AmericanCommunitySchool at Beirut

Unit Plan

Course Title:English- Nada AbiSamra

Grade Level:9 (Brevet)

Duration of Unit: 8 cycles

 Title of Unit:  The Odyssey


Reading/ literature 

Monitor expository text for unknown words or words with novel meanings by using word, sentence and paragraph clues to determine meaning;

Take responsibility for learning new words in context and teaching them to peers.

Analyze the relationships between characters in the text, including conflicts, motivations, and interactions;

Identify intention, attitude, and bias of authors;

Explain how the background of the author might influence the information and ideas in a text;

Describe a variety of reading strategies and select and use them effectively before, during, and after reading to understand texts;

Locate explicit information and ideas in texts to use in developing opinions and interpretations;

Analyze information, ideas, and elements in texts to make inferences about meaning;

Use specific evidence from a text to support opinions and judgments;

Explain how readers’ different backgrounds might influence the way they understand and interpret a text;

Select significant excerpts from the readings as worthy of further attention;

Explain how authors use stylistic devices, such as simile, metaphor, personification, foreshadowing, hyperbole, irony, rhetorical question, alliteration, assonance, asyndeton, anaphora, climax, parallelism, antithesis, apposition and symbol, to achieve particular effects in their writing;

Understand the epic genre;

Analyze the narrative elements in the epic: point of view, setting, characters, theme, tone and mood, conflict and plot;

Understand the role of art, literature, and mythology in Greek society; how major works of Greek drama and mythology reveal ancient moral values and civic culture; how the arts and literature reflect cultural traditions in ancient Greece.


Communicate a coherent thesis that conveys a clear perspective on a subject and remain consistent throughout the piece of writing (Organization and focus);

Write an essay using evidence in support of a thesis and making distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific facts;

Revise written work independently and collaboratively, with a focus on support for ideas and opinions, accuracy, clarity, and unity;

Edit and proofread to produce final drafts, using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation;

Practice use of simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, rhetorical question, alliteration, assonance, asyndeton, anaphora, climax, parallelism, antithesis, and apposition;

Practice use of idioms;

Practice error analysis in own/peer work.

Oral Communication:

Participate fully and effectively in casual conversations;

Make oral presentations;

Choose effective verbal and nonverbal techniques (e.g. voice, gestures, eye contact) for presentations;

Express emotional reactions and personal opinions and relate personal values to a selection or experience;

Relate story structure, point of view, setting, characters, theme, tone and mood, conflict and plot to own experiences, feelings, and behaviors;

Consider a selection or experience in the light of situations, conflicts, and themes common to human experience;

Participate effectively in creative interpretations of a selection or experience. Make relevant, logical, coherent contributions to a discussion. Create a product that effectively demonstrates a personal response to a selection or experience.


Research on the Internet the life and times of an author and gain a sense of how the time and place affect the text.

Help maintain and update the class’s web page.

Create web pages for the individual projects.

Use visual aids in oral presentations (power point, video clips…)

Character Education

Reflect on the importance of family values, honor, virtue, humility, patience, wisdom, courage, integrity, and maturity.

Think about own initiation into adulthood and the establishment of own sense of identity.


Do I have enough knowledge and understanding of the work(s) presented?

Can I demonstrate a convincing and detailed interpretation of the thought and feeling expressed in the work(s) presented? 

Is my use of language clear, varied, precise and concise, appropriate to the occasion?

What is an epic? How is The Odyssey characteristically an ancient epic?

What are the role and nature of fate and gods in The Odyssey?

How does Odysseus grow during the epic?

Why do societies create heroes? What values do we expect our heroes to represent? What values did the Greeks expect their heroes to represent? How does the idea of the "tragic flaw" change the way we look at our heroes? Do we look for tragic flaws today?

Almost all societies contain myths/stories of "The Journey." Why? What is the attraction we have to journeys? What lessons, what themes, what values do we see played out in the stories of journeys? 

What was the difference between Odysseus' journey and Telemachus' journey?

Whose story is this? Who is the main character, Odysseus or Telemachus? What about Penelope?

Who is Odysseus? Is he a vital hero with whom students can identify, or is he simply an older man past his prime, a hero from a by-gone era?

What are the attributes of an epic hero? Does being a hero automatically mean that one is a good leader?

What are the gender roles of the characters? Looking at Circe, Calypso, Nausikaa, Penelope, what are the different roles women seem to play in Greek society? What are the roles of men, especially if we are to look at the sympathetic characters of Odysseus and Telemachus?

Can the teenager in high school today identify with Nausicaa or is she too innocent, too tied to her parents and the strict behavioral code that they impose on her?

Do you think that the days of Odysseus as a hero are over or will they continue on Ithaca?How does Odysseus’ head help him in difficult situations?

What are the similarities between the journey of Odysseus and events that have occurred in your own life?

The ancient Greeks truly believed in caring for strangers. Traditional voices in our culture have attempted to continue that tradition by advising all to care for strangers in need and teaching that such assistance is particularly pleasing to God. But what forces in our time threaten to extinguish this tradition of kindness to and care for strangers? Do you, in your own culture, care for and help strangers? Why? If not, why not? And what can you do to care for strangers in need?

