Greek Mythology | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2019 G6:M1

Greek Mythology

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Why do Greek myths continue to be relevant and popular today? In this module, students meet figures from ancient Greek mythology who are placed in a contemporary setting and evaluate how stories from a different time and place continue to resonate.

Students begin Unit 1 by launching their reading of The Lightning Thief. Students analyze how the author develops the point of view of the narrator, and then strategize to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases, including figurative language. In the second half of Unit 1, students prepare for a Socratic Seminar discussion by analyzing how Percy, the main character, responds to challenges. They create discussion norms to have productive text-based discourse about the novel. Theme is also introduced in the second half of the unit in preparation for Unit 2.

In Unit 2, students continue to read The Lightning Thief, some parts in class and others for homework. They analyze the Greek myths highlighted in the novel and compare themes and topics in the Greek myths with those evident in The Lightning Thief. In the second half of the unit, students write a literary analysis essay using the Painted Essay® structure, comparing and contrasting the treatment of events in the movie The Lightning Thief with the same events in the novel.

In Unit 3, students reimagine a scene from The Lightning Thief, writing themselves into the action as a different demigod from Camp Half-Blood. They research a Greek god of their choosing (or another traditional figure for those who don’t feel comfortable imagining themselves as a child of a Greek god) and use their research to create a new character, the child of that figure. Students develop the attributes of that character and strategically insert the character into a scene from the novel, editing carefully so as not to change the outcome of the story. At the end of the module, students create a presentation outlining their choices and reasoning for the performance task.

Notes from the Designer

The Lightning Thief incorporates many figures from Greek mythology into the plot, including gods, goddesses, and monsters. Be mindful about issues and characterizations that may be sensitive for students or with which some students may connect personally or deeply. Students may be surprised or offended by the relationship depicted between gods and humans. They may also be disturbed by the description of battles between demigods and monsters. Allow time and space for students to reflect on and speak about their reactions.

During lessons, students read excerpts from the anchor text rather than complete chapters to ensure sufficient time for students to think and respond to the text. Invite students who would like to read the rest of the chapter to do so for homework. If there is extended time for language arts, reading the entire chapter might be an option.

In Unit 3, students research a Greek god or goddess in preparation for the end of unit assessment, in which they rewrite a scene of The Lightning Thief, inserting a new character of their own creation. To maintain the first person point of view, students rewrite the scene as if they are their new character, a child of a Greek god or goddess of their choosing. Some students and their families may find this exercise in conflict with their religious views. Create a safe space for students’ concerns, and be prepared with alternative ways for students to complete the assessment.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

What is mythology, and what is the value of studying mythology from other cultures?

  • A collection of stories featuring traditional figures that explain natural phenomena and convey the values of the culture.
  • Studying stories from other cultures introduces alternative perspectives and amplifies one's worldview.

Why have stories from Greek mythology remained popular?

  • They teach themes that are still relevant.
  • They contain figures whose attributes are valued across time.
  • They ask questions about the human condition.
  • They remain relatable because they can be reimagined to fit different environments and time periods.

How does point of view change with experience?

  • A narrator's or character's understanding of an experience changes depending on one's point of view.
  • Examining multiple points of view supports a more complex understanding of our own and others' choices and beliefs.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block. But 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.

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

  • D2.Geo.10.6-8. Analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world.
  • D2.His.4.6-8. Analyze multiple factors that influenced the perspectives of people during different historical eras.
  • D2.His.6.6-8. Analyze how people's perspectives influenced what information is available in the historical sources they created.
  • D4.1.6-8. Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the arguments.
  • D4.3.6-8. Present adaptations of arguments and explanations on topics of interest to others to reach audiences and venues outside the classroom using print and oral technologies (e.g., posters, essays, letters, debates, speeches, reports, and maps) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet, social media, and digital documentary).

Independent Research Reading

  • The ability to read and comprehend texts is the heart of literacy instruction. Comprehension is taught, reinforced, and assessed in the module lessons.
  • In this module, students read research texts independently for homework and engage in frequent research reading shares during the module lesson for accountability. They will share their learning and connections to the module topic in Unit 3, Lesson 1.

