English Language Arts Grade 9 Inter-Relationships and Self-Reliance Unit 4 Epic Poetry The Odyssey Homer

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English Language Arts Grade 9 Inter-Relationships and Self-Reliance Unit 9.4 Epic Poetry The Odyssey Homer


Big Ideas/Themes

Focus/Essential Questions

Literary Genre Focus/

Anchor Texts

Linking Texts

Instructional Resources

Narrative Text

Informational Text

Reading, Listening, Viewing

Strategies and Activities

Writing, Speaking, Expressing

Strategies and Activities

On-Going Literacy Development



Grade 9 Disposition

Inter-Relationships and

Big Ideas

  • life’s journey

  • courage

  • effects of war

  • loyalty

  • fate versus free will

  • sacrifice

  • survival

  • homecoming


  • Odysseus is a symbol of every man.

  • Relationships sustain us.

  • Journeys provide new perspectives on life.

  • War affects the mind, body and soul of humanity.

Focus Questions

  • What is an epic poem, and how does it differ from other kinds of poetry or storytelling?

  • What is it about The Odyssey that has captivated readers for almost 3,000 years?

  • What does it means to be a hero?

  • Why does Odysseus long so powerfully to go home?

  • What role does hope play in survival?

  • In times of adversity, how do family bonds/relationships help us survive?

  • How do relationships endure over time?

  • What role does obligation play in relationships?

  • What is the role of fate vs. free will in our lives?

  • What role does suffering play in our lives?

  • What sacrifices are people willing to make for others?

Essential Questions

    • Who am I?

    • How do I relate to my family, my community, and society?

    • How do I build networks of people to support me?

    • How am I a reflection of my relationships?

    • What can I contribute as an individual?

    • What is my responsibility to society?


I “Epic poems are more than simply a lengthy story told in poetic form, and their ability to remain accessible, relevant, and remembered over time owes a significant debt to their roots in an oral tradition and to their cyclical pattern of events.”

Joseph Campbell
II "...Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die."
Excerpt from Tennyson's Ulysses
III “The Odyssey is not only the story of a national hero but also the universal story of every human being. Each of us, like Odysseus, spends many years trying to reach his own personal land of joy and peace. Like him, we must achieve that land by testing ourselves against all the temptations and obstacles in life. Small wonder that our journey through life is often called our ‘odyssey.’”

Adventures in Reading (p. 516-517) Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

IV “In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to and what I might dare to dream about myself.” Anna Quindlen
V “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

Joseph Campbell

VI “The Odyssey is a portrait

of a hero in trouble. It is marked by a feeling of what might be called “post war disillusionment.”

The Elements of Literature Third Course

Holt, Rinehart & Winston

VII “…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother…

Shakespeare (Henry V,1597)

VIII “According to the ancient Chinese proverb, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

John F. Kennedy

The Odyssey

Book 1

A “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story

Of that man skilled in all ways of contending,

The wanderer, harried for years on end,

After he plundered the stronghold

On the proud height of Troy.”
B "Men are so quick to blame the gods: 
they say that we devise their misery. 
But they themselves - in their depravity - 
design grief greater than 
the griefs the fates assign."


The Odyssey (continued)
Book 9

C “I dwell in shining Ithaca. There is a mountain there,

high Neriton, covered in forests. Many islands

lie around it, very close to each other, Doulichion, Same, and wooded Zacynthos--

but low-lying Ithaca is farthest out to sea, towards the sunset, and the others are apart, towards the dawn and sun. It is rough, but it raises good men.”
D “What shall I say first? What shall I keep until the end?

The gods have tried me in a thousand ways.”

E “I am Laertes’ son, Odysseus,

Formidable for guile in peace and war: This fame has gone abroad to the sky’s rim.”

F “Now, by the gods, I drove my big hand spike

Deep in the embers, charring it again

And cheered my men along with battle talk

To keep their courage up: no quitting now.”

G “But I kept thinking how to win the game: Death sat there huge; how could we slip away?

I drew on all my wits, and ran through tactics,

reasoning as a man will for dear life,

until a trick came-and it pleased me well.”

Book 21

H “Now watch me hit a target that no man has hit before,

If I can make this shot.

Help me Apollo.”

