Empowering Writers

October 2018 Lesson of the Month

Lesson of the Month: Haunted House

Objective: Students will apply detail generating questions to create a descriptive piece on a haunted house.

 Materials: http://www.hauntedhouses.com/map.htm, https://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com


The House that Drac Built by Judy Sierra

In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

Find images of haunted houses on Pinterest or the Internet.


  1. Build background knowledge by reading books, showing pictures, taking a virtual trip of haunted houses.
  2. Create a senses chart. Ask: What would you see? What would you hear? What would you feel/touch? What would you smell?
  3. Ask more questions:
    1. How big is the house?
    2. What color(s) is the house?
    3. What kind of windows does it have?
    4. Does it have a porch? chimney?
    5. What type of decorations does it have?
    6. How many stories/levels does it have?
    7. What material is it made out of?
    8. How do you think it is?
    9. Who do you think lives there?
  4. Discuss where you might see a haunted house.
  5. To avoid redundant sentences, share some sentence starters with students.
    1. The house was no bigger than __________________.
    2. The _____(material) walls were painted ____________.
    3. The front of the house was _______________.
    4. A porch____________.
    5. It may have been inhabited by _______________.
    6. As I scanned the front, I noticed ____________.
    7. If you listened closely, you could __________.
    8. The air smelled _________.
    9. The yard around the house ____________.
    10. As I listened, I noticed __________.
    11. Observing the front, I was shocked to see ___________.
    12. The air around me __________.
  6. Once you finished answering the questions and discussing the house, model a descriptive piece using some of the responses and sentence starters.

The unusual house stood at the end of the street. The spooky dwelling was no bigger than any of the other 2-story houses in the neighborhood but had a strange sense of dread that made me shiver. Cracked and peeling paint covered the outside walls to show its aging appearance. A large, wrap-around porch with broken floor boards made me cautious to wander too closely. As I scanned the front, I noticed rotted trim and broken windows. As I moved closer, I could hear a slight whispering calling out to me. I wondered who inhabited this creepy residence. With my racing heart and gut telling me to get away, I decided to leave this exploration for another day!

**For older students, become realtors and create a “House for Sale” flyer. This could be an expository, opinion, or persuasive piece.