Jill Sires
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Middle School
Literature Analysis, Setting, Small Groups, The One and Only Ivan, Theme/central Idea
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Education Standards (6)

Using Setting to study the meaning of HOME in The One and Only Ivan


Lesson Title:  Using Setting to study the meaning of Home in The One and Only Ivan


Grade level: 6


Standard: RL 6.2, 6.6






  1. Students will analyze the elements of setting in each of Ivan’s homes throughout the novel.

  2. Students will work in groups to find textual examples and evidence.

  3. Students will use setting analysis to write a paragraph about the meaning of Home in the novel.




The One and Only Ivan novels

Poster board (1 per pair of students)

Markers, crayons, colored pencils of choice

Paper and writing utensils




  1. Assign students their partner pairings, and have them spread out around the room, sitting with their partners.

  2. Pass out poster boards (one per pair).  Students should draw two lines through the center of the poster, one horizontally and one vertically to create four equal quadrants on the poster.

  3. In a large group discussion, students should help identify the four settings described in the novel which served as HOME for Ivan at some point.  They should then label each quadrant with one of the settings (Mack’s house, jungle, circus, zoo)

  4. Give them time to work with their partners to identify as least four textual examples describing each of the four settings.  (four examples x four settings = at least 16 textual references) Students should record these examples in the corresponding quadrant of the poster.  They should also create a drawing or visual representation of each setting in the corresponding quadrant.

  5. Students will then present their posters to the class, sharing at least one example for each setting, so as not to take up too much class time and become too repetitive.

  6. Discuss as a full group those details that made each setting either positive or negative.  Have students reflect on what they think HOME means to the author that is conveyed through the character of Ivan.

  7. Assign students (individually, no longer in partners) a paragraph writing assignment describing the meaning of HOME in the novel.  They should reference at least four textual examples from their partner projects in their paragraphs.