Narrative Text

Epic Poetry

“The Odyssey”, Homer

Book I

Book V


Book XVI -Book XVII


The Odyssey, Translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Books, 1997
On Line Prose Versions

Translated by Samuel Butler

Literary Nonfiction

The Things They Carried Tim O’Brian – Ch 1 Excerpt

Teacher Discretion Advised

Informational Text
Magazine Article
“The Other Battle: coming home” Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor,7-9-03

Magazine Article

Coming Home”

Carolyn Kleiner Butler, Smithsonian magazine, 1-05

World War II Memoir

Sylvia Cooke, Panorama, 8-9-07

News Article

“Veteran Makes Soldier Homecomings a Daily Ritual” ABC News,2-2-07


“Burst of Joy” Photograph

Slava Vader, Associated Press, 3-17-1973


Informational Text (continued)
Photo Essay

“From Troy or Baghdad: Coming home from war”, Boston News

Music Video/Lyrics

8th of November 1965

Big and Rich Video



Music Video

“Coming Home”

Chris Daughtry



Photo Essay

Things They Carry (Afghanistan)Kevin Sites


“Born to Serve, The Michael Murphy story”, News Day, 11-13- 07

Poetry Video

“Facing It”

Vietnam War Veteran
Yusef Komunyakaa




Multimedia Presentation

Student Exemplar Video


Image and Student Poem



Video clips from The Odyssey, Clash of the Titans, Troy, Beowulf, Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Harry Potter, Star Wars

Narrative Texts


“The Makers”

Howard Nemerov








“An Ancient Gesture”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

“Siren Song”

Read by Margaret Atwood http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=98



Alfred Lord Tennyson

Song Lyrics


Suzanne Vega



Troy-Wooden Horse

Sirens-Book XII

The Return of Odysseus

Teacher Instructional Resources


Homer’s Odyssey as Epic Poetry-Joseph Campbell


Timeless Myths Webquest

“Using Metaphor to Deepen Comprehension” Chapter 2, p. 17-19, Chapter 7

Deeper Reading

Kelly Gallagher

Student Handout

Speech Outline Notes

Tools for Thought

Graphic Organizers for Your Classroom

Jim Burke

Odyssey Web Quest


Task 1

Who was Homer?

Task 2

Humans, Gods, & Supernatural Beings

Teacher Instructional Resources
Telemachus Character Sketch

Outline Notes

Main Ideas and details

Paraphrase-Write it in Your Own Words

How Troy connects to the Odyssey

Map of Odysseus’ Journey



Study Guide

Hero’s Journey

Joseph Campbell

Hero’s Journey Graphic Organizer

Adapted Version of Hero’s Cycle

Odysseus as a Classic Greek Hero PPT


Loyalty as Portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey


Teacher Instructional Resources
“Siren Song” Study Guide

Margaret Atwood

Exploring "Ulysses"

Study Guide

Odyssey Vocabulary Webquest

Word Etymology


Object Observation Sheet

“Facing It”

Study Guide

Debate Director

How debate works

Writing an Ode Lesson

High School Research Guide

English/Spanish/(12 Languages)

A+ Research and Writing

Reading a Movie Literature Circle Roles

Hard Rock English-Media Literacy

Jeana Rock

Genre Study

Characteristics of

  • epic poem

Author Study

    • Homer

Epic Poem


  • a long sweeping narrative that recounts the actions, travels, adventures, and heroic deeds of a hero.

  • The Odyssey is a “nostos” epic; it focuses on homecoming rather than on glory


  • to entertain

  • to provoke thought and emotion

  • to present a story about values and beliefs

Characteristics of Epics

  • main character is heroically larger than life, usually of noble birth and stands for the ideals of a nation or race

  • hero survives using his intellect as well as his physical strength

  • journey takes place over a long period of time-many years

  • journey is complicated by supernatural beings or events

  • hero’s larger- than-life heroic qualities and his human weaknesses and unwise actions are both presented

  • setting is vast encompassing the know world, the universe, and sometimes the underworld

  • story is fictional, but may explain some the events in the history of a nation or people