Revenge as a means of obtaining justice was more acceptable in Homer’s society than inour modern society, which has a fair criminal justice system. Even so, Homer’s idea of revenge bears qualification. What is the nature of revenge in the Odyssey? Under what conditions is it an acceptable means of justice?


·An essay

·An oral/written presentation

·Reading quizzes

·Vocabulary tests

·A project

·An interactive notebook containing journal entries, drawings and reflections.


Activities may take the form of individual or group effort.

·Research on:

oAncient Greece & Greek Mythology 

oGods in Greek Mythology 

oEpic Poem Vs. Picaresque Novel 

oHomer's Iliad & Homer

oTrojan War

oThe Odyssey: Background + Characters

·Make a timeline of Odysseus' adventures. 

·Discuss the gods in The Odyssey. What are the particular roles of Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and Hermes? Why and in what ways do humans honor the gods? If you had lived in the time of the Homeric heroes, would you have worshiped the gods? 

·The Odyssey is a poem about the return of a war hero to civilian life, the reintegration of the extraordinary into the everyday. Discuss this with reference to events of our own century, your own lifetime.

·The "real world" societies described in The Odyssey—IthacaSparta, Pylos, war-timeTroy in flashback—are vastly different from modern societies. Try to describe and discuss some of these differences. Among the difference you might consider are: political systems, slaves and servants, marriage and the role of women, religion. Try to imagine what it would have been like to be a king or prince; a slave or serving girl in Odysseus' household during his absence and immediately after his return; a priest or prophet; a worker of the land or tender of flocks. 

·Compare The Odyssey with science fiction, whether in books or films or on television. Why is it, do you think, that while epic poetry turns to a heroic past, our most compelling legends imagine a future?

·Journal Topics:

1--Interview someone who has been on an interesting trip, possibly one that entailed some type of danger or excitement. Write a poem accurately depicting the journey, using as much detail and description as possible.

2- Tell about a journey you once took.

3- Have you ever wanted to know what people said and thought about you when you weren't around? If you could disguise yourself in some way and be around the people you know, how would you carry it out? Describe your ideal disguise and a scenario that you imagine would take place if you could be "a fly on the wall."

4- Do you believe in guardian angels? Explain and give examples.

5- Human weakness plays a big part in this story. Tell what Odysseus' weakness is and why Homer might have wanted to include this in his story.

6- What are your strengths and weaknesses? Describe them and how they affect your life.

7- Describe what the term hero means to you. Name a hero in your life and describe why you consider them your hero.

8- What kinds of qualities does Odysseus have that make him a good leader?

What kinds of qualities does Odysseus have that make him a good friend?

9- Predict why you think a poem as old as The Odyssey might still be valuable today.

10- Make a travel brochure of the LotusIsland.

11- What kinds of obstacles do people today have to try and overcome?

12- Write an entry that Odysseus might write in his ship's log.

13- How would you feel and act if you were in the position of Telemachus? Would you, as a teenager, feel capable of taking the initiative to try to rid the household of the suitors, or would you, like Telemachus, feel paralysed and resort to fantasies? Can you recall an incident or a situation in your life where you felt unable to act without some magical or superhuman force such as the gods or fate or superman? Telemachus, at this point, is still a child who is waiting to be told what to do by the “grownups” whoever they might be. Do you think of yourself more in terms of being a child or an adult?

14- Do any events or rituals in your life function as an initiation or a ritual passage from childhood to adulthood?

15- What does it mean to you to be a mature man/woman? What do you expect to be like when you are in your thirties, forties or fifties? Are there phases in a man/woman’s life just as there are phases in a boy/girl’s life?

16- Today’s high school students are faced with a world that presents ever more complex choices: for example, careers, family, morality, and so forth. In order to choose wisely, young people need a strong sense of who they are, where they are going and what choices will get them there. Where do you think you stand?

17- "To sum up, we may say that the central problem is: Who am I? What do I want? What am I capable ofThe individual who has failed to ask these questions in this phase of life—even if only by realising that he suffers from not knowing the answers—has failed to lay the foundations for the awakening of his psychological being, so that he runs the risk in the important middle phase of his life of finding himself stuck at the passionately vital stage, an eternal adolescent who, in his appreciation of values, remains dependent on what the world thinks of him, or who, on account of his own insecurity, continues to kick against the world."

By Bernard Lievegood

Do you agree with this statement? Have you thought about these questions in regard to your own life? Do you think that Telemachus could answer these questions if someone were to pose them to him? Would his answers be different at the beginning of the Odyssey from what they would be at the end of the story?

·Writing Activities:

1. The class can become a newsroom in which each student is a reporter for the Ithaca Daily News. Each student should write one article for the paper. Students can date and chronologically arrange articles to be run off for a class collection. The class may also choose to post the articles around the room as the events occur.

2. Write a portion of the epic from one character's limited point of view. Include the character's thoughts, opinions, and motives.

3. Write a sequel to The Odyssey, presenting imagined subsequent events in the characters' lives, especially Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus.

4. Suppose you were Telemachus and your father had never returned from a long war, and your mother was pestered by men who wanted to marry her and who were sponging off her. How would you handle your problems?

