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(Recording courtesy of The Walking Classroom Institute. More about the recording)
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In this lesson, The Walking Classroom students share with The Walking Classroom the narrative poem, “Casey at the Bat.” The students break apart the poem stanza by stanza to show how narrative poetry tells a story.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Identify the elements of a narrative poem
  • Analyze the plot and characters within “Casey at the Bat”

Teacher planning

Time required

This lesson requires about 35 to 40 minutes of class time.

  • Introduction and overview: 5 minutes
  • Walk: 20 to 25 minutes
  • Review and quiz: 5 to 10 minutes

Materials needed

Copies of “Casey at the Bat” comprehension quiz
Pen or pencil

Technology resources

Each student will need an MP3 player with the podcast loaded onto it.

Student handouts

“Casey at the Bat” comprehension quiz
If you want to compare student comprehension before and after listening, administer the Comprehension Quiz before doing anything related to the podcast. Retest after walking.
Open as PDF (108 KB, 1 page)


  1. Review key vocabulary (included definitions are limited to the context of today’s podcast)
    narrative (noun)
    A retelling in words of something that happened; the re-telling of a story rather than the story itself.
    The batter hit the ball out of the park in seconds, but the narrative he told of the story after the game took ten minutes from start to finish!
    stanza (noun)
    A grouping of lines within a poem that are set off by a space, often having a set pattern.
    Each stanza of the poem consisted of four lines.
  2. Build background by asking students, “What do you think of when you hear the word poem?”
    (allow time for discussion)
  3. Podcast preview: “Today we’re going to listen to a podcast about a specific kind of poem called a narrative poem. Not all poetry follows “the rules” we use to define poems. As we walk, think about what the poem is telling you. Is it more than just ‘a poem’?”
  4. Walk!
  5. Return to class and discuss the main ideas and highlights of the podcast. Main ideas and highlights might include:
    • Narrative poems tell stories about events.
    • Narrative poems include characters, setting, and plot.
    • “Casey at the Bat” is a famous poem about a batter whose over-confidence contributes to his team losing the game.
  6. Administer comprehension quiz.


  1. Enthusiastically ask students how they feel post-walk. Foster a healthy attitude toward exercise by reminding students that physical activity improves brain function.
  2. The character of Casey tells us a little bit about the difference between being confident and being too confident. Was Casey too confident? Was there ever a time in your life when you felt overconfident about something? What happened?
  3. The Mudville Hens lost the game that day. Do you think this was Casey’s fault? When you are part of a team, is it right to blame one teammate for winning or losing? Is it one player’s responsibility or the entire team’s win or loss?
  4. If someone from the other team was writing a poem about this same baseball game, do you think the story might be told a little differently? How might they have changed it a bit in their “narrative” of events?


Use the comprehension quiz to assess student understanding of the lesson.


  1. a
  2. c
  3. b
  4. b
  5. a
  6. c
  7. 1,3,2
  8. b
  9. a
  10. a

Critical vocabulary

narrative (noun)
A retelling in words of something that happened; the re-telling of a story rather than the story itself.
stanza (noun)
A grouping of lines within a poem that are set off by a space, often having a set pattern.


The Walking Classroom is an award-winning, nationally recognized, in-school fitness initiative and obesity intervention that improves health literacy and builds core content knowledge while addressing different learning styles. The method is quite simple: students take brisk 20-minute walks (preferably outside) while listening to specially written and recorded content which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Detailed lesson plans contain defined objectives, discussion questions, and comprehension quizzes for each educational podcast, so that when students return from their walk, the content can be effectively reviewed and synthesized. If you are interested in more educational podcasts for your students, please visit The Walking Classroom website.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 5
          • 5.RL.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
          • 5.RL.5 Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.