  • gods play an integral role in the outcome of actions

  • themes are timeless, allowing them to be passed through the ages

Epic Poem
Elements of the Epic Hero Cycle

    • hero’s ordinary world

    • call to adventure

    • refusal of the call

    • meeting with the mentor

    • crossing the first threshold

    • test, allies, enemies

    • setbacks/new approach

    • life or death ordeal

    • reward

    • the road back

    • resurrection of hero

    • hero returns home

Epic Conventions

  • poem begins with a statement of the theme

  • invocation to the muse or god

  • story begins in the present and shifts to the past

  • long detailed lists and descriptions of significant items

  • epic simile

  • use of epithets

  • use of patronymics

  • soliloquies

Literary Devices

  • allusion

  • extended metaphor

  • foreshadowing

  • hyperbole

  • imagery

  • omniscient (all knowing) point of view

  • onomatopoeia

  • oxymoron

  • paradox

  • parallelism

  • simile

  • symbolism

Historical/Cultural Perspectives

  • role of the gods in human destiny

  • the value of arête –effectiveness because of intellectual and physical excellence

  • the value placed on xenia – hospitality /obligation

  • effects of war on soldiers and their families

  • understanding human nature

Critical Perspectives

  • connections to self —own perspective on war and its effects

Genre Study

Characteristics of

  • persuasive speech

  • research brief

Persuasive Speech


  • to establish an argument that will move the listener to change his/her opinion or to take action.


    • link to audience

    • speaker credibility

    • thesis statement

    • preview of speech


  • series of supported arguments


  • restatement of thesis

  • restatement of main ideas

  • a clincher

See “Delivering A Persuasive Speech Grade 10,” Ohio Dept. of Education, for detailed description

Research Brief


  • formal written report, includes research findings from experts and a student's own ideas.


  • extended expository essay (8-10)

  • analyzes a perspective

or presents an argument

  • focus of the research is limited and guided by a question

  • the writer’s own interpretation and evaluation of the argument is supported by evidence

  • the report may be informative or persuasive in nature

Research Brief (continued)

  • the information is from multiple perspectives and sources; (2) primary and secondary resources may be cited

  • field literature is paraphrased, summarized and analyzed to develop the writer’s own insight into the information and generate new thinking

  • research is conducted and presented using a standard method of procedure


  • expository text features

Formal Report Components

    • title page

    • outline

    • preface

    • extended expository essay (4 pages)

    • bibliography

    • student evaluation

Expository Elements

  • thesis

  • supporting ideas

  • supporting statistical information

  • supporting expert’s opinion/quotations

Organizational Patterns

  • argumentation/ persuasion

  • compare/contrast

  • theory/evidence

  • problem/solution

  • cause/effect

Historical/Cultural Perspectives

  • effects of war on soldiers and their families

  • understanding human nature

Comprehension Strategies

  • Identify purpose

  • Preview text

  • Understand then analyze and reflect

  • Identify thesis, evidence, structure, style, organization

  • Summarize

  • Ask questions, visualize, make connections, predict, determine importance, infer, synthesize, monitor comprehension

  • Skim for pertinent information

Close and Critical Reading Strategies

  • Use graphic organizers before, during and after reading as a visual means of explaining and organizing information and ideas

  • Use marginalia to describe the author’s craft.

  • Use thinking notes and think aloud strategies.

  • Annotate text.

  • Take and organize notes (Cornell Notes and Double Entry Journals).

  • Determine relevance/importance.

  • Consider potential for bias.

  • Consider perspectives not represented to avoid controversy.

  • Look for evidence to support assumptions and beliefs.

  • Evaluate depth of information.

  • Evaluate validity of facts.

  • Recognize influence of political/social climate when text was written.

Critical Reading Questions

  • What does the text say? (literal)

  • How does it say it? (figurative)

  • What does it mean? (interpretive)

  • Why does it matter? (wisdom/allusion/ connections/relevance)

Reading Goals

  • Learn to read like a writer.

  • Recognize the narrative structure and characteristics of anchor genre through reading mentor text.

  • Construct a clear definition of each genre answering these questions:

- What elements must it contain?

- Why would an author choose this genre?

- What makes it unique from other genre?

- What writing styles are appropriate?

- What is its structure?
Reading Portfolio

  • Maintain reading portfolio to revisit goals, add evidence of progress, reflection and for evaluation purposes.

Graphic Organizers

    • chart

    • matrix

    • Venn diagram

    • T-square

    • KWL(R)

Film Club

-The Hobbit

- Lord of the Rings

- Clash of the Titians

- Troy

- Beowulf

- Return of the King

- Harry Potter

- Star Wars

  • In your club, select a film from the list above. Divide the group in half. One group analyzes the film using the “Hero’s Journey” activity; the other group analyzes media elements using the Reading a Movie activity introduced in Unit 10.1. Compare notes and present one group report that reflects a consensus of views and ideas. Jigsaw with other circles.

