© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Teaching Guide

Teaching The Graveyard Book

Teach around the campfire.

GO TO STUDENT LEARNING GUIDE

The Graveyard Book seems like a whimsical jaunt at first, what with Neil Gaiman's name attached and that shiny Newbery Medal on the cover. But in reality, it's a dark book exploring themes of death and good vs. evil. Don't worry about exploring this graveyard; we have lessons exciting enough to raise the dead.

In this guide you will find

  • activities that get students out of the classroom and into the graveyard.
  • connections to other works by Gaiman, like Coraline and the Sandman series of comics.
  • reading quizzes to make sure students know Bod is a protagonist and not a stinky body spray.

And much more.

Now you can rest in peace knowing you've got this teaching guide to help out.

What's Inside Shmoop's Literature Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring literature to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

With your purchase, you'll get unlimited access for 12 months. And if you like what you see, you can subscribe to all 200+ Teaching Guides for just $19.84/month.

Instructions for You

Objective: Don't you just hate it when an author leaves you hanging? Well, that is exactly what Gaiman does in The Graveyard Book. We exit with Bod as he leaves the graveyard not knowing where he is going or what will happen next. We don't even know his real name. Despite our curiosity, the ending does provide us with a great opportunity to imagine what will happen next and we can pass this chance along to our students.

In this lesson, students will write a ninth chapter for The Graveyard Book, using Bod's character traits and Gaiman's writing style as a guide. We know from his conversations with Mr. Jones, that Bod has heard tales of different continents and vacation destinations, but where will he go? What will he do with his life? What adventure will he find next? That is for your students to decide. This should take three to four class periods.

Materials Needed: 

  • Text of The Graveyard Book

Step 1: What's up with the ending of The Graveyard Book? We don't know Bod's real name, and we don't know where he's headed. Technically he's still a kid and he's just heading out into the world alone? Could this be grounds for a sequel? Let's see what your students think.

  • How did you feel about the ending of the book? Were you satisfied that the story is over, or does it feel like the novel leaves you hanging, wanting to know more?
  • What do you think will happen to Bod out in the real world? Is he ready to make it on his own? Why or why not?
  • If you were Bod, where would you go first? Why?
  • If there is a sequel to the book, where do you think it will take place?
  • Where do you think Bod will choose for a home?
  • Do you think he will try to find Scarlett? Will he go visit Silas? Why or why not?
  • What about the places Mr. Jones told Bod about? Do you think he will choose one of those to visit? Why or why not?
  • Ultimately what do you think Bod will do with his life? Will he be a world traveler or will he eventually settle down and have a normal job? What kind of job would suit Bod?
  • Do you think Bod will ever return to the graveyard? Why or why not?
  • Are there any clues from the text that could help us answer some of these questions?

For more discussion fodder, check out some of our thoughts about the ending.

Step 2: Now, this is a fabulous place to have a chat about the novel's structure and writing style. The cool thing about this book is that it's one part novel, and one part collection of short stories. Rather than reading about Bod's entire life from start to finish, we get these little episodes along the way as Bod grows up. Each chapter tells us about one of his graveyard adventures, and sometimes we leap way ahead in the timeline of Bod's life from one chapter to the next.

Explain that for this activity, students are going to take Gaiman's style and run with it. They will write a ninth chapter for The Graveyard Book where they will imagine one adventure Bod has out in the world on his own. Following Gaiman's style, this chapter can take place soon after Bod leaves the graveyard, or students can jump way ahead and imagine what Bod is up to when he's much older. Like the book, these chapters should tell the story of one adventure in Bod's life; in other words, they should feel like complete stories on their own.

Step 3: Let's get the ball rolling with a little prewriting, shall we? Based on our opening discussion questions, ask students to brainstorm some possibilities for future Bod adventures. You can do this as a whole class or in small groups. If students are stuck, toss out a few of these ideas to get things started:

• One adventure might be finding Scarlett. Where is she? Does she remember him? What happens to them?
• Another adventure might be to go and visit Silas. What's he up to?
• Perhaps Bod travels to some of the exotic places the book mentions. Who will he meet there? What happens to him?
• Maybe Bod meets a distant relative someday or someone who knew his family when they were alive.
• Maybe Bod eventually goes to college or gets a job or gets married.
• Maybe he has a child of his own. Will he teach his kids about the graveyard powers?
• Will he ever return to the graveyard? What will have changed by the time he goes back?
• Maybe Bod even ends up buried in the graveyard when he dies. What happens then?

Step 4: Once you have a good list of possible stories, students will choose the adventure for their story and begin to outline what happens. Remind students that every story should have a problem that Bod has to solve. It might be a good idea to go back to the text and identify the big problem in each chapter of the novel. For example, in Chapter 4, the problem is that the witch needs a headstone. The story comes from what happens to Bod as he tries to solve this problem.

Step 5: Brainstorm? Check. Outline? Check. Now it's time to draft, right? Not quite. (Hey, that rhymes!) Before students start writing their stories, remind them that they are trying to write a chapter that would feel as though it belongs in The Graveyard Book. That means they need to keep major elements of the story and characters (especially Bod's character) in mind as they write. For example, Bod has always been curious and thirsty for knowledge, so that character trait should be intact in students' stories. Bod can't suddenly become a lump who's not interested in the world. Who would want to read about that guy anyway?

So, before students jump into drafting, they will go back over their outline or story plan and find three to five pieces of text evidence that support the choices they've made in their story. If something in the story doesn't fit with the novel, students should make changes to their plans before they begin to write.

