Gothic Horror Word Cloud

Name of the Activity: Gothic Horror Word Cloud

Skill Focus: Writing

Sub-skill focus: Descriptive writing

Level: Year 7 students (Secondary)

Estimated time: 1 hour

Group size: 20

Learning Objectives: To learn descriptive writing

Materials: A 4 sheets, coloured pens, and images that provoke horror


  1. Teacher has to display 3-4 gothic horror images on a smart board and then write the word “Horror” on the white board. Give the students two to three minutes to come up with as many words as they can to convey fear. (5 minutes)
  2. Divide the students into groups of four. Ask them to share their words with each other.  They have to put these words in the form of a word cloud. They can write one word and design it with other horror vocabulary. Encourage the students to use fonts that create a spooky effect. (15 minutes) (student work sample attached)
  3. Ask the students to put up their word clouds on the soft board and then walk around the class and make a list of at least 10 new/favourite words they have learnt. (10 minutes)
  4. Get the students to write an opening paragraph (80-100 words) for their gothic story using their 10 favourite/new words (15 minutes). The teacher has to walk around and review the work of the students.
  5. Ask the students to read their opening paragraph and share their work with the class. (10 minutes)
  6. Ask the students to reflect on their work. Get them to write one thing they could achieve, and give them one target to work upon. Example of student reflection: I picked 10 new words, however, I could only use 4 words in my writing. I should aim to use sophisticated vocabulary to create a scary mood.  Example of a target: Aim to use strong adjectives to describe the place and create a spooky mood (5 minutes).

Follow-on Activity: Students can use the horror word bank to describe their gothic character. This will reinforce the use of new words.

Evaluation: Students will be encouraged to read their work in class. They will assess their own work as mentioned above. As a class, the work done by the students (both word clouds and opening paragraph) can be put up on the display board which will serve as an opportunity for both peer assessment and peer learning.


Amanpreet Sawhney is an English Language and Literature teacher, and is currently working for the English Department at The British School, Delhi.