Instructional Activities

Narrative Text

    • The poem “The Makers” was read at the White House Millennium Celebration. Why was this poem chosen? After listening to the poem, analyze it using the “Read with a Pencil” activity.

Before Reading The Odyssey

  • Read to answer these questions:

- Why are we reading the epic poem The Odyssey today when it was written almost 3,000 years ago?

- What value does the book hold for the modern teenager?

- What does the book mean in terms of how I think about my myself, my family, my peers, my community, my country and humanity.

Deeper Reading,p.20,157

Kelly Gallagher

    • Analyze the quotation by Joseph Campbell (Epic poems are more than…) answering the four critical reading questions.

Before Reading Activities (continued)

  • Visit The Odyssey Web Quest and complete Task 1 to answer the question: Who was Homer? Make a main idea outline using each slide as a main idea.

    • Complete a KWL(R) about the War of Troy in Greek mythology. Visit the Webquest “Troy” to understand the link between the story of Troy and The Odyssey. Take notes for literature circle discussion.

    • The setting of an epic is vast. View the Map of Odysseus’ Journey to orient yourself.

  • Meet the characters by completing Task 2 of The Odyssey Web Quest in preparation for journal activities.

  • Read the quotation in Book Nine about Odysseus’ home Ithaka (C). View the video reading of the poem “Ithaka.” Analyze the poem. Reflect on what the poem means to you before reading The Odyssey. Revisit the poem at the end of the unit to see if your understanding of the poem has changed.

  • After learning the characteristics of an epic poem and hero’s cycle, generate a class list of familiar stories, such as Lord of the Rings, that follow this similar pattern of action and fit the epic hero cycle.

  • In literature circles, select a story that everyone is familiar with such as, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Iliad, or Beowulf. As a group, give examples to complete the epic hero cycle. Share with other circles.

During Reading

  • Using a study guide, read The Odyssey using critical reading skills and strategies. Examine figurative language and the use of literary devices. See Journal Entries for suggested activities. Engage in conversations in literature circles to deepen your understanding and hear others’ perspectives.

  • Identify the one most important event in each book and explain why it is so important? Explain how the event may have affected the characters or the plot of the story. Write a summary of each book.

During Reading The Odyssey

  • Create a hero’s cycle map to document Odysseus’s heroic journey, in preparation for writing a persuasive essay. Document both his physical and intellectual excellence - arête - (bravery, resourcefulness, wit, cunning, and deceptiveness).

  • Create a matrix to study the characters throughout the journey as they are introduced. Answer the following questions for one character:

- What does the character say or do?

- How does the character exhibit intellectual and physical strength?

- What do others think about the character?

- How does the character look and feel?

- How do you feel about the character?

Write a summary of your character at the journey’s completion.

  • In Book IX, use a two column chart to list Odysseus’s larger than life heroic qualities and his human weaknesses and unwise actions that do not seem to fit the classic Greek hero. Use your chart in a literature circle to focus discussion of Odysseus’s character.

    • In literature circles, complete the Odyssey Vocabulary Webquest activity on Word Etymology

After Reading The Odyssey

  • In literature circles, read the linking texts (Siren Song,” “An Ancient Gesture,” and “Calypso”), about three strong female characters in the story. Analyze the poems and song lyrics, annotating the text.

  • Homer uses the literary device “flashback” to tell the story. Sketch the story’s sequence and explain why he may have used it.

  • Revisit the poem “Ithaca” to see if your understanding of the poem has changed.

  • “Ulysses” by Tennyson is a dramatic monologue based on Homer’s Odysseus. Analyze the poem annotating the text. Many readers think that in the poem, Odysseus is suffering from “post-war disillusionment” and is about to impart on a new voyage.

After Reading Activities (continued)
Others think that he is on his deathbed. Analyze the poem to support both perspectives.

  • Homer passed on lessons about life and human nature that have remained important today. In literature circles, discuss

- What do Odysseus’ s experiences tell us about our own lives and the relationships we have?

- What does Odysseus learn in his adventures and sufferings?

- What role does suffering play in our lives?

