School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 7

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Advanced/Gifted and Talented: An advanced/gifted and talented tool is an idea for a complex, multi-step instructional task that requires students to apply knowledge and skills of multiple objectives that support one indicator. Tasks require students to interpret, analyze, and evaluate text at an appropriate level of complexity and embed a variety of differentiation strategies to challenge advanced readers. Many of these strategies and activities can be adapted for use with all students.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 8. Read critically to evaluate literary texts

Objective b. Analyze the extent to which the text contains ambiguities, subtleties, or contradictions

Other Objectives Addressed

d.Analyze the relationship between the structure and the purpose of the text

Instructional Task

Students will read critically to evaluate literary texts using the archetypal approach of the Hero’s Journey. Students will participate in a Socratic seminar in which they synthesize ideas to answer the question, “How does an author’s use of archetype create a powerful and timeless experience for the reader?”

Development of Task

  1. The teacher will introduce the essential question: “Have you ever read a story that seemed familiar, like others you have heard or read, but you weren’t exactly sure how or why?”
  2. The teacher will introduce the term archetypes as universal symbols, images, characters, and patterns that evoke a similar response in all people. The Hero’s Journey is one archetypal pattern that can be used to analyze and evaluate literary texts.
  3. Using the students’ typical school day as an example, the teacher will model the settings, characters, and events that fit into the three stages of the Hero’s Journey.

    The Hero’s Journey
    Stage Definition Example
    Separation The Hero (protagonist) must leave the ordinary world where he or she is comfortable. A Mentor (guide or wise elder) often presents the Hero with the goal or quest. The Hero often doesn’t want to go on the quest, and something happens to force the departure. The students get up at home in the morning and get ready for school. Sometimes they don’t want to go, and their parents (Mentors) push them out on the journey.
    Initiation The Hero enters the new world, a different and strange place, often filled with unusual creatures and settings. The “rules” are different than anything the Hero has ever known. The Hero faces challenges and meets new people. Threshold Guardians (characters the Hero must outsmart or overcome) constantly test the Hero. Tricksters (comical characters) keep the story moving. The Mentor leaves the Hero during this stage, forcing the Hero to face challenges alone. The Hero must face death and great fear. At the end of the initiation, the Hero must face the greatest challenge, usually a Shadow (antagonist or villain). The students move through their day facing challenges and interacting with various character archetypes. Teachers may be Threshold Guardians or Mentors, friends may prove to be Tricksters, a bully may be a Shadow, but at the end of the day, the students have learned and changed.
    Return The Hero must say farewell to the people and places of the journey, and find a way to return home. The Hero comes back to the original, ordinary world, changed by the things seen and done during the initiation. The Hero uses the courage and knowledge gained during the journey to make the world a better place. The students return home. They are filled with new knowledge and experiences to share with their families.
  4. As practice, students will apply the framework of The Hero’s Journey to a text previously read that has this structure, such as Greek or Roman myths or Arthurian legends. Students will use The Hero’s Journey chart to identify characters and events in the plot of the text that correspond to each stage. Students should also note any archetypal characters and events that were not present.
  5. The teacher will select a text of an appropriate level of complexity structured using the three stages of The Hero’s Journey, such as The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway or The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  6. Before reading, the teacher will introduce the Socratic seminar question: “How does an author’s use of archetype create a powerful and timeless experience for the reader?”
  7. During reading, the students will use The Hero’s Journey chart to identify characters and events in the plot of the text that correspond to each stage. Students should also note any archetypal characters and events omitted by the author.
  8. After reading, students will participate in a Socratic seminar (auditory learning style). To prepare for the discussion, students will write responses to the following questions:

    • What seems to be the author’s purpose for writing this text?
    • How did the author’s use of the archetype of the Hero’s Journey help achieve this purpose? (objective d)
    • What elements of the archetype of the Hero’s Journey were not present or not fully developed in the text? How would the story change if these elements were fully developed? (objective b)
    • Explain how knowledge of the Hero’s Journey can aid in understanding a variety of literary texts. (Learning to recognize literary archetypes not only aids in understanding the characters and predicting the events of a text, but in recognizing how one’s own experience relates to the text and to the experiences of individuals in other times and places)
    • How does an author’s use of the archetype of the Hero’s Journey create a powerful and timeless text?
/toolkit/vsc/advanced/reading/grade7/3A8b.xml
Resources for Objective 3.A.8.b:
Lesson Seeds | Sample Assessments | ADVANCED/G-T |