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Free Unit for The Odyssey

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

So. I am going to start this post the way I start every post, which is by saying: “I used to really enjoy teaching The Odyssey.” Last week my IB 11 students asked me if there was a book that I didn’t like teaching and I couldn’t come up with an answer. I’ve liked most of the books I’ve had to teach, albeit for different reasons. I liked The Odyssey because I enjoyed challenging my 9 Intensified with the language and structure of the story. I also enjoyed watching the kids’ reactions when they figured out what was going on: “Wait…he has a wife! Why is he with this goddess?”

I taught The Odyssey for four years and then switched to 11 AP, so I never did quite get the unit the way that I wanted it, but I think you will still find a lot of helpful materials and ideas to get you started. The unit below was for one of my 9 Intensified or "honors" classes. Most of the links are to Google docs with assignment information. Let me know if the links do not work for you.

The last time I taught this unit was 9 years ago, so I don’t remember every detail of every lesson, but I tried to include a “day-by-day” breakdown according to my old notes. Each “day” is for a 90 minute block class. In general, my lessons usually have vocabulary time and writing time, as well as some reading time built in when we are reading longer texts.

Intensified Unit Plans

Essential Questions:

What do you do in the face of adversity?

Is there such thing as free-will?

What is a “hero”?


-Students will be able to explain the story of The Odyssey (map)

-Students will be able to annotate effectively enough to ace detail oriented reading


-Students will be able to identify strategies to use in order to access hard texts

-Students will be able to defend their ideas with text excerpts (class discussions)

-Students will be able to use topic and transition sentences in a compare/contrast essay

-Students will be able to identify the following literary devices in literature: foreshadowing, allusion

-Students will be able to show how Odysseus travels through the Heroic cycle


-Reading quizzes

-Map building

-Hero paper

Reading Timeline

*We are on block scheduling

Day 1-Book 1

Day 2-Book 2

Day 3-Book 3

Day 4-Book 4

Day 5-Books 5 & 9

Day 6-Catch up day

Day 7-Book 10 and parts of 11 (1-255, 449-580)

Day 8-Books 12 & 16

Day 9-Catch up day

Day 10-Book 17 to line 645 (20 pages)

Day 11-Catch up day

Day 12-Books 21 & 22

Day 13-Books 23 & 24

We used this version of The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald:

Day 1


  • Build background/active schema to get students to read The Odyssey

  • Students will be able to call out a basic plot summary before heading out the door and name the main character

  • Students will be able to name one god or goddess involved in The Odyssey