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Ghost of the Lagoon by Armstrong Sperry

Teacher Guide by Anna Warfield

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Middle School ELA Category!

Student Activities for Ghost of the Lagoon Include:

"Ghost of the Lagoon" is a short story about a boy and a monster in Bora Bora. Mako must master his fear and push himself to the limits if he is to survive. This tale is filled with vivid imagery and rich language that you and your students are sure to love.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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A Quick Synopsis of "Ghost of the Lagoon"

Mako and his family live on the island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. One night, Mako's grandfather tells him of a creature that inhabits the lagoon near the village. This creature, Tupa, has frightened the villagers for many years. King Opu Nui has even offered a reward for Tupa’s capture.

At first, Mako’s mother admonishes Mako and his grandfather for even speaking of Tupa. After momentary consideration, she thinks it is time that Mako learns the truth about his father. His father was one of three fishermen who was killed by the great white shark. Mako vows to kill the shark, to avenge his father and claim the reward.

Mako's mother sends him on an errand, and Mako travels with his dog, Afa, to a nearby island to pick some bananas and oranges. Mako imagines the reef as a great white shark and dreams of defeating Tupa. He has even practiced sending his spear through the “eyes” of the imagined shark.

After collecting bananas and oranges, Mako heads for home. He sees Tupa’s dorsal fin circling the canoe, and Afa barks and moves around in the canoe. Afa falls into the water and is in danger! Mako spears the shark in one eye, and then the other. Mako paddles cautiously toward the weakened shark and delivers a final blow.

Mako ties the shark's tail to the boat and tows it behind his canoe. He brings the shark back home. The villagers are thrilled that Mako has defeated Tupa who has been a fierce predator in the area. Mako is rewarded with thirty acres of land and a canoe after a celebration feast the next day.


Essential Questions for "Ghost of the Lagoon"

  1. What makes a person brave?
  2. What risks does a courageous person take?
  3. What dreams or desires make us take risks?
  4. How does setting influence the story’s plot or character conflicts?

Ghost of the Lagoon Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

"Ghost of the Lagoon" Vocabulary Lesson Plan


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Learning new vocabulary is an important part of reading any story. Often, new words in an unfamiliar context need to be mastered before a student can understand what’s happening in a story. This is especially important when the story is set in a different time or different country and many words or context is quite unlike what students know.

In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using a spider map. After choosing a word, students provide a definition and an image or scene that illustrates the word. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their own reading of the text.


Example "Ghost of the Lagoon" Vocabulary Words

  • lagoon
  • pandanus
  • vulnerable
  • reef
  • harpoon
  • expedition
  • phosphorus

Ghost of the Lagoon - Vocab

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in "Ghost of the Lagoon" by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Vocabulary Template Blank

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Plot Diagram | "Ghost of the Lagoon" Summary


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A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures. Sometimes students will really have to think carefully about which events are major turning points in the plot.

Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.



Example "Ghost of the Lagoon" Plot Diagram

Exposition

One night, Mako's grandfather tells him of a creature that inhabits the lagoon near the village. This creature, Tupa, has frightened the villagers for many years. King Opu Nui has offered a reward for Tupa’s capture.


Conflict

Mako’s mother believes it is time for Mako to learn the truth, and the main conflict arises. His father was one of the fishermen who was killed by the shark, Tupa. He vows to kill the shark to avenge his father and to claim the reward.


Rising Action

Mako's mother sends him on an errand. Mako and his dog, Afa, travel to a nearby island to pick some bananas and oranges. Mako imagines the reef as a great white shark, and dreams of defeating Tupa.


Climax

Mako sees Tupa’s dorsal fin circling the canoe. Afa falls into the water and is in danger! Mako kills the shark with his spear.


Falling Action

After Mako’s great victory, Mako ties the shark's tail to the boat and tows it behind him. He brings the shark back home.


Resolution

The villagers are thrilled that Mako has defeated Tupa. Mako will be awarded thirty acres of land and a canoe after a celebration feast the next day.


Ghost of the Lagoon - Plot Diagram

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of "Ghost of the Lagoon".


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
  5. Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.



Plot Diagram Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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"Ghost of the Lagoon" Figurative Language


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Rich imagery engages the reader, and figurative language is one device that makes writing more interesting and vivid. In this activity, students choose a form of figurative language, such as metaphor, personification, hyperbole, or simile. Using a grid layout, students find 1-3 instances of that form of figurative language in the text and illustrate it using the Storyboard That library and Photos For Class. Students will enjoy blending the literal and figurative meanings!


Examples of Simile in "Ghost of the Lagoon"

Simile - A Comparison Using 'Like' or 'As'

  • "Downward, swift as sound, the spear plunged into a white shoulder."

  • "His words fell upon the air like stones dropped into a deep well."

  • "A school of fish swam by like silver arrows."


The Ghost of the Lagoon - Figurative language

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows examples of figurative language in "Ghost of the Lagoon".


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify one form of figurative language, such as simile or metaphor, and type it in the title box on the left.
  3. Give a definition and example of the type of figurative language below the title box.
  4. Quote three examples from the text in the description boxes.
  5. Illustrate the example using using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.



Expanded Fig Language

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Prefer a different language?

•   (English) Ghost of the Lagoon   •   (Español) Fantasma de la Laguna   •   (Français) Le Fantôme de la Lagune   •   (Deutsch) Gespenst der Lagune   •   (Italiana) Fantasma Della Laguna   •   (Nederlands) Ghost van de Lagune   •   (Português) Fantasma da Lagoa   •   (עברית) רוח רפאים של הלגונה   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) شبح البحيرة