Peppe the Lamplighter

Name: Diana Pyatigorsky                                                    

Subject: Social Studies/Literacy

Grade: Fifth

Lesson Title: Peppe the Lamplighter, Historical Journals


Peppe The Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone, Paper, Pen/Pencil and Chart paper

Pre-assessment of Student Knowledge: Students have been immersed in a unit on Historical Fiction and have explored different time periods, people, culture and language. The majority of students are writing and reading fluently. Five students struggle with comprehension.

(B)Students were able to accurately complete a K-W-L Chart on life in New York City from the time of the book to present day. This includes forms of transportation, jobs, and communication.


Social Studies

Standard 2:   World History

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

English Language Arts

Standard 2:   Language for Literary Response and Expression

Students will read and listen to oral, written, and electronically produced texts and performances from American and world literature; relate texts and performances to their own lives; and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent.


Standard 4:   Understanding the Cultural Contributions of the Arts

Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society


Thinking Objective: Students will be able to compare and contrast life in current and old New York City.

Mastery Objective: Students will explain/describe how life has changed in New York City. Students will understand the important of immigration. Students will understand the hardships of immigration.


Introduction and Motivation:

Read aloud of Peppe the Lamplighter. Explain to the children that this story takes place in a time where many people were struggling and had to have their children find jobs to help support the family. Tell the students that this story is about a boy named Peppe and how he tried to help take care of his five sisters and his sick father. Have the students wonder what life would be like for them if they had to go find work.

Essential Questions

How do you think your community and the city of New York have changed over time?

What would it be like to live in a time when there was no electricity?

Why did Peppe’s family come to America?

Why was Peppe’s father upset about Peppe’s job?

What is life like for an immigrant?



  1. Explain to the students that we will be using Peppe the Lamplighter to discuss the changing of New York City and the immigrant experience.
  2. After discuss essential questions, go to rug and ask students to think about how New York City has changed since the time of the book. Topics such as jobs, transportation, communication.
  3. Create Chart of ideas and feeling for future discussion and reference.

Independent Work

  1. Each student will create their own journal entry of their trip to America or any unknown place. They can write about a family member, themselves or friend from their old country. Each story contains information about their trip to America, where they came from, why they came, what they did to be an American and their feeling about being here.

Closure: Discuss what students have learned from Pepper the Lamplighter and the changing community of New York City. Discuss the current and historical importance of immigration.

Assessment-Teacher will assess understanding during conference time and during the share. Ask follow up questions if students are not confident with their explanations. Students will be assessed for their activity participation, their participation as audience members and their working material. Student project work will be reviewed against the rubric above.

Diversity: This lesson continues the work of opening a window into a past cultural experience through the use of historical fiction texts.  Allowing students to create their own journal entries brings to life the understanding of their own culture in respect to other cultures throughout history.


Using project-based and creative learning activities, students that struggle with comprehension are able to use their imaginations to show that they understand the content. This lesson also supports concreteness of the topic with the use of pictures and personal narratives.

Take Home Activity: Students will continue to write journal entries about what may have happened to them as they grew up in their chosen time period.

Student Work Examples


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