5. Is there anything that you really want that your parents don't want you to have or to do? Why won't they let you? Why do you think you should be allowed to have or do this? Write a letter to your parents explaining to them that you are enough of an adult to handle this situation. Be persuasive and convincing!

6. If someone claimed to be your long-lost relative, how would you test them to be sure of their identity? Explain your plan and your reasons for it.


·Film on ancient Greek culture, "In Search of the Trojan War," written and presented by Michael Wood (BBC, 1986) -- if available

·Videos: (if available)

1.Greek Epic.FFH766D VHS $149.Films for the Humanities, Inc. Box 2053Princeton, N. J. 08543. 40 minutes, color.
This is an exploration of The Iliad and The Odyssey and the keys to reading them for edification and enjoyment: The nature of epic, the Greek concepts of honor and fame, and the journeys of Achilles and Odysseus as heroes’ quests for identity.

2.Greek and Roman Legends FFH848D: VHS Films for the Humanities, Inc., Box 2053PrincetonN.J.08543
This video includes stories of: The Judgment of Paris, The Trojan War, Achilles Choice, Odysseus and The Trojan Horse. 35 minutes, color.

·Records: Edith Hamilton: Echoes ofGreece -- if available

·Images from Greece and other Eastern Mediterranean cultures from ca. 2000 B.C.E. to 500 B.C.E. that would help students visualize the world in which the Homeric heroes and Homeric audiences lived.

·Field trip, if possible, to a local museum which has a collection of Greek antiquities.

·Biographical information on Homer.

·Homer’s book “The Odyssey” (Translated by Robert Fagles)

·Film: 1992 CBC production “The Odyssey.”

·Films: Shane, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Saving Private Ryan, Patch Adams, Star Wars, or Alien
Analyze the hero and compare him and his journey to Odysseus.

·The first chapter of the Bible: Genesis

·"Teaching The Odyssey" Web Site specially designed for this course:


Arts/Crafts Activities

1. Construct a board game that follows Odysseus's path from the beginning to the end of the epic. The object of the game is to get Odysseus home. Be sure to include all of Odysseus's obstacles. Directions for the game must be included.
2. Using a computer with graphic software, draw a map that illustrates a particular setting in The Odyssey or the entire journey of Odysseus. Label important places on the map.
3. Give a thematic pictorial presentation or a "roll-movie" (Put a series of pictures in sequence along a strip of paper. Attach ends to rollers and place in a cardboard box.) with musical accompaniment for the class. A written explanation of the presentation can be handed in to the teacher.
4. Make a new book jacket. It should include an attractive picture or cover design, a summary of The Odyssey, and information about the author and his times.
5. Draw a scale model of an item in the epic, such as Odysseus's bow, ship, or hand-crafted bed. An alternative may be to construct a replica of an item.
6. Dress a mannequin, doll, or yourself like one of the characters in The Odyssey.
7. Make a weaving or tapestry that portrays some scene or design in the epic.
8. Design and make your own t-shirt with an illustration about the epic. Create your design using color-fast marking pens or fabric paint.
9. Convert the events of the epic into a ballad or song. Write the lyrics and music or adapt words to someone else's melody.

Dramatic Activities

1. Choose a scene from the epic and re-enact it for the class live or on video. Pay special attention to costume and language.
2. Convert a scene to a radio drama. Present a live or taped version to the class. Include an announcer and sound effects.
3. Convert a scene into a puppet show. Make simple puppets (from sticks, paper bags, or socks), and present the scene to the class.
4. Prepare a call-in radio show with a host accepting editorial comments from the listening audience. The callers should be members of the ancient Greek society of Odysseus.
5. Conduct a trial of one of the major characters to determine his guilt or innocence in the epic. Stage the trial in class with each student being assigned a role of judge, juror, attorney, stenographer, bailiff, observer, or some specific character. Some characters should serve as witnesses.
6. Dress and make up as a major character in the book. Prepare and present an original soliloquy that the character might have given.

Find a song to represent one of the characters. Make a copy of the lyrics. Write a paragraph to explain how the character and the song fit together. Refer to the song lyrics often in order to develop this paragraph fully.

Social Studies

1.Research and report on biographies of famous people from this era.

2.On a map, locate the following locations and describe the role they play in The OdysseyTroy,IthacaSparta, Pylos, CreteSidonEgypt.

3.Plan your own 'odyssey". Choose three foreign countries that you would like to visit. You must decide on a specific region or city within each country and do research about what sights you will visit while there. You must include your method/methods of travel to the country and where you will stay and any other pertinent information about your trip. What makes the project more challenging is that you are only allowed to spend $6,000. for your entire odyssey. Contact local travel agencies and use the Internet to find approximate travel fares to get the most for your money. Your finished paper must give a detailed account of the entire trip and include the sources of their information. You must also discuss in your paper any unusual laws or customs of those countries that you need to be aware of before travelling there.

This project incorporates language arts, geography, and math.

Character Education

Explore and analyze the character education traits: honor, virtue, humility, patience, wisdom, courage, integrity, family values, and maturity found in the novel.