Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Who Is That Ghostly Character?

Megan Siska


Students provide an additional scene to the radio play, "The Hitchhiker," by Lucille Fletcher. The conclusion explains the role of the hitchhiker and ends Adam's traumatic travel experience.


The student refines previously learned knowledge and skills of the seventh grade with increasingly complex reading texts and assignments and tasks (for example, main ideas, supporting details, inferences, summarizing, analysis of organization and presentation of ideas).

The student selects and uses a format for writing which addresses the audience, purpose, and occasion (including but not limited to narrative, persuasive, expository).

The student summarizes main points and supporting details orally or in writing.

The student knows that a text may elicit a variety of valid responses.


-Tape player
-Audio tape containing the radio play "The Hitchhiker"
-Copy of the radio play "The Hitchhiker" in a textbook, such as [The Language of Literature], McDougal Littel Inc., 1997
-One copy of Plot: How does it work? for each student (Associated File)
-One copy of The Hitchhiker Plot (Associated File)
-One copy of Scoring Guide for each student (Associated File)


1. Review the audio tape of the radio play “The Hitchhiker.”
2. Outline the plot noting points that will be useful for Writing Activity #1.
3. Locate and reserve a tape player.
4. Make copies of the following handouts for each student:
“Plot – How does it work?”
“The Hitchhiker Plot”
“Scoring Guide”
5. Write or duplicate the three-point rubric on the chalkboard or overhead display.


Day 1
1. Listen to a taped version of the radio play, "The Hitchhiker," and have students follow along in their textbooks. Stop at various spots and discuss what has happened so far. Allow students to predict, then verify as they listen.

2. Review the handout Plot: How does it work? (See Associated File) and explain to the students that they will use this information for an assignment.

3. Have the students take notes on the "The Hitchhiker" Plot handout as you discuss it, based on the play. Ask the students to identify the exposition: setting, point of view, and main character(s). Have them identify the main conflict(s), any complications that may arise, the climax, and resolution. Offer guidance and feedback, making sure each student has corrected information as necessary to use during the writing assignments.

4. Graph the plot on the chalkboard calling on various students to recall the important details.

5. Define the term inference. Writing Activity #1: Assign a writing assignment (expository paragraph) asking students to make inferences about the character of the hitchhiker. Ask the students to explain their understanding of the hitchhiker by using support from at least three specific examples in the radio play. Remind the students to keep the audience (the teacher and the class) and purpose (to explain) in mind. Model an example and allow students to volunteer the support for your example.

6. Discuss the elements in the three-point rubric that will be used to score the assignment.

Day 2
1. Have students share some of their paragraph writing assignments and make sure to point out the examples used to validate their opinion. Offer feedback guiding students to revise and add more support if necessary.

2. Ask if everyone came up with the same opinion. Discuss how a variety of responses may be valid. Point out that opinions can be very different based on the interpretation of the reader.

3. Writing Activity #2. Have students create an additional scene to end the play (a resolution). Students must explain the role of the hitchhiker and must end Adam’s traumatic experience in the conclusion. Remind students to keep the audience (radio listeners) and purpose (to conclude) in mind.

4. Pass out a copy of the Scoring Guide to each student. Discuss the requirements for the writing assignment (see requirements in number one of Day 3). Announce that the students will be scored on this handout first by a peer evaluator and then the teacher.

5. Give students class time to work on and complete their rough drafts. While students are working on their rough drafts, circulate and look over students' shoulders. Use this time to conference with each student on any problems they may have with the assignment.

Day 3
1. Pair students and have them switch papers with their partners. Quickly review cooperative worker rules for your classroom. Model how to peer evaluate a paper. They should use the Scoring Guide to evaluate each other's papers. Students should determine if there is enough evidence to complete the conclusion and prove it valid. (Did the conclusion explain a valid role of the hitchhiker and end Adam's traumatic experience?) Make sure students know that their peer evaluations will be turned in so that you can assess them.

2. Tell the students to confer with their partners, making appropriate suggestions on the handout. Require every student to make at least one positive comment. Remind students to be specific in their evaluations. Saying that someone's paper is nice doesn't really indicate how it can be improved or what is really strong in the paper. Model specific comments they can make, for instance: Adam's comment here doesn't really make sense based on what's happening. OR You forgot to tell what happens to this character. You can do it through another character's conversation.

3. Tell the students that once they feel their partner's conclusion is sufficient, they may return it to the partner to be revised.

4. Have the students submit revised conclusions along with the Scoring Guides from their peer evaluators.


To assess student achievement of the identified GLEs, review student responses to the Plot worksheet as well as the the two writing assignments. This written work, together with the class discussions, should provide adequate information concerning level of understanding.

A three-point rubric determines if the student supports his/her understanding of the hitchhiker for Writing Activity #1.
~Full Credit (3 points): The student uses three specific examples from the radio play to explain understanding of the hitchhiker. The examples are fully elaborated. Form and style are appropriate for audience and purpose.
~Partial Credit (2 points): The student uses some (2-3) examples but the examples are not specific or elaborated. Form and style are adequate for targeted audience and purpose.
~Little Credit (1 point): The student uses few (1-2) examples and those examples are vague. Form and style may be inappropriate.
~No credit (0 points): The paragraph is unscorable or off topic.

Score the student-created conclusions for content and creativity based on the criteria developed in the “Scoring Guide” for Writing Activity #2.

During the class discussion of how a text may elicit a variety of valid responses from readers, formatively assess level of conceptual understanding. Note: If students have had sufficient practice in this area, they can be asked to respond individually in writing to this prompt: How can there be a variety of valid responses concerning the interpretation of the character of the hitchhiker? Score responses as
~Full Credit (3 points): Thorough explanation, including main idea and supporting details, of how prior knowledge and background of reader leads to various interpretations and inferences.
~Partial Credit (2 points): Adequate explanation of above.
~Little Credit (1 point): Inadequate explanation of above.

Teamwork (Cooperative Workers) is assessed through teacher observation of the extent to which partners put forth effort to assist each other during the revision process (conferencing). Peer evaluation sheets are an additional source of information on level of cooperation as well as conceptual understanding.


Optional: Pair stronger writers with weaker writers.

Prior knowledge: This lesson assumes the student understands expository writing, purpose, and audience. These concepts may need to be reviewed before beginning the writing activities.
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