Technology and Multimedia

  • Online word processing: Complete note-catchers. Increase collaboration and manage materials by completing note-catchers and composing essays.
  • Speech-to-text/text-to-speech: Compose essays. Increase writing fluency by allowing students to fill in note-catchers and compose essays using this function.
    • Many newer devices already have this capability; there are also free apps for this purpose.
  • Online parent communication tool: Create student learning portfolios. Video/audio record students reading aloud their revised narratives to share with families and other students.
  • Additional information about Greek figures: Additional reading and research. Students read more about the Greek figures featured in the novel.
  • Historical information about Greek mythology: Additional reading and research. Students read more about the purpose of myths and the Greek figures featured in the novel.
  • Myths from around the world: A flash-based site of interactive myths from around the world. Students compare and contrast myths from different cultures.
  • Interactive digital graphic organizer: Helps students develop an outline for a comparison essay. Students draft their ideas for their informative essays in which they compare and contrast the same scene in the novel and film version of The Lightning Thief.
  • Interactive digital graphic organizer: Assist students in prewriting and post-reading activities. Students draft ideas for their narratives in which they re-imagine themselves as a new character in a scene from The Lightning Thief (Unit 3).

 Refer to each Unit Overview for more details, including information about what to prepare in advance.

Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions

Community

  • Invite members of the community (parents, administrators, other students, etc.) in to view the students' performance tasks. Students could also record their presentations or a reading of their revised narratives using an app like Seesaw to then share with an outside audience at a different time.
  • Pair students with students from a younger grade. Perform brief, age-appropriate retellings of some of students' favorite Greek myths to share with the younger students. Encourage students to incorporate props and change their voices for a more dramatic and engaging performance.

Experts

  • Invite storytellers into the classroom to present early stories from diverse cultures. Note the narrative techniques the storyteller uses to engage the audience, and listen for common themes across stories.
  • Support students' ability to complete the visual portion of the performance task by collaborating with an art teacher or introducing students to digital resources for royalty-free graphics and photographs (e.g., http://eled.org/0147 and http://eled.org/0181).
  • An area of focus in this module is writing a summary without personal judgment or bias. Invite a local journalist into the classroom, and discuss how they avoid personal judgment and bias when reporting the news. Discuss when it is and is not appropriate to include judgment or bias in different sections of a newspaper.

Fieldwork

  • A local museum may offer exhibits or programs on Greek mythology or mythology from other cultures. Look for ways to leverage a museum's current exhibits while also offering hands-on activities, workshops, guided tours and live presentations.
  • The Lightning Thief describes several ways in which Greek mythology is present in American culture. Locate local places where these influences are clear (through architecture, statues, location names, etc.), and arrange a fieldwork to see them in person. If a fieldwork is not an option, a slideshow in class could also make this connection for students.

Service

  • An area of focus in this module is about how authors develop a character's point of view, and how that character's point of view can change over time. Consider engaging in a service experience in which students interact with others with whom they may have preconceived notions (e.g., people of a different socioeconomic status, age, or ethnicity). Direct students to write about their perception of this group before and after engaging in the service experience. Ask them to pay particular attention to the ways in which their point of view changed as a result of the experience.

Extensions

  • The Lightning Thief, like many Greek myths, follows the archetype of the Hero's Journey. Read about the stages of the Hero's Journey as described by Joseph Campbell, and apply the archetype to The Lightning Thief as well as many other well-known stories (Star Wars, the Harry Potter series, The Lion King, etc.).

Units

Each unit file includes supporting materials for teachers and students, including guidance for supporting English language learners throughout this unit.

Assessment

Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Performance Task

Presentation: Revised Scene of The Lightning Thief

Throughout Unit 3, students plan, write, and revise a scene from The Lightning Thief written from the perspective of a new character who is the child of a Greek god, or another figure from a traditional story, and therefore has some of the powers of that chosen character. For the performance task, students create a multimedia presentation explaining their narrative choices: choice of Greek god (or a character from another traditional story), new character choices, choice of scene from The Lightning Thief to revise, and how and why they revised that scene. Students present to a live audience, such as members of the school community or parents, including reading aloud their revised scene.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts and resources that need to be procured. Please download the Required Trade Books and Resources Procurement List for procurement guidance.


Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (DVD)
by Chris Columbus (director)
one per classroom
ISBN: 024543668824
The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
one per student
ISBN: 9780786838653

Module-at-a-Glance

Each module is approximately 6-8 weeks of instruction, broken into 3 units. The Module-at-a-Glance charts, available on the grade level landing pages, provide a big picture view of the module, breaking down the module into a week-by-week outline. 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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