The One-Eyed Giant by Mary Pope Osborne

Lesson Plans by Ashley Trudeau

Find these Common Core aligned lesson plans and more like them in our Elementary School Category!

The One-Eyed Giant Lesson Plans

Student Activities for The One-Eyed Giant Include:

The One-Eyed Giant is the first book in the Tales from the Odyssey series by Mary Pope Osborne that retells the thrilling stories from Homer’s Odyssey for kids. The book is a perfect read-aloud for younger elementary students and will definitely foster an interest in Greek mythology.

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The One-Eyed Giant Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Visual Vocabulary

The One Eyed Giant - Vocabulary
The One Eyed Giant - Vocabulary


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A great way to engage your students is by creating a storyboard that uses vocabulary from The One-Eyed Giant. In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using sentences and corresponding images. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their reading of the text. The sentences and images validate the understanding of the word and the context that it was used in the story.Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the story and an example of a visual vocabulary board.

Example The One-Eyed Giant Vocabulary Words

  • provisions
  • bleat
  • brute
  • jubilant
  • famished
  • nymph
  • lair
  • distraught
  • bellowed
  • fate
  • despaired
  • mourned
  • haste

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Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in The One-Eyed Giant 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
Vocabulary Template Blank


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

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Character Map

The One Eyed Giant - Character Map
The One Eyed Giant - Character Map


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As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. A story like The One-Eyed Giant has many characters to keep track of and a character log can help keep them straight.

For a fun idea, try using a character map like the one below to conduct an internet research project. Students can research the Greek gods, goddesses, and other characters in the story, to learn more information than what the book tells them.

Here is an example for Odysseus:

Physical Appearance

  • strong

Character Traits

  • lives a simple life
  • loves the company of his family
  • brave warrior
  • leader of men


  • "Although he was a brave warrior and leader of men, his love for his family overshadowed all else."

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Setting Map

The One Eyed Giant - Setting Map
The One Eyed Giant - Setting Map


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Creating a setting map allows students to document Odysseus’s journey.

In the storyboard, each setting should be visually represented, along with a description of the scene. Details, characters, and textual evidence can be added to reinforce the setting.

In the example below, the story begins with Odysseus at his home in Ithaca.


  • Odysseus is forced to leave his family and go to war with the other Greeks against Troy.

Island of Lotus Eaters

  • Driven off course by storms, Odysseus landed on the island of the Lotus Eaters. There his men ate lotuses that made them forgetful.

Island of Cyclops

  • After freeing his crew, Odysseus stopped on an island of Cyclopes. He and his men were captured by Polyphemus, the son Poseidon. To escape Odysseus and his men blinded the Cyclops. As they sail away, Polyphemus asks his father to curse Odysseus so he may never return home.

Palace of Aeolus

  • Next, Odysseus went to the island of Aeolus, who gave Odysseus a bag of wind, to help them return home. As they reached Ithaca, the greedy sailors opened the bag, thinking it was gold, and blew them back to Aeolus. At this point, Aeolus believed Odysseus was cursed, and refused to help him further.

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Sequence of Events

The One Eyed Giant - Sequence
The One Eyed Giant - Sequence


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An exceptional way to help your students follow a story is for them to track the events from it. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, it also reinforces major events, which helps students develop better understanding of how the events fit together to provide the overall structure of the story.


Agamemnon, calls for all Kings and Prices to wage war against Troy. A Trojan has kidnapped his wife, Helen. A messenger comes and makes Odysseus go to war, even though he doesn't want to.


10 years pass and they still have not saved Helen. Many Trojans and Greeks die in battle. The goddess Athena tells Odysseus of a plan to help rescue Helen. They build the Trojan Horse.


The Greeks rescue Helen but anger the gods while doing so. The gods force the Greek ships to stop their trip home at the Island of the Lotus-Eaters where three men of Odysseus' get their memories erased.


The ships set sail again, but the gods force them to stop their journey at another island. Odysseus's curiosity leads them to the cave of the cyclops, Polyphemus, where the soldiers are trapped inside.


To try to escape, Odysseus, gets the monster drunk and then stabs him in the eye. Odysseus tells the monster that his name is, "No One". When Polyphemus calls for help, he is shouting, "NO ONE hurt me" and the other cyclops stop trying to help.


The men escape by hiding under the bellies of sheep. Odysseus taunts the monster, because he thinks he is safe, and tells the monster his real name. Polyphemus tells him that he is part of a prophecy, that has now come true. Polyphemus puts a curse on Odysseus.


Odysseus and his men find shelter at Aeolus's fortress. Aeolus enjoys Odysseus' stories of the war. Aeolus helps Odysseus by trapping all the winds in a bag, so Odysseus could have a safe journey home to Ithaca.


The men can see the shores of Ithaca and are almost home, until, some of the men open up the bag of winds, which causes a huge storm. Their ships are blown far, far away from home. Odysseus is upset but vows that he will make it home to Ithaca.

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Identify Themes

The One Eyed Giant Theme
The One Eyed Giant Theme


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Several themes are present in the novel. Students can pick a theme to explore and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme in The One-Eyed Giant is hospitality.


Throughout his journey, Odysseus and his men are continually tossed into different settings. On each island, they believe that they are entitled to the custom of Greek hospitality. Hosts are expected to provide food, shelter, and protection to any traveler, and guest are expected to be respectful and grateful. In The One-Eyed Giant, breaking these rules brings misfortune and the disfavor of the gods.

