Lesson of the Day: The Hero’s Journey

If you want to “flip” your classroom, feel free to use the Hero’s Journey Resource Page.

We’re gonna head to the almighty Internet for today’s lesson of the day. I use it to introduce The Odyssey and hearken back to it numerous times during the unit and throughout the year. Let’s get those Common Core standards out of the way, so your administrator will know how awesome you are (I assume since you’re reading this that your students already think you’re awesome).

  • RL 9-12.2 – Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RL 9-12.3 – Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Ted TV has an excellent video for this lesson.

Show the above video. You could do it in class or you could “flip” the classroom and have students do it at home. Don’t do traditional notes with this one. The explanation of the monomyth and the hero’s journey uses a clock as the structural focus. Just have students draw a clock—even the most artistically challenged among us can draw a circle, label it, and take notes. Labeling the clock with definitions of each stage of the journey is sufficient.

Enjoy a good class discussion.

If you’d like to employ some Speaking and Listening standards, check out this post and rubric for class discussions.

The key in practicing the standards listed above is relating the notes to movies, books, and TV shows students are familiar with. There’s millions of them. That’s it.

I like to throw a matching quiz in at the end of the week. Something that simply requires them to recreate the circle is sufficient.

Let’s extend the lesson.

Here’s a chance to employ some writing standards.

  • W 9-12.3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation.
  • W 9-12.3d – Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
  • W 91-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

This can be done in the computer lab or done at home. It makes a good “flipped” classroom assignment, insomuch that students are doing the basic outline at home and writing a narrative in class where they have your expertise and guidance available. If using the “flipped” model, you may wish to combine both assignments in this lesson of the day.

  1. Go to the Read, Write, Think website. Follow the instructions. Do the activity twice, once using an already known story and once using a student-created story. Be sure to note that although the Read, Write, Think site links are arranged in a circle, it does not specifically follow the clock pattern outlined in the TEdTV video.
  2. Print.
  3. Use the printout of the student-created story as an outline for the narrative they will write in class.


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