The Hobbit Unit Plan


The People versus Bilbo Baggins (Alternate Assessment)
Fantasy Creation – Creative Writing Activity
Text Analysis for The Hobbit
Frayer Model (Vocabulary Graphic Organizer)


Optional: I like to start my school year off with this epic journey as my ninth graders are starting their own journey through high school. Our first week is always short so rather than cramming in Week 1, I like to introduce the fantasy genre with a short story.

Day 1

Break up class into groups. Have students create a list of fantasy works. Students will consider literature, films, and video games.
Examples: Harry Potter, Narnia series, The Sword and the Stone, Skyrim

Then have students find common characteristics and specific examples of that characteristic.

Example category: Magic
Specific evidence: Merlin turns himself into different animals in Disney’s The Sword in the Stone.
Harry Potter attends a school to learn magic.

Compile the list of common characteristics from all classes and make a checklist.

Day 2

In the same groups as Day 1, have students read one of the following short stories:

“The Enchanted Buffalo” by L. Frank Baum (famous for The Wizard of Oz)
Excerpt from The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie where Peter Pan makes his first appearance.
“The Last of the Dragons” by Edith Nesbit
“Darkness Box” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Students use the following criteria to decide if the work is a fantasy. Surprise! They are all considered fantasy works.

Fantasy Checklist
Races of people (elves, dwarves, fairies, etc.)
Good and evil
Talking animals
Mythical creatures
Special objects or weapons
Happy ending
Fantasy setting

Week 1 – Influences

Reading – Chapter 1
Vocabulary – 1. abreast, audacious, legendary, necromancer, obstinately, prudent, remuneration, rune (8 words given. Students work with two words of their choice)
Download graphic organizer for vocabulary.

Monday – World War 1

Read how the first great war influenced J.R.R. Tolkien (John Garth article in The Telegraph)
Begin watching episode two of  Our World War. The second episode (“Pals”) is inspired by letters written by Private Paddy Kennedy about the Battle of the Somme. Pals were British regiments composed of friends that fought alongside each other.

-Battle of the Somme lasted from July 1 to November 18,1916
-British Empire and France vs. Germany – over 1 million total casualties

Although Tolkien did not join a “Pal” regiment, he participated in the Battle of Somme and lost two of his friends. For further information on how World War I impacted Tolkien’s writing check out Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth.

Tuesday – World War 1 (continued)

Demonstrate Frayer Model (vocabulary graphic organizer). A few of the words will be completed in class. Assign the remaining vocabulary words as homework.
Finish watching episode two of Our World War.

Wednesday – Language

Complete a Frayer Model as a group.

• Employed by Oxford English Dictionary
• Professor who taught courses in literature and philology: Old English, Middle English, German, Old Icelandic, Medieval Welsh
• Studied or was familiar with other languages including Old Norse, Greek, Latin, and Finnish
• Created his own languages (Quenya)

“J. R. R. Tolkien.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 Sep. 2017. Web.12 Sep. 2017
Grotta, Daniel (2001). J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth. Philadelphia, Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-0956-8.
Gilliver, Peter, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner (2006). The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-861069-6.
Conley, Tim; Cain, Stephen (2006). Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-33188-6.

Look for Tolkien’s use of symbols, runes, proverbs, riddles, songs, and other languages.

Begin reading chapter 1.


Thursday – Mythology and Ancient Texts

Complete another vocabulary word.

Gandalf was inspired by the Norse god Odin as a “wanderer”
Dwarves and Elves in Tolkien’s works inspired by German and Norse myths.
The riddle game was inspired by riddles in Beowulf and riddle poetry (Old and Middle English).
Smaug influenced by the dragon in Beowulf.

Sources: Drout, Michael D.C. (2007). J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISBN 0-415-96942-5.
Shippey, Tom (2005) [1982]. The Road to Middle-earth (3rd ed.). HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-261-10275-3.
Shippey, Tom (2000). J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 0-261-10400-4.

Continue reading chapter 1.
HW: Complete remaining vocabulary.

Friday – Fantasy

Notes on Tolkien’s ideas about Fantasy
Finish reading chapter 1 (assign for homework if not completed)
Vocabulary due for week 1 (check vocab while class is reading aloud)

Finish reading chapter 1.
Quiz on Monday – Name all thirteen dwarves.

Week 2

Reading – Chapters 2-4
Vocabulary – 2. applicable, esteemed
3. drear, palpitating
4. gnash, ingenious, quaff, shirk
(Students are given 8 words. Students find two additional words to work with)


Quiz – Name all thirteen dwarves.

Quick review of Chapter 1. Use discussion questions and the Note Cards of Doom.