  • Write a reflective essay in response to this question: What is it about The Odyssey that has captivated readers for almost 3,000 years? Examine themes, big ideas, characters, suspense, and description.

What value does the book hold for the modern teenager?
Expository Text

Literature Circle, Discussion, and Journal Writing Options

  • Read the lyrics to “Home” and discuss the meaning of the song. Like Odysseus, the soldiers of today and of the past, long to go home. View the music video Coming Home by Chris Daughtry. React to the video in a quick write (short journal entry). Are all homecomings like the ones portrayed?

    • Like Odysseus and his men, soldiers of today face both physical and mental obstacles. They too often suffer post-war effects. In literature circles, read the feature news article “The Other Battle: coming home.” Work with a partner to outline the article. What is the importance of this article? What should you learn from it?

  • Read the opening chapter of the novel, The Things They Carry using critical reading skills. The author highlights not only physical items, but also emotional items. In times of adversity, how do family bonds/ relationships help us survive? How do the items symbolize the soldier’s personality, values, or character?

  • View the Photo Essay “Things They Carry” by Kevin Sites. Compare the items that the soldiers in Vietnam carried to those carried by the soldiers in Afghanistan.

Reading Activities (continued)

  • Use the Objective Observation Sheet to examine the “Burst of Joy” photograph. Following the activity, read the “Coming Home” feature news article by Carolyn Kleiner Butler. What insights did you gain into the homecoming and situation surrounding the photograph? What does the photograph not “say”? What lesson can be learned from this?

  • In literature circles view the photo essay, From Troy or Bagdad: Coming home from War. How does the author’s perspective of this essay support or not support the perspectives in the other news articles that you have read?

  • Read the lyrics to the song “8th of November” to understand the story that is being told. View the music video for this song. Complete a quick write (short journal entry) discussing the similarities between Odysseus and the main character from the song.

  • In literature circles, view the news clip, “Born to Serve, The Michael Murphy Story.” Like Michael Murphy, many people are motivated to devote their lives to serving others. Relate this idea to the larger world. What sacrifices do people make for others?

  • Read and analyze the poem, “Facing It.” View a reading of the poem by a war veteran. Explain how this poem helped him with his struggle to live with his war memories.

  • A student responded to the poem “Facing It” by writing the poem “Memorial”. View her multimedia presentation. Evaluate it using a presentation rubric.

  • Joseph Campbell said that “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Revisit how you defined courage at the beginning of the unit. Have your perspectives been confirmed or changed? If they changed, identify what caused them to change; if not, what confirmed your perspective of belief?

Reading Activities (continued)

  • In literature circle, read the two articles about people making a difference: “A World War II Memoir” by 80- year-old Sylvia Cooke, and Bert Brady’s a “Veteran [who] Makes Soldier and Homecomings a Daily Ritual.” Discuss in your groups what you and people in your community might do to support the soldiers coming home today, in preparation for writing a persuasive speech.

  • In a reflective journal entry, answer the following question: What do the articles and other texts about soldiers and their families that I have just read or viewed, mean in terms of how I think about myself, my family, my peers, my community, my country and humanity?

Deeper Reading,p.20,157

Kelly Gallagher


    • After listening to your classmates’ persuasive speeches,

      • Identify the main idea of the speech

      • Summarize the arguments the speaker used to support his or her opinion

      • Give feedback to the speaker on the speech and presentation

      • State whether the speech was persuasive and support your opinion.

  • Homer passed on lessons about life and human nature that have remained important today. In literature circles, discuss

- What do Odysseus’ experiences tell us about our own lives and the relationships we have?

- What does Odysseus learn in his adventures and sufferings?

- What role does suffering play in our lives?

Writing to Access Prior Knowledge

Unit Goals

    • Review your long term reading and writing goals and set goals for this unit.

    • Based on unit description, identify areas of interest and what you would like to learn in preparation for research brief.

Prior Knowledge Activities

    • Reflect on how you would currently define courage. Revisit this reflection at the end of the unit to see if your perspectives have been confirmed or changed.

  • Write about the importance love, acceptance, understanding, and loyalty in a homecoming you have experienced.

Writing to Learn
Writing Portfolio

  • Maintain writing portfolio to revisit goals, add evidence of progress, reflection and for evaluation purposes.

Writers’ Workshop

Workshop Focus

  • Determine workshop focus based on group and individual needs.

