Beatrice’s goat

Author(s): Paige McBrier & Lori Lohstoeter


Social Justice focus: Poverty & Education

Synopsis: Beatrice’s Goat is a story about a young girl living in Uganda who longs to be a schoolgirl. However, in their village only children who can afford a uniform are allowed to attend school. Beatrice, who lives with her mother and 5 siblings, must work in order to help keep her family afloat. There is no money for Beatrice to attend school and she must help take care of her younger siblings. This all changes when Beatrice’s family receives a special gift: a goat named Mugisia. With plenty of milk to drink and sell, as well as baby goats on the way, Beatrice’s dream of attending school becomes a reality.

Lesson Plan: Danielle Boiago

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Media Literacy & Oral Communication- Social Justice Issues

Grade: 5

Lesson: The purpose of this lesson is to have students ponder and reflect on social justice issues, such as education and poverty, and have students communicate their opinions on these issues.

Curriculum Areas:


OE: ML3: Explain the importance of the teaching role of the Church in assisting society and individuals to reflect on moral issues and to respond in ways that promote the dignity of the human person and the call to holiness.

SE: ML3.3: Identify the principles of social justice outlined by the Magisterium of the Church and explain why they are teachings that address communal social sin and are called to holiness.

Curriculum Expectations:

Media Literacy

OE: 1. demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts

SE: 1.3 express opinions about ideas, issues, and/or experiences presented in media texts

Oral Communication

OE: 2. use speaking skills and strategies appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes

SE: 2.2 demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behaviour in a variety of situations

2.3 communicate orally in a clear, coherent manner, presenting ideas, opinions, and information in a readily understandable form.

Learning Goal(s): What are students expected to know, do and understand? We are learning to….

I am learning to:

  • Independently reflect, ponder, and ask questions about education and poverty
  • Form an opinion on a social justice statement with some reference to the Catholic teachings
  • Orally communicate my opinion with small and large groups

Success Criteria:

I can:

  • Formulate questions based off what I have heard in a story as well as my prior knowledge
  • Use the information I have been provided as well as my own personal thoughts and ideas to formulate an opinion
  • Express and share my opinion with others in a clear and coherent manner
  • Use the Catholic teachings to reflect on what I have learned and ask additional questions that I am unsure about


How will I meet the needs of my students? Have I addressed any IEPs?

Every student will be provided with the accommodations that they need in order to be successful in this task. Some of these accommodations may include but are not limited to:

  • Writing down opinions instead of sharing them orally
  • Sharing opinions with just the teacher instead of a small or large group
  • Using technology to type/have opinions read out loud
  • Draw a picture of ideas
  • Work with a peer tutor
  • Provided with additional clarification of the statements
  • Provided with more time to decide on an opinion
  • Provided with additional one on one teacher support


How will I connect to prior and future learning? How will I engage students and set the context for learning?

Minutes: 10 minutes


In this minds on task, I will be reading the picture book, Beatrice’s Goat to the students. After the book has been read, students will be given a couple minutes to think about the story that they have just heard and to write down any questions or concerns that they might have about the story.

Assessment: AfL – Formative – Observation

Through observation, I will be scanning to see which students are able to generate questions based on the story they have read as well as their prior knowledge and which students are struggling to do so.


Minutes: 20 minutes


Students will be taking part in a 4 corner debate. They will be provided with statements that are related to the story or the social justice issues that the story discusses. Upon hearing the statement, students will then decide if they strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with what has been said. They will then move to the respective corner of the room and will discuss with their peers that also chose that stance why they feel that way about the statement. Students from each corner will then be able to share with the whole class what their small group discussed. It is imperative for students to remember that everyone has different opinions on social justice issues and it is important that everyone listens to all points of view without judgement. After each group has had a chance to share, the students will then be given another statement and will once again decide whether they agree with the statement or not.

Some possible statements:

  • I would go to school if I didn’t have to
  • It is the responsibility of the oldest child to take care of their younger siblings
  • A child can lift their family out of poverty
  • We would not be able to succeed without the help of others
  • It is better to help those in our own country than those that live far away

Assessment: AfL – Formative – Observation

Through observation of the debate, the teacher will be looking to see if students are able to form an opinion on the statement presented to them using information from the story and their prior knowledge. The teacher will also be listening in on small and large group conversations to see if students are communicating in a clear and coherent manner.

Consolidation How will I reflect on the learning goal? How will I have students reflect on the learning goal?

Minutes: 5 minutes


Students will be reflecting on the questions that they initially wrote down after hearing the story of Beatrice’s Goat. They will be asked to think about whether these questions were answered for them throughout the 4 corner debate activity. Students will be asked to write down any questions that have not yet been answered on a sticky note and place them on the “parking lot” for further discussion next class. Students will also be asked to share how listening to their classmate’s thoughts and ideas might have changed their opinion on a particular statement.

Additionally, this story provides an excellent opportunity to take on a social justice class initiative. The class can work together to donate funds to the Heifer Project International who sends livestock to families in poor communities around the world so that another family like Beatrice’s can send their kids to school.

Assessment: AfL – Formative – Observation

The teacher will be looking to see if students are able to reflect on the content of the debate using a Catholic lens and if they are able to ask questions that they are still interested in finding out the answers to.

MATERIALS: What resources and materials do I need? Where can I find them? In a perfect world what other resources might I need?

  • The picture book – Beatrice’s Goat
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Signs
  • Tap
  • Sticky Notes
  • Personal Assistive Technology


REFLECTION: Questions to determine the success of your lesson:

  • Were my students successful in meeting the learning goals and success criteria? How do I know?
  • Did my instructional decisions meet the needs of all students? If not, what are my next steps?
  • What worked well and why?
  • What will I do differently in the future when teaching this lesson? For the subsequent lesson?
  • What are the next steps for my professional learning?


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Social Justice Picture Books Copyright © 2019 by Ruth McQuirter, editor and Gurbinder Kaur, contributing editor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book