Fantasy Creation

Explore how Tolkien uses tone and mood. Next week students will create fantasy settings that evoke different moods and treat a dark and dangerous situation with a comic tone.

Go over the definition of tone. Tone is the author’s attitude toward a subject.
Check out this website for definitions, examples, and lists of tone and mood words.

Students are asked to find words and phrases that demonstrate that the author’s tone is comic.

Why did Tolkien include so many comic elements in chapter 1?
It may be difficult for students to think about tone as it applies to fiction. Trying to figure out the author’s motives in a fictional work may take some deciphering, whereas determining the author’s tone in a non-fiction piece won’t have the fantasy element to think about.
Tolkien wrote The Hobbit for his children. Being that the intended audience was young, he may have wanted to shield them from the death, destruction, and dragon fire that awaits the party. The tone is much darker in The Lord of the Rings even though the adventurers face similarly dangerous situations. Tolkien uses humor to ease readers into the dark realities of this adventure without scaring them while simultaneously catching and keeping their attention. Expect this comic tone to overshadow the seriousness of the events on their adventure. Look for Tolkien’s comic tone to be constant throughout most of the book even when the mood shifts.

Begin reading chapter 2.

HW: Finish reading chapter 2.
Vocabulary is due on Friday.


Discussion questions on chapter 2. Use the Note Cards of Doom.

Go over the definition of mood. Mood is the atmosphere of a piece of writing; it’s the emotions a selection arouses in a reader.
Check out this website for definitions, examples, and lists of tone and mood words.

Watch “Break the Glasses, Crack the Plates” 00:23:00-00:25:00 and “Over the Misty Mountains Cold” 00:37:00-00:39:00 from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Have students determine the mood that is aroused in the audience from both of these songs and find specific words and phrases as evidence.

Start reading chapter 3.

HW: Finish chapter 3.


Discussion questions on chapter 3.

Read chapter 4
Work on vocabulary (if there is time)

HW: Finish reading chapter 4 (if needed)


Discussion questions on chapter 4

As a class, compare and contrast the tone in chapters 2 and 4. Divide students into two groups: Goblins and Trolls. If you announce that half of the class are goblins first, the other half will assume they are elves, dwarves, or hobbits. This creates a funny moment when you reveal that they are trolls.

Have students find words and phrases to help determine the tone in both chapters. In both chapters the party faces danger but it seems to be treated differently by Tolkien. What is Tolkien’s purpose?

Trolls- Have students pick among the positive mood words.

Goblins- Students should be looking for a negative tone word.


Quiz on chapters 2-4.

Mood Comparison Writing Activity
Students individually compare and contrast the mood in chapters 2 and 4. Students find words and phrases to help determine the mood in both chapters. In a short writing piece, determine how Tolkien changes the atmosphere for the reader with his word choice. Students must provide words and/or phrases as evidence.

Vocabulary is due.

HW: Finish writing assignment.

Week 3

Reading – Chapters 5-6
Vocabulary – 5. antiquity, chestnut, flummoxed, subterranean, unbeknown, brooded
6. proverb, yammering


Collect Fantasy Mood Creation Writing Activity.

Assign the following:

Fantasy World Brainstorm
Create a fantasy world.Fill the front and back of a piece of paper with your ideas and sketches.

What rules, laws, or limitations does this world have?
What distinguishes this world from our world?
Think about belief systems, governments, races of people, flora, and fauna.
What qualities must all fantasy worlds possess?
What do our world and fantasy worlds have in common?

Fantasy worlds offer more than an escape from our reality. They offer the reader a mirror to look at our own world with a renewed perspective. There are universal qualities that real and fantasy worlds have in common.

Bonus Challenge! Use FIVE vocabulary words. Underline vocabulary words.

Begin reading chapter 5.

HW: Fantasy World Brainstorm is due Thursday.


Finish reading chapter 5. Offer students extra credit for doing a Gollum voice.

Work on Fantasy World Brainstorm.


Notes on Tolkien’s Ancient Inspirations: Riddle Game

Work on Fantasy World Brainstorm.


  1. Give students the definition of setting.
  2. Have students find a partner. Assign partners two chapters without informing students that one chapter has a positive mood and the other has a negative mood.
  1. Each student examines one of the chapters and determines the mood. Examples include the Shire being described as the “kindly West.” This helps Tolkien create a peaceful mood. A gloomy or overwhelmed mood is created with descriptions like “dreary hills, rising higher and higher, dark with trees.” Students must find TWO specific examples of how Tolkien uses setting to help create the mood (specific words or phrases). Partners share their findings with each other. If needed, partners help each other to correct their findings.
  2. Share findings with entire class. Every student contributes an answer.
  3. Students create either a positive or negative mood by describing a setting in their fantasy world. Students think about word choice.

