Myths: Not Just Long Ago | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M1

Myths: Not Just Long Ago

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In this module, students are involved in a deep study of mythology, its purposes, and elements. Students will read Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief (780L), a high-interest novel about a sixth-grade boy on a hero's journey. Some students may be familiar with this popular fantasy book; in this module, students will read with a focus on the archetypal journey and close reading of the many mythical allusions. As they begin the novel, students also will read a complex informational text that explains the archetypal storyline of the hero's journey which has been repeated in literature throughout the centuries. Through the close reading of literary and informational texts, students will learn multiple strategies for acquiring and using academic vocabulary. Students will also build routines and expectations of discussion as they work in small groups.  At the end of Unit 1, having read half of the novel, students will explain, with text-based evidence, how Percy is an archetypal hero.

In Unit 2, students will continue reading The Lightning Thief (more independently): in class, they will focus on the novel's many allusions to classic myths; those allusions will serve as an entry point into a deeper study of Greek mythology. They also will continue to build their informational reading skills through the close reading of texts about the close reading of texts about the elements of myths. This will create a conceptual framework to support students' reading of mythology. As a whole class, students will closely read several complex Greek myths. They then will work in small groups to build expertise on one of those myths.

In Unit 3, students shift their focus to narrative writing skills. This series of writing lessons will scaffold students to their final performance task in which they will apply their knowledge about the hero's journey and the elements of mythology to create their own hero's journey stories. This task centers on ELA standards RL.6.3, W.6.3, W.6.4, W.6.5, W.6.6, W.6.1c, L.6.2, and L.6.3.


Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • What is the hero's journey?
  • What makes a myth?
  • Why do myths matter? 
  • The hero's journey is an archetypal storyline used over the course of centuries. 
  • The hero's journey helps us to better understand characters in literature and their response to challenges. 
  • All stories have universal elements and themes.

Content Connections

  • This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies content that may align to additional teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.

Social Studies Core Curriculum

  • Classical civilizations developed and grew into large empires characterized by powerful centralized governments, advanced commerce and trade systems, and complex social hierarchies. The scientific and cultural achievements of these civilizations continue to affect the world today.

- The classical era was marked by an increase in the number and size of civilizations.

- Classical civilizations maintained social order through various political systems that corresponded to the values of their citizens.

 - Ancient civilizations made scientific, cultural, and political discoveries that have shaped our understanding of the world today.

  • Major religions and belief systems developed as civilizations grew, which unified societies but also became a major source of tension and conflict.

- Belief systems and religions are sets of mutual values that help to explain the way the world and humanity work

 - Over time, civilizations developed belief systems and religions that differed across place but shared similar themes.

- Belief systems and religions unify groups of people and are woven into the social organization of societies.


Each unit file includes teacher materials and student-facing materials.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
one per student
ISBN: 978-0786838653, 0786838655
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978- 0440406945, 0440406943


Each module is approximately 8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

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