  • Determine writing strategies for direct instruction.

  • Develop persuasive writing techniques.

Unit-Specific Writing Strategies

  • Use the writing process.

  • Use focus correction.

  • Use metaphors in writing.

  • Incorporate quotations as supporting evidence or examples.

  • Use class-generated writing rubrics to evaluate your own writing and the writing of others.

Grammar Focus

  • See Power of Language (Grammar) Module Part II: Grammar Overview for grade-level recommendations.


Vocabulary Development

  • metaphors

  • Classify and compare academic vocabulary (including literary elements, features, and devices)

  • Academic Vocabulary List (Burke)


  • The 30-15-10 List (Gallagher)

Research Skills

  • Outline

  • Locating Sources

- library

- electronic card catalogue

- online databases

- using the Internet

  • Search Strategies

- narrowing the search

- evaluate websites

OWL-Online Writing Lab

Quotation Notebook

  • Record selected quotations in a quotation notebook. Include quotations from the unit and self-selected quotations of personal significance that relate to unit themes and big ideas.

Data Wall

    • Create a data wall using the 7 emotional triggers (flattery, fear, greed, anger, guilt, exclusivity, salvation). Sketch their use in the epic.

    • Create a data wall by making a collage of people’s willingness to serve others in your community.

Journal Entries
The Odyssey

  • Use a Venn diagram or T square to compare a poem to an epic poem.

  • Respond to focus questions using text support in preparation for conversations with your peers. (See Literature Circle, Discussion, and Journal Writing Options in Reading Section.)

  • Paraphrase the character study of Telemachus.

  • Analyze the quotation by Zeus in Book I (B). Describe three or more events providing evidence as to whether they were caused by an act of fate or free will?

  • Classify and compare academic vocabulary (literary elements and, features, and devices) such as the epic simile or metaphor.

  • Write metaphors and extended metaphors of intangible and tangible items found in The Odyssey.

Use the sentence templates

- (Intangible item) is like a (tangible item) because _______


- (Intangible item) is like a (tangible item) because _______

__________________________, __________and _____________.

Deeper Reading, p. 18

  • What qualities do Penelope and Odysseus have in common? What evidence is there in the epic to support your ideas? Use a Venn diagram, T chart, or comparison matrix.

  • Document the acts of loyalty by various characters that helped Odysseus regain his throne in preparation for writing a descriptive essay. (Laertes, Penelope, Eumaeus, his crew, and Eurycleia).

  • Reflect, using the four critical reading questions, on the quotations from Tennyson (II, IV) and the poem “Ithaca” in preparation for writing a reflective essay, identify the common message in all four pieces. What does Ithaca represent?

Expository Text

Journal Options

  • Examine the things you carry each day. What are they? What do they symbolically represent? What might someone learn about you by examining the things you carry?

  • Connect the poem “Facing It” and the song “8th of November” to the quotation by Shakespeare “…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”

  • Write a fictional conversation between two characters from different wars, between a solider and Odysseus or yourself.

Writing to Demonstrate Learning
Portfolio Reflection

  • Write a portfolio reflection using one or more pieces from unit writing. Use the piece(s) to demonstrate your growth as a writer.

Reflective Essay Options

  • Write a reflective essay on how The Odyssey represents the journey of every “man.”

  • Reflect on the sacrifices that soldiers of today and yesterday, and their families, make for others. Use examples from readings.

  • At the conclusion of the unit, reflect on what you have learned about yourself during the unit. Place this piece in you reading portfolio.

Descriptive Essay Options

  • Odysseus has reached a low point of his cycle on Calypso’s Island. Describe the changes in Odysseus’s character from the time he arrives on Calypso’s island, while he lives on the island, and as he is preparing to leave the island. Conclude by reflecting on the role hope plays in Odysseus’s will to survive.

  • Write an essay describing how the loyalty of others played an important role in Odysseus regaining the throne.

Literary Analysis

  • Write a literary analysis of the influences of women in The Odyssey. (Athena, Penelope, Circe, Calypso).

Persuasive Essay Options

  • Write a persuasive essay that supports this thesis: The ancient Greeks placed a high value on arête – the effectiveness of a man or woman because of intellectual and physical excellence. Use Odysseus as an example of a classic Greek hero. Include one or more quotations in each discussion paragraph.

