Maus Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Teach your students about Art Spiegelman's graphic novel 'Maus' with this lesson plan. Using a text lesson, students will read a summary and discuss the book's ideas. They will then create their own graphic novel panel to show what they've learned.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • provide an objective summary of Maus by Art Spiegelman.
  • discuss themes in Maus.
  • explain Spiegelman's use of anthropomorphic animals as characters in a book about the Holocaust.


This lesson plan is for use after students have finished reading the graphic novel Maus


60 - 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.



Summarizing Maus

  • Place the class into groups of four. Have each group create a flow chart graphic organizer of the major events from the book to objectively summarize the novel. Also have them write down at least two of the big ideas they think are expressed in the book.
  • Distribute copies of Maus by Art Spiegelman: Summary & Analysis and have students compare the summary presented in the text lesson to their summaries.
  • Lead the class in a discussion of the skill of summarization and how to decide which details are they key ones to include. Be sure to discuss what makes a summary objective.

Ideas in Maus

  • Next, discuss the big ideas the students chose and how those compare with the ones listed in the lesson.
  • Ask students to find examples in the novel that represent major ideas like survivor guilt, father son relationships and the representation of different groups as animals.
  • Display a page from the novel and explain to students how the panels don't represent all the action. A strong reader of graphic novels must also consider what isn't shown - the action that takes place between the panels.

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