Lyon College Pathwise Lesson Plan Model
Student Teacher: Codi Ribitzki__________ Subject: _English________________
Topic: ____Epic Poetry ________________ Grade Level __9_________________
Date: __March 30, 2010___ _____________ Number of Students: _19, + or -____
Set/Introduction: How will you state objective, focus learning, activate background experiences, and
motivate students? What is the relationship to past and future learning and how does this lesson fit within
I will verbally instruct students of the day's objective: the students will be able to apply the definition of epic poetry to
identifying examples of epic poetry in preparation for reading an epic poem. The students all know examples of epic
poetry, regardless of whether or not they know these things to be epics. I will activate these background experiences
by asking students to brainstorm stories they know that fit the pattern of an epic. Bell work will also be a simple
question: What do the following movies have in common: O Brother Where Art Thou, etc.?
The frameworks specifically call for reading a work of classical world literature, and we're reading The Odyssey. This
lesson is an introduction to that reading. Previously, students have been studying the Greek gods, also in
preparation for reading The Odyssey.
What are your objectives for student learning in this lesson? That is, what do you intend students to
Students will be able to apply the definition and characteristics of epic poetry in identifying works of literature
classified as epics.
Students will also understand how the Greek oral tradition affects the structure of epic poetry.
Students will collaborate in groups efficiently and respectfully.
Why have you chosen these objectives? Do objectives take into account diverse and individualized
These objectives take into account my goal for this lesson: I was students to understand what epic poetry
is before we read it, and I want them to understand why The Odyssey is an epic.
Group work is also an essential skill in today's society; practicing group work is always helpful to students.
Group work will also support students who may not have the background knowledge necessary for this
lesson; most students will know examples of epics, so their supplementation of information will build
background knowledge for students who don't already possess it.
Arkansas State Frameworks Addressed: Include codes and expectations.
R.10.9.3 - Read a variety of narrative poetry, including ballad and epic
R.10.9.5 - Identify the characteristics of narrative poetry
What materials are required? Why these materials? Do you plan to utilize them in a meaningful way to
reinforce skills & concepts?
Students will need:
-epic hero cycle worksheet, from edsitement
I will need:
document containing bellwork prompt and definition of epic poetry
lesson plan, courtesy of edsitement,
Index cards for exit card activity
Grouping for instruction:
How will you group students for instruction? Why have you chosen this grouping?
Students will work both as a whole class and in table groups. Whole class instruction will be beneficial in
learning the characteristics of epic poetry, and small group instruction will be helpful as the students apply
their new knowledge to stories they know. The small groups will also provide more support for struggling
Why these methods? How are you extending students’ thinking? Are you incorporating technology into this lesson?
Today, the only technology I'll be using is the projector.
At the end of the lesson, I'll be asking students to analyze stories they know that they think fit the epic
hero cycle, which will activate the students' critical thinking skills.
Instruction will take the form of direct instruction and both small and large group discussion. Direct
instruction seems to be the best way to quickly give students foundational knowledge, and discussion
seems to be the best way to apply the information gained through direct instruction.
Why these activities? How do they connect with the learning objective/outcome?
1. 5 min- Bell Work: “What do the following movies/stories have in common:O Brother Where Art
Thou, Gulliver's Travels, and The Wizard of Oz? (discuss answers)
2. 1 min- State objective: Today, we will learn what an epic poem is and how to apply these
characteristics to identify epics we've read or seen.
3. 55 min- Activity 1- What are the elements of an epic poem?
1. 5 min- Go over definition and characteristics of “epic poem”
2. 3-5 min- Brainstorm stories we know (literature or movies) that fit this
3. 1 min- Add classics like Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey, the Aeneid, and Beowulf and
make sure modern series like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter are on the list.
4. 1 min- Pass out Epic Hero Cycle chart
5. 10 min- Have students fill out the chart in small groups for a story they're familiar with.
6. 15 min- Have students share charts with the rest of the class. Discussion questions:
1. Are there patterns in the answers?
2. Is the hero a remote figure, or is he someone the reader/viewer can identify with?
3. Can students identify the ways in which the behavior of the epic hero might be teaching
the reader a lesson, or presenting a lesson for him to follow?
4. What is the hero's relationship with his homeland
7. 5 min- Introduce elements of epic poetry like the invocation, epithets
8. 15 min- Read aloud (me or students) the first paragraphs of The epic of Gilgamesh and The
Iliad. Have students identify both the epithets and the invocation in the first paragraphs of each
story. Also discuss the connection of the hero with his homeland, if evident.
4. Activity 2- Pass it on!
1. 2 min- Explain to students that epic poetry often has its roots in oral, rather than literate,
tradition. These stories were originally passed on by bards, or professional poets who made their
living by singing folk tales and epic poems to audiences. While the details of the poem shifted
from one storytelling to the next, the most important elements of the story always remained the
2. 5 min- Divide students into table groups. Have them create working definitions of “oral
tradition” and “literate tradition.”
3. 5 min- Ask students to imagine some of the problems related to telling stories orally rather than
writing them down. Ask them to imagine memorizing a novel, which they would then retell.
Without having anything to look at, could you tell the story exactly the same each time? With so
many details and thousands of words to remember, how was it possible for the bards to
memorize thousands of verses of poetry?
4. 10 min- Ask each group to choose a fable, fairy tale, or story they all know. Ask them to
identify a list of characters, important events, and important objects in the story. For example, a
list of elements in Cinderella would probably include Cinderella, the wicked stepmother, the two
stepsisters, the prince, the fairy godmother, the glass slippers, the pumpkin-coach, her
banishment from the ball, her running away at midnight and losing a slipper, and her foot fitting in
the glass slipper.
