Teaching the Hero's Journey with The Lightning Thief and a Freebie

Do you teach about the Hero's Journey? I bet you use the plot sequence in your classroom on a pretty regular basis, but you may not CALL it the Hero's Journey.  The term is from Joseph Campbell, an American scholar who basically teaches the narrative path that a hero takes on his journey through the story.
Since we are reading The Lightning Thief, which clearly has Percy Jackson as our hero, I started this section of our unit by asking my students to carousel write about what a Hero is.

Then I used this Ted Talk video from Matt Winkler which does a great explanation and visual for your students.
We watched the video several times and drew the clock picture into our Reader's Notebooks.  As we read The Lightning Thief we are identifying which stage  our hero, Percy Jackson, is in on his Hero's Journey.
Next we brainstormed a Journey using Harry Potter as a class.  As a formative, I broke them into triad groups, had them choose their own stories that follow the Hero's Journey theme and create posters.    We looked at Frozen, Despicable Me 2, The Hunger Games, and Iron Man.

I also asked them to present their story as The Hero's Journey.  Many of them brought in props.  The group that did Frozen was very funny.  It was hat day, and one of the girls wore her hat to look like Sven, the moose.
I video taped each groups performance using my IPad, and I'll be using them in the next few months to teach about giving a presentation. 

To continue practice with this narrative, I made a graphic organizer for our 25 Book Challenge.  My students fill these out with information about books they have read and get a parent signature. Our state requires students to read 25 books in the year.  100 pages is a book.  I want to keep this formula fresh in their minds as we work our way through The Lightning Thief.  I'll be ending our novel unit with narrative writing where my Smarties will create their own Hero's Journey.  If you are interested in this graphic organizer you can get it as a FREEBIE  by clicking the picture below.  I would love for you to follow me on Bloglovin as well if you are not already doing so, and leave me a comment and let me know a few books you have read lately that follow the path of the Hero's Journey!


  1. This is a great post, and I have been looking all over for a blank heroes journey graphic organizer so I appreciate you sharing the one you made!

    Happy spring!


  2. Love this! Thanks so much for sharing. We study the Hero's Journey while reading "The Hobbit."

  3. This is exactly what I needed as I sat down today to plan a unit! Thank you!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I will make every effort to respond back to you!

Back to Top