so that students can create connections with the text. The following are some questions that will help engage your students:

  • When is a prank funny and when is it not funny? Provide examples.
  • Why is it important to make friends who are different from you?
  • How do you know when you are about to make a bad decision?
  • What are some reasons why a book for teenagers might be banned?

The Pigman Discussion Questions can be used to preview the story and throughout the reading to guide students towards the most important details.

This is the time to teach some of the unfamiliar vocabulary that students may stumble across while reading. The The Pigman Vocabulary Flashcards provide definitions for difficult terms, as well as brief descriptions of the characters.

Character Analysis

As students are reading the text, they will benefit from taking time to analyze the main characters, as well as examine the characters in terms of their relationships with others. Consider dividing students into small groups to explore the following relationships:

  • John and Lorraine
  • Mr. Pignati and Conchetta
  • Lorraine and her mother
  • John and his parents
  • Mr. Pignati and Bobo
  • John, Lorraine, Norton, and Dennis
  • John, Lorraine, and Mr. Pignati

Students need to connect to the ideas that people behave differently in different circumstances and that the people we spend time with influence our behavior. Over the course of the story, students will see that some of the characters will change, while others remain static.

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