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Lesson Plan

Teaching the Epic through Ghost Stories

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Teaching the Epic through Ghost Stories

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Props—if desired and in line with your school’s safety guidelines, gather candles, flashlights, darkening curtains, and other items to create an appropriate setting.

  • La Llorona: The Weeping Woman (optional)

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Literary Elements Map

Grades   6 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Inquiry & Analysis

Literary Elements Map

Students can map out the key literary elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution as prewriting for their own fiction or as analysis of a text by another author in this secondary-level interactive.


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  • Gather any props that you’ll use to complement the lesson and make any necessary arrangements for the appropriate classroom where the storytelling will take place.

  • Test the Literary Elements Map on your computers to ensure that they have the proper browser plugin installed. If necessary, download and install the plug-in from the Site Tools page.

  • Test the NPR News story “Spiritual Cleansing: A Mexican Ghost Story” on a computer in your classroom to ensure that you have Real Player or Windows Media Player installed. See the Using Audio and Video on NPR.org page for help installing or troubleshooting the software if necessary.

  • Choose a ghost story to tell the class, either Greg’s Ghost Story, a story you know, or one chosen from the stories available at the sites listed in Websites in the Resources section. To support English language learners, use La Llorona: The Weeping Woman, An Hispanic Legend Told in Spanish and English by Joe Hayes or a similar bilingual ghost story.

  • Choose an epic to read following this activity, either one from your text or one linked either in the Websites listed in the Resources section or Wikipedia's list of world folk-epics.

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