Materials: Copies of "An Episode of War" by Stephen Crane, video or other images of more recent battles in Iraq or Afghanistan, pens, pencils, paper, drawing paper, markers, crayons



  • Students will demonstrate the ability to read increasingly complex texts
  • Students will demonstrate comprehension of supporting details and main ideas
  • Students will interpret and evaluate representative texts to deepen understanding of literature of the United States

contemplate, crevice, endow, grimy, potentate, scabbard, stupefaction, trident, wince


1. When students enter the classroom, project an image of a recent battle scene. These web sites have many images and stories to choose from:

MSNBC: Conflict in Iraq

New York Times: On Assignment - Afghanistan

2. Ask them to free write for five minutes in response to the image. Ask: "What do you see?" "How does it make you feel?" "Can you make any connections to this image, either from other texts, world events or your own life?"

3. When students have finished writing, ask volunteers to share their ideas.

4. Ask students to imagine what it would be like to be a reporter in a war. Discuss the conditions a reporter must undergo and what war reporting must be like in the 20th Century. Continue the freewrite, based on these questions and discuss.

5. Introduce Stephen Crane, explaining that he was not a Civil War reporter because he did not live during that time, but that his work depicts the lives of Civil War soldiers.

6. Read "An Episode of War" by Stephen Crane as a class. As students read, ask them to complete a list of important events and characters.

7. When students have finished reading, ask volunteers to share what they wrote on their lists.

8. Divide students into groups of two, provide them with drawing paper and drawing utensils, and ask them to create a storyboard. Students should divide their paper into six squares, like a comic strip. Each square should contain an image from the story, drawn in sequence, to document the occurrences in the story.

9. Share with class.


Freewriting can be collected and graded for format or can count for participation; storyboards can be graded for accuracy and completion.


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