Brainstorming the Four Main Components of a Horror/Thriller Story

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SWBAT introduced to the four major components of horror/thriller story by watching clips in order to get ideas for their own story.

Big Idea

"It's not a ghost...What is it?!"

Lesson Opener

10 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect:  I will say, “Yesterday we came up with ideas of a possible horror/thriller story. Today we are going to brainstorm ideas for the four main components of a horror/thriller story; the problem, the villain (antagonist), the hero (protagonist) and the victims.

Teach: I will say, “In order to dig deeper in to our horror/thriller stories idea, I am going to show you how to practice the skill generating ideas by watching short movie trailer clips and the strategy of taking notes on the four components. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Jot down a four column chart

2) Watch three different movie clips and take notes

3) Brainstorm ideas of the four components for my story."

The below video explains this process. Under this video is the three movie trailer clips I used.  


Active Engagement

10 minutes

Active Engagement: As we are watching the trailers, I have them turn and talk about the four components. I will do the first one or two with them (as seen in the above video) but by asking them what they shared with a partner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). I will have them jot down their answers.

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember successful writers practice the skill of trying out a new genre by using the strategy of  brainstorming the main components. The process they use is to review examples, take notes, jot ideas for their own components and start crafting a scene for their story.”

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Independent Practice:. I will say, “Now you are going to keep brainstorming components of a horror/thriller story or start crafting a scene. You will use what you know about crafting narratives by using your I.A.D.Ds (Inner Thinking, Action, Dialogue and Description) just like you did in the memoir unit.” I will walk around and confer with students using Possible Conferences for Crafting a Scene.

Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share a scene with their partner when I see that most of the class has a half of a page written down. I will say, “I want you to share what you have so far for a scene of a story with a partner. “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A I want you to share your scene. Partner B, I want you to listen if Partner A has written a scene that uses all of the I.A.D.Ds. If not, give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know what your favorite line was and why. Then you will switch.” I will then give students time to revise, or have them make notes and revise for homework.


5 minutes

I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an exit ticker in which students write down the response to a question.


Students will be directed to jot down their best example of using I.A.D.Ds in from their scene.