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Eighth Grade Lesson Plans


Lesson Title: The Impact of Historical Elements on Themes in Literature

Created and Submitted by: Anita Costilla and Juanita Deliganis

School Name: Los Obispos Middle School

District: United ISD

Roles: School Librarian and ELA/Reading Classroom Teacher


Grade Level: 8th Grade


Lesson Plan Objectives: At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze how place and time influenced the theme of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. 
  2. Infer a theme using historical elements found within the text.
  3. Draw conclusions based on historical elements found in the book.




(3) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Theme and Genre. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about theme and genre in different cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to

(C) analyze how place and time influence the theme or message of a literary work.


Other Content Area: Social Studies

§113.20. Social Studies, Grade 8

(8) History. The student understands individuals, issues, and events of the Civil War. The student is expected to:

(B) explain the causes of the Civil War, including sectionalism, states' rights, and slavery, and significant events of the Civil War, including the firing on Fort Sumter; the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg; the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation; Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House; and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; and

(C) Analyze Abraham Lincoln's ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address and contrast them with the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis's inaugural address.


Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Indicators

1.1.6 Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning.

1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding

2.3.2 Consider diverse and global perspectives in drawing conclusions


Classroom Teacher – School librarian(s) Collaboration: Describe individual as well as joint responsibilities for planning, gathering resources, implementing the lesson, and evaluating student learning.

  • School librarian will show students how to search for primary sources using the schools online resources.
  • School librarian will provide copies of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.
  • School librarian will prepare and provide movie clips of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
  • School librarian will provide a list of reputable secondary sources on the Internet.
  •  Educators will introduce objectives and use think-alouds to model making inferences using the movie clips of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.
  • Educators will monitor students’ guided practice.
  •  Educators will assess student learning outcomes using the historical elements graphic organizer.

Measurable Outcome or Final Product:

The students will analyze and infer the elements that influenced the theme of their selected chapter by using the historical elements graphic organizer.


Assessment Tool(s): Historical Elements Graphic Organizer and Exit Slip


Resources: Include appropriate print, electronic, and Web-based resources to meet the learning objective(s).

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central Publishing, 2011)

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (Movie produced by Timur Bekmambetov, 2012)


Document Camera

List of Reputable Internet Sources for Pathfinder 


Historical Elements Graphic Organizer (.docx)

Exit Slip (.docx) (If conducting this lesson over a two-day period, ask students to complete and submit an exit slip on Day 1.)


Estimated Lesson Time: Two 45-minute class periods


Instructional Plan Outline:



1. Librarian will show students how to use the school’s online primary sources.
2. Librarian will provide copies of novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
3. Librarian will prepare and provide movie clips of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.
4. Librarian will provide a short list of reputable secondary Internet sources for students.
5. Educators pass out Historical Elements Graphic Organizer to each student.
6. Educators post examples of historical elements within the selected literature.
7. Educators post learning objectives and product goal. 



  1. Educators share the scene where Abraham becomes a vampire hunter.
  2. Educators share closing scenes from movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
  3. Educators ask, “So how do you think it really happened? What do you think Seth Grahame-Smith is implying by the last scene? What inferences can you make?” (Inferences = Evidence in the Text + Background Knowledge)



4. Educators define inference, historian, and author for the students and provide examples.
5. Educators recap novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and use think-alouds to model identifying historical figures, locations, and events in the book.
6. Librarian shares primary source video clips of the “Gettysburg Address” and “The Underground Railroad.”
7. Educators ask: “How does the time and place influence the theme and message of the novel?”

Guided Practice:

8. Students work in groups of 3-4 using assigned chapter of the novel to complete the Historical Elements Graphic Organizer identifying: historical figures, locations, and events.
9. Educators monitor students’ group work.


10.  Students present their findings.

11.  Educators ask students to identify the influences on theme and message of the novel.

12.  Students respond to feedback and justify any questions or concerns about their choice of events and locations.

13.  Educators guide students in an oral review and a reflection: 1.Where do you see evidence of history influencing story lines? 2. Why do you think writers pay attention to historical figures, events, and locations? 3. Why is it important to recall, use, and reference historical figures, locations, and events?

14.  Students complete and submit an Exit Slip and



15.   Educators will use the Historical Elements Graphic Organizer (and/or Exit Slip) as an assessment tool.



16.  Students continue to explore and investigate historically based or inspired pieces of literature.

17.  Educator facilitates a literature circle that examines one of the following: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix, The Red Pyramid, The Book Thief, or another historically influenced piece of literature that is age- and grade-level appropriate.



Lesson Plan Resources


ELAR_8_3_C_Lesson Plan (.pdf)


Historical Elements Graphic Organizer (.docx)


Exit Slip (.docx)

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