Grade: 3 or 4
Length of Lesson: 45
Submitted by : Carol Jean
To have students examine the writing style employed in
horror stories to describe monsters, and to have them emulate this style of
writing on an individual basis.
Contents to be covered
- Text: Nightmare
- Class analysis of the descriptive style of writing
employed in text
- Brainstorming session
- Individual writing exercise
Skills and understanding
- Students should develop insights about the genre of
horror stories by closely looking at the characteristics of the writing style
employed in the text.
- Students will be able to build a word bank of
descriptive words that are commonly used to describe various characteristics of
monsters (words will come from both the text and suggestions elicited from
students in guided class discussion).
- Students will emulate the style of writing used in the
genre of horror stories by creating and describe their own monster using some
of the key words or descriptions mentioned in the text or in the class
Knowledge to be learned
- At the end of the lesson, students should be able to
identify some of the stereotypes and key words commonly used in this genre of
literature to describe monsters.
- Students should also be able to emulate the style and
vocabulary used for character (monster) description in this genre of writing on
an individual basis.
Materials, Resources, Methods, Classroom
1) Materials and Resources:
- Short scary story: Nightmare
- Blackboard or whiteboard
- Paper and pens or pencils
2) Methods and Classroom Procedure:
Overall Method: Style Study
Read the text: Ask student to predict what the
story might be about based on the title. What kinds of things appear in
nightmares? Do you dream of monsters? Tell the students that you will be
talking about describing monsters today. Ask the class to watch out for key
descriptive words that are used in the text.
Analyze descriptive technique in text: First ask
students to respond to text. What kind of story is this? What makes this a
scary story, what are some of the key characteristics? How did the author
describe the monster in this story? Write down the key descriptive words that
the students recall from text. Offer prompts. Ask for reactions. Do you think
this monster is scary? Why or why not?
Brainstorming Session: Have the class suggest other
kinds of monsters that appear in scary stories (mummies, skeletons, blobs,
zombies, vampires etc.). Ask students to give examples of words that are often
used to describe monsters. (What do they look like? What do they feel like? How
do they smell, move etc.). Encourage them to include all the senses they can
when they describe.
Create Word Bank: Write all the words suggested in
the text and in brainstorming session on the blackboard. Have the word bank
organized into categories: types of monsters, appearance, how they feel, smell,
move etc. Students will use this as a resource to refer to as they do their
Writing Exercise: Students will use the example of
the text, general stereotypes of the genre of writing, and the class word bank
of key descriptive words to create and describe their own monster. This
description should be two to three sentences in length (more if so desired) and
should include at least one key descriptive word from each of the descriptive
categories outlined on the board.
- This lesson will take place before Halloween and will
be part of a unit devoted to the study of the genre of horror stories.
- Most of the discussion will take place after the
reading of the text and the knowledge will be derived from students
previous exposure to this genre of literature.
- Before reading the text, you will ask children what
kind of scary things appear in your nightmares. You might ask students to
describe some of the monsters that appear in their bad dreams or imaginations.
Body of Lesson:
1) Read Nightmare
- Start by asking the students to predict what the story
will be about based on the title.
- Ask what kinds of things appear in nightmares? Do you
dream of monsters? What kind of monsters? Do you think there will be a monster
in this story?
- Tell the class that today we will be talking all about
how to make or describe monsters.
- Ask students to watch out for key words that are used
in the story to describe monsters.
- Read the story to the class
- Get reactions to story. Did they like the story? Who
was the monster in the story? What kind of story is this? Why is it a scary
story? What makes it a scary story? What are some of the characteristics of
scary stories? (monsters, spooky setting etc.)
2) Set up Word Bank on Black Board
Divide board into sections for different
3) Analyze descriptive technique in the story
- How did the author describe the monster (or monsters)
in this story? Ask students to mention some of the key descriptive words and
phrases used in the story.
- Start writing down words that the children recall from
the text. Remind the students that several other types of monsters were
described besides the main monster in the story, they can use those
descriptions as well.
Under It Looks Like, students might suggest:
Under Sounds like, students might suggest:
Under Acts like, students might suggest:
4) Brain Storming Activity
Tell students that we want to get more ideas of words that
we can use to describe monsters. Ask them to think of monsters that they have
read about or imagined and contribute ideas about different kinds of monsters,
what they look like, feel like, act like, smell like and sound like.
Write down all suggestions.
- Start with kinds of monsters. Ask students what kinds
of monsters they have heard about or know about. Examples: mummies, zombies,
space aliens, mutants etc.
- Ask students what these monsters look like. What
colour are they? Do they glow? Are they decaying? What size are they? Do they
- Ask students what these monsters might feel like. Are
they rough or smooth? Are they wet? Slimy? Dry? Squishy? Hard?
- Ask students what sounds monsters might make? Would
they make loud sounds or soft, spooky sounds? Would they roar or moan?
- Ask students how the monsters act? Do they sneak,
slither, or slide? Do they lurk or do they charge? Do they float or run? Are
they fast or slow?
- Ask students what they imagine these monsters might
smell like? Would they smell musty? Rotten? Greasy? Dead?
5) Demonstrate how you can use some of these
descriptive words to make anddescribe your own monsters.
- Reread the pre-selected, highly descriptive passage
from the text (pg.50)
- Tell students that you are now going to show you how
you can use the examples in the text and the word bank the class has created to
make and describe a new monster!
- Example: The swamp monster was huge! It was covered
with slimy, green scales that glowed in the dark, and it smelled like a dead
fish. The monster slithered slowly towards us hissing loudly.
- Underline the key, descriptive words in each sentence
and point out the categories that they came from.
- Ask students if they have a good idea of what the
monster looks, smells, acts, etc. like, based on your description.
- Repeat exercise one or two times, but this time have
the students help select the features of the new monsters.
6) Writing Exercise
- Once you feel the students are comfortable with the
monster making process, tell them that it now time for them to make
their own monsters.
- Tell them to use the word bank on the black board to
help them come up with ideas and check spelling. Tell them that they only need
to make two or three sentences to describe their monster, but ask them to
include at least one feature from each category: what kind of monster, how it
moves, sounds, smell, looks like etc.
- Tell them that you will be available if they need help
or want suggestions for other words.
- Make sure that everyone has the necessary writing
materials and then let them get started. Monitor progress.
Note: Make sure that they know this is a rough
draft only, that they will have the chance to improve it later on. Allow
students to write as many sentences as it takes to include the features. Some
students may have difficulties using more one or two descriptive words in each
sentence. You can work on condensing their texts later.
Closure of Lesson:
- Ask for reactions. Did they have fun making monsters?
Are their monsters really scary?
- If time allows, let volunteers read their descriptions
of their monsters.
- Tell students that in the next class they will continue
to work on improving their monsters.
- Tell students that next class the students will be
drawing other each others monsters according to their descriptions
- Tell students that everyone will eventually get a
chance to write a scary story about the monster they created today.
- Assessment of the students comprehension of the
task as well as their ability to integrate and apply examples and suggestions
from text and word bank will be judged mainly by the writing they produce.
- How many descriptive words did they use? Did the
description seem complete, balanced? Did they only focus on one aspect (such as
appearance), or did they integrate other categories of description.
- Were the descriptions imaginative and original, or were
- Comprehension will also be judged by students
participation and ability to contribute ideas to class discussion (either
voluntarily or when prompted).
Source Used:Pierce, Q. L.
Nightmare, More Scary Stories for Sleep-overs. Los Angeles: RGA Publishing,