The Everlasting Forrest Fenn (Advanced Reading Lesson Plan)

Download the lesson plan here: forrest-fenn-advanced-reading-lesson.docx

Note: This advanced ESL lesson plan is based on the (somewhat long) article The Everlasting Forrest Fenn. The lesson focuses on vocabulary, reading, speaking, and writing. You will need to print the article as well to use this lesson plan.

Pre-Reading: Vocabulary from “The Everlasting Forrest Fenn”


A. Read the following sentences and try to guess what the words in bold mean.

  1. “The book would also act as a cryptic guide to a treasure chest that Fenn was planning to hide somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.”


  1. “I kept asking the guy who gave me radiation what my chances were, and all he would say was, ` Mr. Fenn, you've got an uphill battle'.”


  1. “Fenn already knew that he didn't want to wither slowly away either……what he didn't know was how to end things on his own terms.”


  1. “Fenn tinkered with the box's contents constantly, aiming to create a stash that would dazzle anyone who opened it.”


  1. “The book's publication triggered an explosion of interest, surpassing even Fenn's loftiest expectations.”


  1. “For thousands who have been snared by Fenn's gambit, the treasure's location is an all-consuming mystery. Some have uprooted their lives to hunt for the chest.”


  1. “… all of them obsessed with the idea of the trove just sitting there for the taking, if only they could unravel Fenn's clues.”


  1. “There is a ceaseless deluge of email- 120 a day, arriving in a steady drumbeat of dings.”


  1. “There are, of course, the reporters, incessantly asking for quotes and interviews.”


  1. “ When you leave the confines of the cities, northern New Mexico grows very austere very quickly; the land comes to seem like varying altitudes of brown rock…”

Post-Reading: “The Everlasting Forrest Fenn” Discussion Questions

A. Discuss these questions with your group.

  1. There are many theories as to why Mr. Fenn hid a million dollar treasure and then wrote a poem with clues in it. Why do you think he did it? Do you think it is a good use of the money or would he be better off doing something else with the money? If you were him, would you have done the same?


  1. Why do you think some people spend time and money looking for the treasure?

`But you spent all your money looking for it.'

`I did', she laughed. `I had to sell everything I had out in Hawaii and came out here basically with a bunch of clothes.”

Is it just that they want the treasure or do you think that they are looking for something else? Adventure? Escape from their normal life?


  1. At the end of the essay Forrest Fenn says, “When someone finds that treasure chest, everybody's going to say, `My God! Why didn't I think of that?'” In English, we can sum up this idea with the expression, “hindsight is 20/20.”

Do you have a similar expression in your language? Does this apply to your life? Do you find that this expression tells a truth about life?


B. Choose one of the above questions and write your answer below.



ESL Lesson Plan on a hidden treasure created by Katarina Ohlsson of (copyright)

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4 comments on “The Everlasting Forrest Fenn (Advanced Reading Lesson Plan)

  1. Kath (Posted on 11-22-2017 at 20:48) Reply

    Post-discussion No. 1: Please correct grammar in question . . . If you were him, . . .When comparing things like Sally is tall and Mike is taller, you need to use subjective case. Mike is taller than SHE. Because the complete sentence in the mind is: Mike is taller than she is tall. Watch when using the word, ‘than’ with the ‘a’. It means there is a comparison. Find the two individual sentences. Combine them using than and you will see quickly that subjective case is needed. Your No. 1 question . . If you were he,. . .is correct. Needed for TOFL in all categories. English speakers are just as incorrect in using ‘than’ as ELLs.

    Katarina, your use of vocabulary includes more words than suggested for one lesson. Move closer to 7 or chunck them. Chunking would mean to group words that refer to something they each have in common. Body parts for arms, legs…facial expressions.

    Your elicitation for cultural variations is commendable. It is sufficient and allows for more of the story elements to be discussed.

    It is interesting to find this topic on an ESL lesson plan site.

    I used the poem part and its interpretation to create a story for Level 1 Beginner 6th graders. It included 7 vocabulary words relating to the Rocky Mountain area. There were animals and fly fishing with a surprise ending. I did not publish it or sell it. Wondering if you can offer suggestion on how to offer it to a site for story telling use with or without flannel boards. Presented in Thailand.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 11-24-2017 at 00:45) Reply

      Hello. The grammar in question No.1 is fine. We follow a grammar-in-use approach, not prescriptivism. Katarina does not monitor this post, so she will not be available to give advice. The lesson plan she made was contributed for free though, so I am doubtful that she would have any particular strategies for marketing the material you’ve created. All the best.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-27-2022 at 08:17) Reply


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