Those shoes

Author(s): Maribeth Boelts & Noah Jones


Social Justice focus: Poverty

Synopsis: A touching story about a boy who wants the latest shoes but whose grandmother is unable to buy them for him. He is given a pair of shoes by his school guidance counsellor but is teased by his classmates because they are meant for a younger child. He strikes up a friendship with a boy in his class who is also without the “in” shoes.

Lesson Plan: Jordan Huffman

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

Grade: 4

Lesson: What is the focus of this lesson in relation to the unit?

This lesson focuses on engaging student’s critical literacy abilities by having students examine the feelings of the characters, supported by evidence from the text, and make meaningful connections to their own lives.

Curriculum Areas: What are possible connections to other curricular areas? (please see below)

Curriculum Expectations: What Overall and Specific Expectations will be addressed?


Language Arts


Oral Communication 1: Listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes


1.4 Demonstrating Understanding: Demonstrate an understanding of the information and ideas in a variety of oral texts by summarizing important ideas and citing important details

1.6 Extending Understanding: Extend understanding of oral texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights; to other texts, including print and visual texts; and to the world around them


Reading 1: Read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning


1.5 Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts: Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence

1.6 Extending Understanding: Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them


Writing 1: Generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience


1.3 Research: Gather information to support ideas for writing using a variety of strategies and oral, print, and electronic sources

1.6 Review: Determine whether the ideas and information they have gathered are relevant and adequate for the purpose, and do more research if necessary


Social Studies: Heritage and Identity: Early Societies to 1500 CE


A1. Application: compare key aspects of life in a few early societies (to 1500), including at least one First Nation and one Inuit society, each from a different region and era and representing a different culture, and describe some key similarities and differences between these early societies and present-day Canadian society


A1.2 compare aspects of the daily lives of different groups within a few early societies, including at least one First Nation and one Inuit society


This story explores needs versus wants. Very relevant connections can be made to social studies by asking students to compare their own needs and wants to those of a First Nations group residing in Ontario for example.


Social Studies: Religion: Living a Moral Life


ML1: Christian Morality as a living response of our human vocation to life in the Spirit as revealed by reason, the Scriptures and Tradition


ML1.3: Identify efforts being made by your family, school community and Church to live according to the Ten Commandments


The theme to catholic social teachings for grade 4 is the option for the poor and the vulnerable, which directly relates to the theme of the book. As planned in my consolidation activity, students reflect upon ways in which they can help those in need, just like Jeremy helped Antoine in the story.


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

We are learning to identify the difference between wants and needs.

We are learning to support our ideas by finding evidence in the text.

We are learning to make connections between the story read aloud in class, and our own life experiences.

We are learning to organize our ideas using technology (Padlet).

We are learning of ways to help the poor and vulnerable through our Catholic Faith.

Success Criteria: How will students know they have met the learning goal? I can….

I can explain the differences between a need and a want.

I can find evidence in the text to support my ideas.

I can use Padlet to communicate my learning.

I can show my understanding of the text by writing at least one-way that I can help the poor and vulnerable using complete sentences and proper conventions.

MODIFICATIONS/ACCOMMODATIONS: How will I meet the needs of my students?

  • Bring in concrete materials when discussing the difference between needs and wants
  • Graphic organizer available for students to gather their ideas
  • Electronic copy of graphic organizer available for students
  • Distribute copies of the story text for students to reference (can highlight key words/ideas)
  • Review active listening skills as a class
  • Provide an example of evidence pulled from the story (model for students)
  • Co-create criteria for evidence that can be used from the story
  • Pair oral and written instructions
  • Peer scribe or use of assistive technology to dictate notes/ideas (ie. Dragon Dictation)
  • Use Padlet as an online platform for sharing
  • Provide students with sentence starters to guide their thinking

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

Minutes: How much time will I allocate? 15 minutes

Task: What will I be doing? What will students be doing?

Bring in basket of items that include both wants and needs (ie. food, clothing, toys, etc.). Through whole class discussion, students will decide which items are considered wants and which are considered necessary. Teacher will generate the list on chart paper, and visually organize the items into ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ based on the class discussion

Guiding Questions:

  • What differentiates a want from a need?
  • What is something children your age want?
  • What is something children your age need?
  • Is brand name clothing a need?

Show students the front cover of the book, Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts. Read the title aloud. Draw attention to the four boys on the cover and the shoe adjacent to the title. Note the facial expressions of the four boys. Provide students with the opportunity to ask questions and to make predictions about the story after having the chance to make observations about the cover of the book.

