“The Hero’s Journey”: Using a Graphic Organizer to Deconstruct Percy Jackson’s Hero’s Journey and Plan a New Hero’s Journey Narrative | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M1:U3:L1

“The Hero’s Journey”: Using a Graphic Organizer to Deconstruct Percy Jackson’s Hero’s Journey and Plan a New Hero’s Journey Narrative

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can describe how the plot evolves throughout a literary text. (RL.6.3)
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense:

    a. I can establish a context for my narrative. (W.6.3)

    c. I can organize events in a logical sequence. (W.6.3)

  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about sixth- grade topics, texts, and issues. (SL.6.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use "The Hero's Journey" to describe how Percy Jackson's adventures in The Lightning Thief follow the hero's journey archetype.
  • I can use the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer to begin to plan my own hero's journey narrative.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer (completed with Percy Jackson's hero's journey)
  • Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer (completed with ideas for students' own hero's journey narrative)


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A.  Launching Independent Reading (10 minutes)

B.  Unpacking the Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Revisiting "The Hero's Journey" from Unit 1 through the Lens of Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief (20 minutes)

B.  Brainstorming: "My Hero's Journey" (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket: "Hero Profile" (3 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Continue working on the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer with ideas for your own hero's journey narrative.
Independent reading.

  • For homework in Lesson 20 of Unit 2, students were asked to consider how Percy Jackson is a hero in The Lightning Thief. As a result, they come into this first lesson of Unit 3 thinking about Percy Jackson as a hero. This sets them up to revisit "The Hero's Journey" informational text from Unit 1 and to deconstruct Percy's hero's journey using a graphic organizer. Students are then introduced to writing their own hero's journey narrative, using the same graphic organizer to help plan it.
  • Although students are not actually writing stories in this lesson, it still addresses W.6.3 because they begin to plan the hero character, context, and events in their narrative.
  • At the beginning of this lesson, independent reading is launched. This is designed to build on and enhance the existing program at your school. The launch of independent reading in Module 1 is intentionally somewhat "soft." Module 2A includes more explicit instruction related to RL.6.11.
  • In Advance: Set up books to launch independent reading.
  • Post: Learning targets, directions from Opening Part A.


hero's journey, archetype, narrative



  • Texts for independent reading
  • Selecting and Evaluating Books anchor chart (new; teacher-created)
  • "The Hero's Journey" text (from Unit 1, Lesson 8; one per student)
  • Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer (two per student and one for display)
  • Exit Ticket: Hero's Profile (one per student)
  • Triad Talk Expectations anchor chart (from Unit 1, Lesson 2)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Launching Independent Reading (10 minutes)

  • Tell students that now that they have finished The Lightning Thief novel, it is important to continue to read independently every evening because reading makes them smarter. Reading regularly builds vocabulary and makes them a better reader and writer. And it's fun!
  • Tell them it is important to choose texts for independent reading carefully. If they make poor choices, reading won't be as enjoyable as it should be. Tell students that anyone, even really smart people, may struggle to read books that they aren't interested in. Choosing the right book gives students the best chance of enjoying the reading experience and getting a lot out of the book.
  • Point out the books that you have set out around the room. Tell the class that some of these books are linked to Greek mythology and the content of The Lightning Thief and will help them build more knowledge about the topic. Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "So you can see some books around the room. How do you think you might decide which ones you might enjoy reading?"

* "How do you think adults decide what to read?"

  • Record students' ideas on the new Selecting and Evaluating Books anchor chart. This is a good opportunity to share with the class how you make book choices. Some suggestions:

* You have read books by the same author and enjoyed them.

* You read an interesting review of the book that made you want to read it.

* Someone with similar taste in reading recommended the book to you.

* You watched the movie and really enjoyed it, so now you want to read the book.

* The book's cover captured your attention.

* The book's title made you want to read it.

* You read the blurb and decided to read the book.

* The book's first couple of pages made you want to read more.

  • Post directions:

1. Circulate to look at the books set out.

2. When you have found a book you think is intriguing, pick it up and carry it with you as you look at 
 other books.

3. If you find another book you would prefer, put your original book down and pick the new one up.

  • For students who struggle with following multiple-step directions, consider displaying these directions using a document camera or interactive white board. Another option is to type up the instructions for students to have in hand.


B. Unpacking the Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Refer to the posted learning targets. Invite students to read them with you:

*   "I can use "The Hero's Journey" to describe how Percy Jackson's adventures in The Lightning Thief follow the hero's journey archetype."

*   "I can use the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer to begin to plan my own hero's journey narrative."

  • Ask:

*   "We discussed this a lot in Units 1 and 2, but remind me, what does archetype mean?"

*   "So, why is the hero's journey considered an archetype?"

*   "What is a narrative?"

*   "So what do you think you are going to be doing today based on these learning targets?"

  • Call on a few volunteers to share their suggestions.
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. They also provide a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Revisiting "The Hero's Journey" from Unit 1 through the Lens of Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief (20 minutes)

  • Invite students to pair up. Ask them to share the evidence they collected from The Lightning Thief related to the homework question:

*   "How is Percy a hero?"

