Odyssey Lesson Plan



I.     Title of Lesson: The Odyssey

II.   Grade Level: 9th English

III.         Michigan Curriculum Framework:
ELA.HS.3.3 Read and write fluently, speak confidently, listen and interact appropriately, view critically, and represent creatively.  Examples include speaking publicly, demonstrating teamwork skills, debating formally, performing literature, and interviewing for employment.

ELA.HS.5.2 Describe and discuss archetypal human experiences that appear in literature and other texts from around the world.

ELA.HS.5.5 Analyze and evaluate the authenticity of the portrayal of various societies and cultures in literature and other text.

IV. Lesson Objectives:
Students will read selections from “The Odyssey” and demonstrate understanding by providing clear and succinct summaries of the days reading.

V.   Materials Needed:
Literature books
Epic Packet (Odyssey selections from previous Lit. book edition)

VI. Anticipatory Set/Aim:

                  Vocab packs 5 & 6 (15 minutes to work on them Mondays and Tuesdays; checked on Wednesday; charades or hangman Thursday, and test on Fridays).


VII.       Instructional Input:


Read selections from the book and sum periodically.  Have final summary done by students.


Day 1: The beginning.  Odysseus is telling his story to the Phaeacians beginning with the Cicones (1st stop after Troy—lots of pillaging and plundering and murder.  72 men die—3 hurrahs for each man.  Good spot for student interaction—have the class do 3 hurrahs for each student to demonstrate how long that would take) and ending with the Lotus Eaters (Lotus flowers are like a drug and make Odysseus’ men want to stay and forget about making it home to Ithaca.  Odysseus fetches his men and tie them to the ship so they can’t jump overboard or cause problems until the effects have worn off.)


Day 2: The Cyclopes.  After the previous two disasters, Odysseus only takes about a dozen men to explore the land.  End up trapped by Polyphemus, Poisedon’s son.  Polyphemus eats 3-5 of Odysseus men at a time.  Odysseus and his remaining men eventually escape by getting Polyphemus drunk, blinding him, and hiding under rams until they can get out of the cave.


Day 3: More Polyphemus, and some more problems.  After Odysseus and his men make it on board and off the coast Odysseus taunts Polyphemus.  It is at this point that Polyphemus asks his father Poisedon to keep Odysseus from making it home to Ithaca.  If he can’t keep him from making it home at least let it be many years from now, under a strange sail, and along (from the beginning we know this is what happens).  After Polyphemus, they meet King Aeolus (keeper of winds) who gives Odysseus a bag of winds with the instructions not to open it until they reach Ithaca safely.  (This is all found in blue italics in book).  They never make it to Ithaca because Odysseus’ men open the bag early.  Then the Laestrygonians (cannibals) kill everyone but Odysseus and 45 of his men.  Next they land on Circe’s island where half of Odysseus’ men are turned into pigs.


Day 4: Odysseus rescues his men and they all spend a year on Circe’s island.  Before they can leave she sends them to the land of the dead to talk to the blind prophet Tireseus about the safest passage home.  While down there, Odysseus finds out one of his men died after getting drunk and falling off a roof at Circe’s and Odysseus’ mother died of grief waiting for him to return home.  The prophet tells Odysseus to look out for sirens, Charybdis and Scylla, and Helios’ cattle. (LotD in packet)


Day 5:  Back to Circe for advice and relaxation before heading out.  She tells Odysseus to put wax in his men’s ears and tie himself to the mast so he can hear the sirens. After that Scylla is going to eat 6 of your men—it’s unavoidable and preferable to Charybdis (whirling vortex) because she’ll destroy everyone and everything that she swallows.  Then she tells him to avoid Helios’ cattle because the sun god is very possessive of his cattle and will seek vengeance.  If his men can’t leave the cattle alone everyone will die.


Day 6: Cattle of the Sun God (packet).  Pretty much exactly how Circe told Odysseus it would happen.  Dead cow flesh crawls and meat moos.  Helios tattles to Zeus who lulls the men into a false feeling of calm in the middle of the sea before destroying everyone except Odysseus and enough of the ship to float on.  He floats past Scylla and Charybdis straight on to Calypso (spends 7 years with her before escaping to the Phaeacians—last stop before home).


Day 7:  Ithaca.  Odysseus arrives under strange sails, alone, and disguised by the goddess Athena as an old beggar man.  He stays with his old swineherd (who does not recognize him) and meets his son Telemachus who is now 20 (last seen as a baby).  They make plans to take out the suitors that have been after Penelope these last several years.


Day 8: Argus (still in packet)—Odysseus’ faithful dog who waited to die until his master made it home.  We find out what Penelope has been up to all this time (holding off suitors by weaving and unweaving a death shroud for Leaertes, Odysseus’ father).  She meets disguised Odysseus and confides this to him.  Destruction of suitors (may have to be continued next day).


Day 9: Sacrificing to the Gods both as thanks and amends as need be.  Review game with any leftover time.



VIII.     An Opportunity to Practice:


a) Guided Practice:

Reading.  Some passages read by students to make sure they can pronounce the names and answer questions about the reading.


b) Independent Practice (Assessment):

After Cyclopes each student will write 3 diary entries—one per stop up to that point (Cicones, lotus eaters, Cyclopes).  About ½ page each entry.  Told from Odysseus’ point of view or from the eyes of one of his men.  This will be about the 3rd day of reading.

Around day 6 (before making it back to Ithaca) have students do Odysseus Facebook Profile (see next lesson plan for details)


IX. Closure:


                  At the end of each day have students summarize the reading.  Where are the men? How many men died/are left?  What mistakes did Odysseus or his men make? What did they do right?


X.   Domains:

Cognitive (Bloom’s Taxonomy)

Psychomotor (Kinestetic/Tactile) Vocab Charades/ Hangman


XI. Learning Modes:



Kinestetic/Tactile Vocab Charades/Hangman


XII.       Multiple Intelligences:


Bodily-Kinestetic Vocab Charades/Hangman

Interpersonal Vocab Charades/Hangman


XIII.     Differentiation:

Struggling learners: Constant summing; charades/hangman

Advanced Students: Will be biggest volunteers for summing and will enjoy charades/hangman