Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Monster Monday: The Good, the Bad, and the Sparkly

Vampire Tropes Through History

Margaret Salesky, Lindsey Link | Published: October 31st, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 120-160 minutes


Enter if you dare. This highly spooky lesson will have your students exploring the history, motivation, and global perspectives of vampires through excerpts and videos across time. Make sure when you embark on this adventure with your students that you keep a close eye on them throughout—vampires tend to hypnotize their prey. You may just find your entire class has succumbed to the lure of these creatures before the lesson is done!

Essential Question(s)

How do authors use similar tropes but come up with different variations of the same character?



Students engage in an Always, Sometimes, or Never True activity to get them thinking about popular vampire tropes.


Students use the Affinity Process strategy to generate a collection of common vampire tropes. Working as partners, students combine like tropes into categories. Students then work in a group to add other pairs’ tropes to their categories.


Interacting with several stories, students examine videos, analyze excerpts from texts, and read a nonfiction text about the history of vampires to determine the extent to which historical, cultural, and/or global perspectives affect authors’ stylistic choices when writing about vampires.


Students create a digital timeline to show how vampires have changed over time and what influenced each author’s iconic vampire characters.


Students create a one-pager to answer the questions, "How do these authors address the same topic?" and "How did these authors reach different conclusions due to the time period in which they wrote?"


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Notes About Vampires (attached; one per student)

  • Dracula Excerpts (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Interview With the Vampire Excerpts (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Twilight Excerpt (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Field Guide to Vampires (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Card Matching sets (optional; attached; one per student)

  • Vampires eLearning Activity

  • Sticky notes

  • Student devices with internet capability

  • Pen

  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

  • Blank paper (one per student)


Introduce the lesson using the attached Lesson Slides. Display slide 2 to share the essential question and slide 3 to go over the lesson's learning objectives.

Move to slide 4 and share the instructional strategy Always, Sometimes, or Never True with your students. Move to slide 5 and ask students whether the statement (“vampires have a reflection”) is always, sometimes, or never true. Have students discuss their thoughts with an Elbow Partner. Ask a few students to share their responses. Remind them to justify their answers.

Repeat this process for slides 6–9.


Move to slide 10. Share the definition of trope with your students:

  1. A recurring theme or motif, as in literature or art:

    The heroic trope.

  2. A convention or device that establishes a predictable or stereotypical representation of a character, setting, or scenario in a creative work:

    From her introduction in the movie, the character is nothing but a Damsel in Distress trope.

Display slide 11. Share the instructional strategy Affinity Process with your students. Have them write down as many characteristics of vampires as they can think of, with one characteristic per sticky note. Once your students have exhausted their prior knowledge, move to slide 12. Have students pair up and review their sets of sticky notes together. Have pairs group similar sticky notes together, then label these categories.

After pairs have completed their groupings, display slide 13. Have each pair combine with another pair, resulting in a group of four. Have these groups of four repeat the process.


Pass out the attached Notes About Vampires handout and instruct your students to take notes. Move to slide 14 and play the clip on the slide, “Angel - Introducing Angel Featurette (Season 1),” for students. Repeat this process with slides 15-17, with the clips “Blade Official Trailer #1,” “True Blood Pilot Opening Sequence,” and “The Strain | Trailer.”

The clips are also embedded below:

Display slide 18 and instruct your students to review their notes with an Elbow Partner.

Move to slide 19. Discuss Dracula author Bram Stoker with students, asking them to consider how the influences on the slide might have affected Dracula’s character. Repeat this on slide 20 (Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire), slide 21 (Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt’s Angel from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), slide 22 (Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight), slide 23 (Charlaine Harris’s The Southern Vampire Mysteries), slide 24 (Marvin Wolfman’s “Blade”), and slide 25 (Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain).

Move to slide 26 and share the link to the Vampires eLearning Activity with your students. Instruct them to continue taking notes as they go through the activity. They’ll use these notes later as references when working on the interactive timeline.


As students work through the eLearning activity, they should come to the final activity: an interactive timeline. Here, students sort the different works and tropes into a timeline, which shows how vampires in media have changed over time.

Let students know they should end up with one work (Twilight, True Blood, Dracula, etc.) per slot on the timeline. After they’ve sorted each work into a slot, the eLearning activity generates tropes for the students to match to each work.

Once your students have completed the eLearning activity (or Card Matching activity), use slides 32-43 to go over the answers.


Display slide 44. Share the One-Pager instructional strategy with students. Invite students to create their own One-Pager that illustrates and answers the questions, "How do these authors address the same topic?" and "How did these authors reach different conclusions due to the time period in which they wrote?"

Provide materials and have students create their One-Pagers.