5. 5 min- Have groups compare their story elements. What similarities are there?
6. 2 min- These elements act like memory markers in the telling of the story, helping the teller to
remember how the story unfolds. Breaking the story down into more easily memorized smaller
pieces of narrative, and then memorizing the order of these pieces is a mnemonic device
storytellers have used since ancient Greece. If the storyteller can remember the markers, he can
then elaborate and expand the details for specific audiences, making the telling more personal for
5. Exit cards- students must write a definition of epic poetry and give at least one example of a
traditional epic poem.
What students need specific accommodations in this lesson? What specific accommodations have you
made for these student needs?
This class is an honors class, so there aren't any specific accommodations for this class.
How will you bring closure to your lesson and review and restate your objective?
Objectives will be reaffirmed by the exit card question.
How and when do you plan to evaluate student learning on the content of this lesson?
Student learning will be evaluated by their responses on the exit cards. If these cards don't show
comprehension, we will review epic poetry in the next class.
Why have you chosen this approach to evaluation?
The lesson takes the whole period, and this is a quick and disguised form of formal assessment.
How is your evaluation tied to your lesson objective?
The exit question is basically the objective in question form.
What (if any) documentation will you use? Attach a sample/copy to the lesson plan.
Epic. An extended narrative poem recounting actions, travels, adventures, and
heroic episodes and written in a high style (with ennobled diction, for example). It
may be written in hexameter verse, especially dactylic hexameter, and it may have
twelve books or twenty four books. Characteristics of the classical epic include
The main character or protagonist is heroically larger than life, often the source and
subject of legend or a national hero
The deeds of the hero are presented without favoritism, revealing his failings as well
as his virtues
The action, often in battle, reveals the more-than-human strength of the heroes as
they engage in acts of heroism and courage
The setting covers several nations, the whole world, or even the universe
The episodes, even though they may be fictional, provide an explanation for some of
the circumstances or events in the history of a nation or people
The gods and lesser divinities play an active role in the outcome of actions
All of the various adventures form an organic whole, where each event relates in
some way to the central theme
Typical in epics is a set of conventions (or epic machinery). Among them are these:
Poem begins with a statement of the theme ("Arms and the man I sing")
Invocation to the muse or other deity ("Sing, goddess, of the wrath of Achilles")
Story begins in medias res (in the middle of things)
Catalogs (of participants on each side, ships, sacrifices)
Histories and descriptions of significant items (who made a sword or shield, how it
was decorated, who owned it from generation to generation)
Epic simile (a long simile where the image becomes an object of art in its own right
as well as serving to clarify the subject).
Frequent use of epithets ("Aeneas the true"; "rosy-fingered Dawn"; "tall-masted
Use of patronymics (calling son by father's name): "Anchises' son"
Long, formal speeches by important characters
Journey to the underworld
Use of the number three (attempts are made three times, etc.)
Previous episodes in the story are later recounted
Homer, Iliad Homer, Odyssey Virgil, Aeneid
Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered Milton, Paradise Lost
Self-evaluation and Reflection after teaching
(Due within 24 hours of teaching lesson. Please be specific.)
1. Did you depart from your plans in any way? If so, why?
I skipped a few points here and there just because I was trying to avoid too much reading from my lesson
plan. I also finished faster than I'd anticipated, so Mrs. F and I threw in a practice activity to review the
students over their past learning about Greek gods.
2. If you were going to teach this class again to the same group of students, what would you do
differently and what would you do the same? Why?
I'd keep most of this lesson the same because I think it went really well. I did ask questions of Mrs. F and
Dr. Boling at one point, so I think, in the future, I'd have those answers prepared or have a means of
obtaining my answers quickly but by alternate methods. I also didn't particularly like the Gilgamesh
passage. I'd choose differently next time, but I don't necessarily think it detracted too much from my
3. Identify an individual or group of students who had difficulty in today's lesson. How do you
account for this performance? How will/would you help this (these) student(s) achieve the
Marie had a little difficulty with the fairy tale part of the lesson because she just didn't know them, but
that's not her fault. I don't really think remediation is necessary unless she wants to read some fairy tales;
she understood my point without having the background knowledge I wanted to access.
4. Identify an individual or group of students who did especially well with this lesson today. How do
you account for this performance?
Kendrick really seemed to enjoy today's lesson more than normal. I think part of that is he really seems
to enjoy Greek mythology... and opportunities to show off his knowledge. I think actually calling on him
when he raised his hand made a huge difference in his engagement. I came to this conclusion because
he's always so disappointed when he doesn't get called on, and I've observed his engagement just
disappear after he's passed over. Today was an experiment with how he'd behave if I called on him,
even if his methods (pretending to be a game show buzzer) were a little unorthodox.
5. Please add any other comments, reactions, or questions about this lesson. For example, is there
anything that you felt particularly good, frustrated, or confused about?
I really just had fun today. Every time I teach, I'm impressed with how much I don't know. I always try to
present this to the students as a neutral thing-- it's ok for people to not know everything. I also try and
turn my moments of unpreparedness into moments where the students can teach me. Today I just
realized that I have a lot of reading to do to be on the same page as my students. I need to catch up so I
can make my lessons relevant.
The exit cards revealed topical understanding; the students understand what an epic poem is,
and they're ready to move forward to reading The Odyssey.