  • Courage has been a big idea in the last two units of study. Write a persuasive essay on your current theory of courage. Draw on the characters Atticus and Odysseus, as well as others you have read about, to support your thesis/theory. Use one or more quotations in each discussion paragraph.

Persuasive Speech Options

  • Write a persuasive speech appealing to one of the gods from the perspective of Odysseus trying to protect his crew.

  • Write a speech to persuade your audience to take action and support our soldiers coming home from the Iraq War. The call to action should include personal letters, tributes, or persuasive editorials and news articles for the school or local newspaper.

Creative Writing (Optional)

  • Create an outline for an epic of a hero of our times. Who would be your hero and why? Develop an outline of your epic which would include modern day adventures highlighting his or her heroic qualities as well as the values of current American society. Share with your peers.


  • Write an ode paying tribute to a character, object, or concept that you read about in the unit.


  • Respond to the unit by writing a research brief that addresses an area of interest that you would like to know about. Make a formal presentation.


  • Give a six- to eight-minute persuasive speech.

  • Debate one of the following topics as a member of a team. Research your position.

- Which had more impact on Odysseus’s life, fate or free will?

- Are athletes heroes?

- If you had been a member of Odysseus’s crew, would you have followed his leadership? Debate the question: Was Odysseus a worthy leader?

The Odyssey Books 9-12

  • Participate in literature circles and book club discussions by asking questions and sharing ideas and perspectives to improve communication skills.

  • Evaluate activities of literature circles or book clubs with peers. Identify group strengths and weaknesses using a rubric. Set goals for next unit.

Student Goal Setting and Self-Evaluation Strategies

  • Maintain writing portfolio

  • Reflect on selected journal entry

  • Reflect on two pieces of unit writing that represent best effort

  • Monitor growth using literacy indicators

- language fluency

- reading complexity

- modes of discourse

  • Evaluate tendency toward dispositions and their appropriate application

Daily Fluency


  • HSTW/ACT recommendations of 8-10 books per year in ELA class; 25 books per year across the curriculum

Reading Portfolio recording reading with three levels of support

    1. texts/literature studied in class (challenging text in zone of proximal development – text students couldn’t read without the help of the teacher); anchor, linking texts, and author/poet study

    2. book club groups reading same text from teacher-selected list (somewhat above comfort level); students choose from list of 5-6 titles that support the unit theme; they read the book outside of class, participate in book club discussions, and write annotated bibliographies and literary response essays

    3. independent reading of student-selected text; reading for pleasure outside of class (at comfort level); students write annotated bibliographies

Reading Strategies

      • Skim text for essential information

      • Think, write, pair, share new texts

      • Time reading to determine time commitment for each text

Vocabulary Development

      • academic vocabulary

      • technical/specialized vocabulary

      • word etymology and variation

      • find current uses in Google News

Writing Strategies

  • process writing

  • language appropriate for purpose and audience

  • revise own writing using proofreading checklist

  • critique own writing for sophisticated sentence structure

  • cite sources using MLA conventions

  • evaluate own writing

(review, revise, edit)

  • note taking

Grammar Skills

  • grammar and rhetoric mini lessons

  • practice skills for ACT/SAT success

  • Elements of dialogue

  • Parts of speech

Grammar Instruction to

  • enrich writing: add detail, style, voice

  • create organizational coherence and flow

  • make writing conventional

Additional MDE Grammar Resource

“Power of Language” Module

(ELA Companion Document)

Part 1

Part 2


ACT College Readiness Standards


Analyze text for

  • Topic Development in Terms of Purpose and Focus

  • Organization, Unity, and Coherence

  • Word Choice in Terms of Style, Tone, Clarity, and Economy

  • Sentence Structure and Formation

  • Conventions of Usage

  • Conventions of Punctuation


Analyze text for

  • Main Ideas and Author’s Approach

  • Supporting Details

  • Sequential, Comparative, and Cause-Effect Relationships

  • Meanings of Words

  • Generalizations and Conclusions


Write text that

  • Expresses Judgments

  • Focuses on the Topic

  • Develops a Position

  • Organizes Ideas

  • Uses Language Effectively

    • conventions (grammar, usage, mechanics)

    • vocabulary (precise, varied)

    • sentence structure variety (vary pace, support meaning)

H igh School ELA Grade 9 Model Unit Planning Chart --- Toolkit curriculum and planning resource. v. 10.08

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