Lesson Plan—Ghost Stories
Topic: Writing Ghost Stories
Grade Level: 3-4
Subject: Writing and Social Studies
Approx. Time Required: 1 hour
In this activity, students will have the opportunity to learn about the history of Ghost Towns in Nevada. After viewing and mapping different Ghost Towns in Nevada, they can discuss the history of these abandoned mining towns:
“The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859 was one of the richest gold and silver strikes in the West and led to Nevada's statehood in 1864. Today, due to technological developments that allow recovery of microscopic amounts of gold, Nevada is one of the top gold producers in the world. The mining legacy of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries left behind numerous ghost towns and environmental issues, as well as a colorful history. Today geothermal energy is being examined as an alternative source of energy” (ONE).
As a writing activity, students can compose and illustrate their own Ghost Stories based upon a Nevada Mining Town or a different setting.
Language Arts Standards
Content Standard 5.0 Students write a variety of texts that inform, persuade, describe, evaluate, or tell a story and are appropriate to purpose and audience.
Content Standard 5.0: Students write in a variety of forms with increasing accuracy of syntax and structure to effectively address a specific purpose and audience across all content areas.
Content Standard 6.0 Students write with a clear focus and logical development, evaluating, revising, and editing for organization, style, tone, and word choice.
Content Standard 7.0: Students write using standard English grammar, usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
Social Studies Standards
Content Standard H2.[6-8].1 Summarize the contributions of the diverse populations of Nevada’s early settlers.
Content Standard H2 [6-8].4 Identify and explain the importance of immigrant and native groups to mining, ranching roads, and commerce in Nevada and the US.
Visual Arts Standards
Content Standard 4.0 Students understand the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.
Student Learning Goals/Objectives:
Students will learn about the history of Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining.
Students will identify the components of a story: setting, plot, characters, etc.
Students will engage in classroom discussion on creative writing process.
Students will compose their own fictional stories.
Students will Organize and sequence stories and respond from beginning to end
Students will retell beginning, middle and end of a story
-Online Nevada Encyclopedia (ONE) www.onlinenevada.org
--Paper and Pencils
Online Nevada Encyclopedia (ONE): Using the computer lab students will access information using the Online Nevada Encyclopedia.
- Search www.onlinenevada.org
- Select Category: Mining
Select Topic: Ghost Towns
-Access the ONE and read through some of the articles on Nevada Ghost Towns. In order to give students an idea of the towns’ locations, identify on a Nevada map the general location of Ghost Towns in Nevada. Perhaps some students in the class have visited a Nevada Ghost Town; if so, have them share with the class their experience.
-Consider reading from a ghost story book, and afterward discuss some images, or themes that students can identify.
- Before students begin writing their own stories, brainstorm as a class possibly ‘setting’ for a ghost story. Will their story be set in a Nevada ghost town, or haunted house, or dark woods? Consider having students draw and color their setting. This will help in giving students a visual of the location for their story.
- Brainstorm a ‘character’ or ‘characters.’ Consider such questions: What kind of personality or physical attribute do their characters possess? Are there more than one character? Who is the main character?
- Discuss ‘plot’ with the class. What happens in the story, and why? How will the story start? And what is the conflict? How will the story end?
- One last discussion or brainstorming session with the class might concern ‘descriptive language.’ What type of language or words are used in a ghost story, and why? What word choice help to make a story scary or suspenseful? What descriptive words will the students choose?
- Give students approx. 20-30 mins. to work on their stories. This will give them time to compose and revise.
After their writing is complete, students can illustrate their stories.
Additional activities to consider:
-Display student stories and their illustrations.
-Some instructors find story starters helpful for students. Brainstorm with students possible stock story starters to help students begin their stories.
-Have students read their stories aloud either to the class, or in smaller groups
Evaluation of Student Learning:
Students will be evaluated on their creative stories.