  • Select volunteers to share their evidence with the rest of the group.
  • Ask students to remain in their pairs and to take out "The Hero's Journey" text from Unit 1. Ask them to silently reread "Act 1: Separation."
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "So what is the call to adventure for Percy Jackson?"

*   "What unknown does Percy enter into?"

*   "What supernatural gift is Percy given before he begins his adventure?"

  • Invite the class to silently reread "Act 2: Initiation and Transformation."
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "Who are Percy's helpers?"

*   "What obstacles does Percy face on his Road of Trials?"

*   "What is the supreme ordeal that Percy faces?"

  • Ask students to silently reread "Act 3: The Return." Remind them that the purpose of this reading is to activate their prior knowledge. They've read this article several times, so skimming it this time is all that is necessary.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "What trials does Percy face on the way home?"

*   "Who does Percy have to face who has incredible power?"

*   "How does being a hero change Percy's life when he returns?"

  • Display and distribute the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer. Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "What do you notice?"

*    "What do you wonder?"

  • Invite students to compare "The Hero's Journey" to the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer. Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "What are the similarities and differences between "The Hero's Journey" and the Narrative Story Line--
 Hero's Journey graphic organizer?"

  • Listen for: "Many of the steps are the same."
  • Direct students' attention to the rising line for the "road of trials." Ask:

*   "Why do you think the line rises like this?"

  • Direct their attention to the relative lengths of the "road of trials" and "the return." Ask:

*   "Why do you think these two parts of the narrative story line are such different lengths?"

  • In asking these questions, you are trying to help students understand story structure. The "road of trials" rises because this is the "rising action" of the story, where suspense is built. This section of the narrative story line is relatively longer than the "return" because this part of the actual story is longer and comprises the majority of the writing.
  • Focus on the "Character in an ordinary world" box. Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "So who is the character in an ordinary world who becomes a hero in The Lightning Thief?"

  • Listen for: "Percy Jackson." Record "Percy Jackson" on the displayed Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer. Invite students to do the same on their organizers.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

*   "What do we know about Percy? How old is he? Which grade of school is he in at the beginning of the story?"

  • Record notes about Percy on the displayed graphic organizer and invite students to do the same on their graphic organizers.
  • Tell students that now they have done the first few rows together, they will work with a partner to complete the rest of the graphic organizer. Give them 5 minutes in pairs to discuss and map out the narrative story line of Percy Jackson's hero's journey. They are to make notes on the organizer about Percy Jackson's hero's journey in the same way you just did whole group with the first step.
  • Invite students to pair up with someone else to share their notes.
  • Consider partnering ELLs who speak the same home language when discussion of complex content is required. This can allow students to have more meaningful discussions and clarify points in their native language.
  • For ELLs, consider providing extended time for tasks and answering questions in class discussions. ELLs receive extended time as an accommodation on NY state assessments.
  • Many students will benefit from seeing questions posted on an interactive white board or via a document camera. Reveal questions one at a time to keep students focused on the question at hand.

B. Brainstorming: "My Hero's Journey" (10 minutes)

  • Tell students: Now that they have read a novel about Percy Jackson's hero's journey and have read myths about hero's journeys, they are going to write their own hero's journey narrative following the hero's journey archetype.
  • Explain that they are going to use the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer, which they just used to map out Percy Jackson's hero's journey, to begin mapping out a hero's journey story of their own. Tell them that they are going to be able to be creative and make up their own hero character and their own story. This is not to be a story that they already know.
  • Distribute a new Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer to each student. Invite them to spend about 7 minutes independently thinking and making notes about ideas for their own hero's journey story. Be sure students know that they are just brainstorming and planning; they are not to begin actually writing a story yet.
  • Tell them that at this stage, they don't need to fill out the Theme box at the bottom of the organizer. They will discuss this further in the next lesson.
  • Circulate to ask questions to guide students:

*   "Who is your character?"

*   "What is the call to adventure for your hero? How does your hero find out that he or she needs to go on a quest?"

*   "What is the quest? What has he or she been asked to do?"

*   "Who does your hero go on the journey with?"

*   "Where do they go?"

*   "What obstacles do they encounter?"

*   "What is the supreme ordeal? What is the big obstacle that your hero has to overcome at the end of the journey?"

*   "What happens at the end? How is peace restored?"

  • Refocus students whole group. Invite them to pair up to share their initial ideas for a hero's journey. Explain again that these are just initial ideas and that students will be building on them for homework and throughout the rest of the unit.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Exit Ticket: "Hero Profile" (3 minutes)

  • Distribute Exit Ticket: Hero Profile. Tell students that this exit ticket will help them think more about who their hero is.
  • Give students a few minutes to complete their exit ticket. Tell them that it is fine if they don't finish the exit ticket today; this is just to get their ideas going.
  • Collect and review the exit tickets to assess where students may need extra support in thinking about their hero.
  • Using exit tickets allows you to quickly check for understanding of the learning target so that instruction can be adjusted or tailored to students' needs during the lesson or before the next lesson.


  • Continue working on the Narrative Story Line--Hero's Journey graphic organizer with ideas for your own narrative that follows the hero's journey archetype. Don't fill out the Theme box at the bottom of the organizer; we will discuss this more in the next lesson.
  • Independent reading.

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