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English 7 – The Hero’s Journey Through Short Stories

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This quarter, the 7th graders were introduced to the hero’s journey through short stories. In small groups, students recalled their previous knowledge about short stories, made a poster, and shared it with the class.

Students were then given copies of two hand-selected short stories that reflected a particular heroic archetype (hero as a lover, anti-hero, hero as a warrior, etc.), and asked to Think Pair Share about what both texts had in common. From this, students learned about the different types of heroic archetypes.

This lesson segued to students learning about the 12 stages of the hero’s journey through a video about a hero going through the 12-stages. Short story packets where distributed and students identified the 12 stages in storyboard sheets using the story “Rikki Tikki Tavi” followed by a class discussion. Using what they’ve learned, students made a 12-stage storyboard using “Thank You, Ma’am.”

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For their oral presentation, students were split into groups of 2-4 and were assigned one of the next three short stories: “By the Waters of Babylon,” “Marigolds,” or “The Interlopers.” They had to create a presentation which consisted of the following:

  1. Summary of the story
  2. Stages of the hero’s journey
  3. Any missing stages
  4. An evaluation of the story in terms of the hero’s journey and the pros and cons of the story

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For the next four remaining stories: “Cranes,” “A Sound of Thunder,” “Initiation,” and “The Most Dangerous Game”), students read and selected their favourite story to write a review essay on.

Lastly, the unit ended with an activity where students had an opportunity to interact with kindergartners. The EY (Early Years) buddies activity consisted of 7th graders pairing up with kindergartners and learning about the hero’s journey. In the storybook activity, each 7th grader interviewed his/her kinder buddy and made a storybook outlining the 12 stages of the hero’s journey based on the story of the kindergartner (the hero). The 7th graders then read their finalized storybooks to their buddies.

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Some storybook samples:

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