Guiding Questions:

  • What questions come to mind after seeing the front cover of the book? What do you wonder?
  • What do you think the title means? Why?
  • What do you think this story is about? Why?
  • Who is the author? – Ask students to keep the author in mind when listening to the story.

Assessment: What is the Nature and Purpose of assessment?

Assessment For Learning

Make anecdotal record of students who are able to pose critical questions/observations about the story and those who can differentiate between a want and a need in their own life.

Action: How will I introduce new learning / reinforce prior learning / practice learning / scaffold learning?

Minutes: How much time will I allocate? 60 minutes

Task: What will I be doing? What will students be doing?

During the read-aloud, students will be actively listening. Prior to starting, review active listening strategies with the class (ie. ‘Give me 5’ – eyes watching, ears listening, mouth quiet, hands still and brain turned on). Encourage students to search for the answers to the questions they came up with.

After the first read aloud, return to the front cover of the book. Guiding questions:

  • Were you able to find answers to your questions after listening to the story? Provide students will the opportunity to share.
  • Were your predictions about the title and the story accurate?
  • What is the main message in this story?
  • Opportunity for Critical Literacy:
  • Why do you think the author chose to write the story?
  • Do you think this happens at our school?

Return to the class-generated list of needs and wants. As a class, students will identify Jeremy’s needs and wants as we know them from the story. They will be added to the list in a different colour. Students will also have the chance to revise the list they have generated based on what is presented in the story. (i.e., Is there anything missing from our list?)

Students will independently re-read the story using a paper copy or, if tablets are available, an electronic copy of the text. Students will be asked to place smiley stickers/sad stickers beside the sentence(s) in the story that act as evidence describing how Jeremy is feeling. Students will be provided with a maximum of 6 stickers (3 of each). Encourage students to use their stickers wisely, thinking deeply about the best choice of evidence.

Students will then be asked to share their observations with a partner, comparing the evidence they identified in the text. If there are any differences, have students explain their reasoning.

Working in partners, students will be asked to record evidence of the main character’s feelings. The pair will decide upon a minimum of one piece of supporting evidence to post onto the class Padlet. A paper graphic organizer will be available for students who may benefit. Encourage students to use words besides ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ to describe how Jeremy is feeling.

The teacher and students will co-create the first example and discuss what constitutes valid evidence (Ex. Jeremy was upset when his grandmother told him he needed new boots instead of the high-top shoes he wanted. Evidence – Jeremy believes that he is no longer the fastest runner because he doesn’t have the shoes).

Guiding Questions:

  • What clues in the illustrations help us to know how Jeremy is feeling? (Ex. facial expressions, hunched shoulders at door to classroom.)
  • What clues in the words help us to know how Jeremy is feeling? (Ex. He says, “…my grip is so tight on my pencil I think it might bust.”)

Critical Literacy Opportunity: Through classroom discussion, students are asked to examine multiple perspectives in the story (both Jeremy and Antonio), putting themselves in the shoes of each character.

Guiding Questions:

  • How would you feel if you were Jeremy?
  • How would you feel if you were Antonio?
  • Jeremy feels both happy for Antonio and mad about the “Mr. Alfrey” shoes. Ask: Can we feel both happy and sad at the same time? Explain, using personal experience if possible.

Emphasize that although Jeremy really wanted those shoes, he felt happy when he was able to give them to Antonio, who needed a new pair of shoes.

Assessment: What is the Nature and Purpose of assessment?

Assessment For Learning

The teacher will conference with students working in pairs, providing feedback and suggesting areas for improvement. Students will demonstrate their ability to support their ideas with evidence from the text through their Padlet post. Checklist: valid evidence, a good descriptive word.

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

Minutes: 15 minutes

Task: What will I be doing? What will students be doing?

Critical Literacy Opportunity: This activity provides students with the chance to take action, recognizing that the story can extend to our own lives.

Students will work independently to brainstorm ways they can help those in need in their own community. On the shoe cut-out provided, students will write about an important need they would like to satisfy for someone and how they might accomplish it.

Students will do a gallery walk to share ideas and consolidate their learning.

Assessment: What is the Nature and Purpose of assessment?

Assessment For Learning, Assessment As Learning

Teacher will collect the shoe cut outs, checking for writing conventions and connections made to their own lives. Rubric addressing the communication and application (i.e., the use of conventions and making connections within and between various contexts)

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

Picture book (Those Shoes – Maribeth Boelts)

Paper copy of the text (

Chart paper, markers

Graphic organizer

Padlet (

Internet connection

Access to ipad/computer

Handout: Shoe cut-out

Items to sort (wants and needs)

Stickers (happy/sad face)


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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.

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