Experiencing new adventures is an important part of becoming independent. Trying different things and going new places helps establish teens' sense of self. As educators, it is important to encourage our students to take on new challenges and experiences.
That is why we have curated six lessons that center around young people going on epic adventures. These informational texts, stories, and poems are sure to resonate with your students!
“Growing Up” by Gary Soto (6th Grade)
In this story, Maria declares that her annual family vacation is boring and decides to stay home. She has a decent time with her friend at the mall but realizes that she misses her family. Students will be able to relate to the main character’s need for independence but also the pain that comes with growing up and moving away from their families.
“The Roller Coaster” by Shelby Ostergaard (6th Grade)
In this heartwarming story, Hudson is looking forward to riding the roller coasters during his eighth grade trip to an amusement park. However, when he gets to the front of the line for the biggest ride, he freezes in fear and runs away. After encouragement from his chaperone, Hudson returns to the roller coaster, faces his fears, and has a blast. This text provides an excellent opportunity to discuss what it means to be brave. Have students describe a time in their lives when they have had to push past their fears to do something they wanted.
“Saturday at the Canal” by Gary Soto (7th Grade)
Many students will be able to relate to the speaker’s desire to go somewhere new in this poem. The speaker describes the struggles of being a teenager in his hometown and dreams of traveling to San Francisco or somewhere far away. Ask students if they have ever felt the desire to travel outside of their hometown to grow their independence.
“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll (7th Grade)
In this fantastical poem, a father warns his son about the “Jabberwocky,” a vicious beast. When the Jabberwocky appears, the son bravely charges forward with his sword, killing the beast, and his father is thrilled. This poem provides the opportunity for students to reflect on bravery in the face of a challenge.
“Travel” by Robert Louis Stevenson (8th Grade)
In this poem by renowned author Robert Louis Stevenson, the speaker dreams of adventure and traveling. Throughout the poem, the speaker describes the many places he’d love to visit when he is grown up. This poem will get students thinking about the importance of exploration. Ask students Discussion Question 1, “Is travel an important part of growing up? Does travel make you more or less mature? What would Robert Louis Stevenson say?”
“Excerpt from The Odyssey: The Sirens” by Homer (9th Grade)
Introduce your students to epic poetry with this excerpt from Homer’s The Odyssey. In this part of his perilous journey home from Troy, Odysseus and his crew face a wily set of foes: sirens, whose song tempts sailors to their doom. Odysseus must use his quick thinking and leadership skills to navigate this challenge. After reading, have students watch the Related Media video “What Makes a Hero” and discuss how Odysseus demonstrates heroism through his leadership.
Looking for more texts about adventure? Browse the CommonLit Library!
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