"’We are not pirates,’ he said. ‘We are Greeks blown off course by storm winds. Will you offer us the gift of hospitality like a good host? If you do, mighty Zeus, king of the gods, will be pleased.’”

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The One-Eyed Giant Summary

Agamemnon, ruler of all Greek Islands calls for all kings and princes to wage war against Troy. A Trojan prince has kidnapped a Greek queen named Helen. He sends a messenger to the island of Ithaca to order Odysseus, king of Ithaca, to join them in battle. As much as Odysseus tries to refuse, he has to go to war to help his men.

For the next ten years, Odysseus and thousand of other Greek warriors camp outside the walls of Troy. Helen still remains a captive behind Troy’s walls. Odysseus is feeling defeated and homesick. He starts to think he will never be able to return home. Suddenly, the goddess of wisdom and war, Athena appears. She gives Odysseus a plan to take Helen back from the Trojans. The Greeks do as she says and they build a giant wooden horse. Some men hide in the horse, while the rest pretend to retreat. When the Trojans see the horse, they are skeptical at first, but decide to bring it into the city walls. The Greeks surprise the Trojans and rescue Helen.

Odysseus is joyful; he and his men prepare to head home to Ithaca. However, some of the men had disrespected Athena’s temple and this angered the gods, causing storms to drive them off course to the Island of the Lotus Eaters. Here, some of Odysseus’s men are offered bright flowers to eat, and as they do they fall into a peaceful sleep. The flowers take away all the men’s memories. Odysseus forces all his men to leave the island at once. Back at sea, the gods create more storms that lead Odysseus’s men to another unfamiliar island.

On this island, Odysseus and his men find food and shelter. There is a mysterious shore in the distance which sparks the Odysseus’s curiosity, and he has to find out who lives there. He takes a few of his men and heads over to the shore. They find an empty cave and decide to wait for the owner to come home, where they will offer him some wine for his hospitality. The men are surprised when the owner of the cave comes back and they find it is a monstrous Cyclops named Polyphemus. Polyphemus, not knowing the soldiers are inside, closes the cave with a giant boulder. When Polyphemus sees the Greeks, he gets angry, and as Odysseus is trying to ask for his hospitality, he smashes two soldiers together and eats them.

Odysseus devises a plan to escape. When the giant returns from his daily duties, Odysseus offers him wine. Polyphemus drinks a lot of wine and becomes a bit drunk. In his drunken state, Polyphemus, asks Odysseus’ name. Odysseus says his name is “No One”. The monster then falls asleep, and as he does, Odysseus drives a stake right through the Cyclops’s eye, blinding him. As Polyphemus cries for help, his friends shout from outside the cave to him, but all the monster keeps saying is, “No One tried to kill me!”, so they retreat back, thinking Polyphemus must be sick.

Polyphemus does not want the men to escape, so he moves the boulder and sits at the entrance of his cave, saying he will kill anyone that dares go past. Odysseus devises another plan and has his men hide under the bellies of the sheep. The men escape and meet up with the rest of the soldiers. As they are setting sail to head home, Odysseus makes a grand mistake, and tells the monster his name. Polyphemus yells to his father, Poseidon, asking him to curse Odysseus and make it so he will never return home.

Odysseus and his men stop at the palace of Aeolus to rest from their long journey. Aeolus, god of wind, is very hospitable. Odysseus tells the wind god all his stories of war, which pleases the god. Odysseus asks if Aeolus will help him get home to Ithaca, and Aeolus agrees by putting all the winds into a bag. With no worries of storms, Odysseus sets sail to hopefully get home. The men row and row, and see the shore of Ithaca. Odysseus is jubilant! However, some greedy men open the bag of winds, thinking it is gold, and storms come to blow Odysseus and his fleet far off course. When Odysseus returns to Aeolus’ palace to ask for help, the god tells him that Odysseus is cursed and will not help him anymore. Odysseus is heartbroken, homesick and not sure what to expect next.

Essential Questions for The One-Eyed Giant

  1. Why was hospitality so important to the Gods and why did Odysseus expect it?
  2. What are some characteristics of a good leader?

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•   (English) The One-Eyed Giant   •   (Español) El Gigante de un Solo ojo   •   (Français) Le Géant à un Oeil   •   (Deutsch) Der Einäugige Riese   •   (Italiana) La One-Eyed Giant   •   (Nederlands) De One-Eyed Giant   •   (Português) O Gigante de Um Olho   •   (עברית) The One-Eyed ענק   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) في إحدى العينين والعملاق   •   (हिन्दी) एक-आंखवाले विशालकाय   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Одноглазый Великан   •   (Dansk) One-Eyed Giant   •   (Svenska) Den Enögde Giant   •   (Suomi) Yksisilmäinen Giant   •   (Norsk) One-Eyed Giant   •   (Türkçe) Tek Gözlü Dev   •   (Polski) Jednooki Giant   •   (Româna) One-Eyed Gigant   •   (Ceština) One-Eyed Giant   •   (Slovenský) The One-Eyed Giant   •   (Magyar) A One-Eyed Giant   •   (Hrvatski) One-Eyed Giant   •   (български) Едноокият Гигант   •   (Lietuvos) Vienas Akimis Milžinas   •   (Slovenščina) One-Eyed Giant   •   (Latvijas) One-Eyed Giant   •   (eesti) Üks-Eyed Giant