Differentiation: This can be done by either allowing them to create any mood from the list or for a more difficult challenge, students can be assigned specific moods to develop.

  1. Begin sharing settings with the class. Have class determine if students were successful in creating particular moods.

HW: Students create a setting that develops the opposite mood from what they created in class.

Fantasy Setting Creative Writing Activity is due.

Read chapter 6.


Vocabulary Quiz

Discussion questions on chapter 5.

Begin reading chapter 6.

Vocabulary is due.

HW: Finish reading chapter 6.

Week 4

Reading – Chapters 7-8
Vocabulary – 7. appalling, carrock, dale, hart, mead, stark, tippet, trestle, withered
8. accursed, commons, disquieting, gloaming, hind, inquisitive, loathsome, quoits, sawn, thongs, vexed, warrant,


Begin reading chapter 7.

HW: Finish reading chapter 7.

Vocabulary is due on Friday.


Discussion questions on chapter 7.

Notes on Tolkien’s Ancient Inspirations: The Berserker

Begin reading chapter 8.


Continue reading chapter 8

HW: Finish chapter 8 (if needed)


Discussion questions on chapter 8.

Examine how Bilbo Baggins changes in the first 8 chapters.


Reading Quiz on chapters 7 and 8.

Give students the definition of characterization and conflict.

Character Creation

Students create a poster complete with a visual depiction of their own protagonist as well as important information about their protagonist’s background, personality, and conflicts (especially those that might lead to a change in the character).

Design a poster

Draw your character or something that represents your character. Example: King Arthur or Excalibur.

Give information on the protagonist’s background, personality, and conflicts. Think about what information you will give the reader and how that information helps in character development. Consider conflicts that will contribute to a change in your character.

HW: Finish Poster

Week 5

Reading – Chapters 9-10
Vocabulary – 9. portcullis, flagon, potent, vintage, toss-pot, kine
10. ominous, promontory, gammer, vagabond, enmity


Character Creation Activity is due.

Students introduce their characters to the class.

Have students work on vocabulary for the remainder of class. Discuss any issues with the previous week’s vocabulary.


Read chapter 9.

HW: Finish reading chapter 9.


Discussion questions on chapter 9.

Begin reading chapter 10.

HW: Read part of chapter 10.


Track Bilbo’s journey from hobbit to hero thus far.

Finish reading chapter 10.


Quiz on chapters 9 and 10.

Show! Don’t Tell! Creative Writing Activity.

HW: Finish Show! Don’t Tell! Creative Writing Activity

Week 6

Reading – Chapters 11-13
Vocabulary – 11. disembarked, waning, lintel
12. smouldering, grievous, cartage, impenetrable, waistcoat, foreboding, stealth
13. pallid, figured, dominion, perpetually


Collect Show! Don’t Tell! Creative Writing Activity.

Assign Story Map. Due on Wednesday.

Begin reading chapter 11.

HW: Finish reading chapter 11.


Discussion questions on chapter 11.

Vocabulary review.

Begin reading chapter 12.


Collect Story Map.

Assign Fantasy Project (due at the end of week 8)

Vocabulary review.

Continue reading chapter 12.

HW: Finish reading chapter 12.


Vocabulary review

Begin reading chapter 13.

HW: Study vocabulary.


Vocabulary Quiz

Read silently when finished.

HW: Finish chapter 13

Week 7

Reading – Chapters 14-16
Vocabulary – 14. drear, foiled, quench, laden, prophesying, gledes, eminent, benefactor, recompense,
15. carrion, coveted, decrepit, amends, fells,
16. bade


Discussion questions on chapters 11-13

Read chapter 14

Vocabulary is due on Friday.

Quiz on Friday.


Notes on Tolkien’s Ancient Inspirations: Smaug

Begin reading chapter 15

HW: Finish reading chapter 15


Writing Day- Students work on Fantasy Project


Discussion questions on chapter 15

Read chapter 16

Work on vocabulary when finished with the chapter


Quiz on chapters 14-16

Vocabulary is due.

Work on Fantasy Project when finished with quiz.

Week 8

Reading – Chapters 17-19
Vocabulary – 17. hauberk, mattocks, reconciliation, precipice, scimitar, eyries, smote
18. literally, amend, mustering, trackless
19. lore, effects


Read chapter 17

Begin reading chapter 18.


Continue reading chapter 18.

Read chapter 19


The People Versus Bilbo Baggins – Day 1


The People Versus Bilbo Baggins – Day 2


The People Versus Bilbo Baggins – Day 3