Step 6: Now it's time to draft. At this point, students can complete most of the work at home, or you can use class time to have writing workshops and peer reviews if you've got the space in your schedule. When students are finished, have them read their stories to the class or share them in small groups. It also might be fun to try and organize them in a timeline of Bod's life after the graveyard and publish a class "Volume Two" of The Graveyard Book.

Instructions for Your Students

Don't you just hate it when an author leaves you hanging? Well, that is exactly what Gaiman does in The Graveyard Book. We exit with Bod as he leaves the graveyard not knowing where he is going or what will happen next. We don't even know his real name. Despite our curiosity, the ending does provide us with a great opportunity to imagine what will happen next.

In this lesson, you will write a ninth chapter for The Graveyard Book, using Bod's character traits and Gaiman's writing style as a guide. We know from his conversations with Mr. Jones, that Bod has heard tales of different continents and vacation destinations, but where will he go? What will he do with his life? What adventure will he find next? That is for you to decide.

Step 1: What's up with the ending of The Graveyard Book? We don't know Bod's real name, and we don't know where he's headed. Technically he's still a kid and he's just heading out into the world alone? Could this be grounds for a sequel?

  • How did you feel about the ending of the book? Were you satisfied that the story is over, or does it feel like the novel leaves you hanging, wanting to know more?
  • What do you think will happen to Bod out in the real world? Is he ready to make it on his own? Why or why not?
  • If you were Bod, where would you go first? Why?
  • If there is a sequel to the book, where do you think it will take place?
  • Where do you think Bod will choose for a home?
  • Do you think he will try to find Scarlett? Will he go visit Silas? Why or why not?
  • What about the places Mr. Jones told Bod about? Do you think he will choose one of those to visit? Why or why not?
  • Ultimately what do you think Bod will do with his life? Will he be a world traveler or will he eventually settle down and have a normal job? What kind of job would suit Bod?
  • Do you think Bod will ever return to the graveyard? Why or why not?
  • Are there any clues from the text that could help us answer some of these questions?

For more discussion fodder, check out some of our thoughts about the ending.

Step 2: Let's have a chat about the novel's structure and writing style. The cool thing about this book is that it's one part novel, and one part collection of short stories. Rather than reading about Bod's entire life from start to finish, we get these little episodes along the way as Bod grows up. Each chapter tells us about one of his graveyard adventures, and sometimes we leap way ahead in the timeline of Bod's life from one chapter to the next.

For this activity, you are going to take Gaiman's style and run with it. You will write a ninth chapter for The Graveyard Book where you will imagine one adventure Bod has out in the world on his own. Following Gaiman's style, this chapter can take place soon after Bod leaves the graveyard, or you can jump way ahead and imagine what Bod is up to when he's much older. Like the book, these chapters should tell the story of one adventure in Bod's life; in other words, they should feel like complete stories on their own.

Step 3: Let's get the ball rolling with a little prewriting, shall we? Based on our opening discussion questions, brainstorm some possibilities for future Bod adventures. Stuck? Try a few of these prompts to get things started:

  • One adventure might be finding Scarlett. Where is she? Does she remember him? What happens to them? 
  • Another adventure might be to go and visit Silas. What's he up to?
  • Perhaps Bod travels to some of the exotic places the book mentions. Who will he meet there? What happens to him? 
  • Maybe Bod meets a distant relative someday or someone who knew his family when they were alive.
  • Maybe Bod eventually goes to college or gets a job or gets married. 
  • Maybe he has a child of his own. Will he teach his kids about the graveyard powers? 
  • Will he ever return to the graveyard? What will have changed by the time he goes back? 
  • Maybe Bod even ends up buried in the graveyard when he dies. What happens then?

Step 4: From our list or from your own brilliant ideas, you will choose an adventure to write about for your story and begin to outline what happens. Remember that every story should have a problem that Bod has to solve. Not sure what we mean? Try going back to the text and identify the big problem in each chapter of the novel. For example, in Chapter 4, the problem is that the witch needs a headstone. The story comes from what happens to Bod as he tries to solve this problem. Get it?

Step 5: Brainstorm? Check. Outline? Check. Now it's time to draft, right? Not quite. (Hey, that rhymes!) Before you start writing your stories, remember that you are trying to write a chapter that would feel as though it belongs in The Graveyard Book. That means you need to keep major elements of the story and characters (especially Bod's character) in mind as you write. For example, Bod has always been curious and thirsty for knowledge, so that character trait should be intact in your stories. Bod can't suddenly become a lump who's not interested in the world. Who would want to read about that guy anyway?

So, before you jump into drafting, you will go back over your outline or story plan and find three to five pieces of text evidence that support the choices you've made in your story. If something in the story doesn't fit with the novel, you should make changes to your plans before you begin to write.

Step 6: Now it's time to draft. You'll write your story from beginning to end, and you may even have a chance to peer review and revise it. When you're finished, you will read your stories to the class or share them in small groups. Then we'll organize them in a timeline of Bod's life after the graveyard and publish a class "Volume Two" of The Graveyard Book. And just like that, you'll all become published authors.

Already have a license?
CLICK HERE to sign in!

OPTIONS FOR PURCHASE

I am buying...
I am buying...
For teacher(s).
Price: $14.92
Good things come
in affordable packages.
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR
SCHOOL OR DISTRICT
Teachers, want access to all courses for your own use at a low monthly rate?
Subscribe for only as long as you need.
Share


WANT MORE HELP TEACHING THE GRAVEYARD BOOK?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Quizzes    Flashcards    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
back to top