Build Background Knowledge: Greek Mythology | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2019 G6:M1:U1

Build Background Knowledge: Greek Mythology

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Students begin Unit 1 by reading from The Lightning Thief. They analyze how the author develops the point of view of the narrator, and they 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 in the novel, responds to challenges. They create discussion norms to have a productive text-based discourse about the novel. Theme is also introduced in the second half of the unit, in preparation for Unit 2.

Please note: For the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum, there are Teaching Notes for each unit that contain helpful information for supporting English language learners. These overview notes complement the more specific English language learner supports and differentiated materials within each lesson. (See the Support All Students section of the Teaching Notes in Lesson 1 for further detail.) You will find the unit's Teaching Notes in the Unit download below.

CCS Standards

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Greek Mythology
  • Task: 
    • Analyze and determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary and phrases, including figurative language; explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator in a new chapter of The Lightning Thief (mid-unit assessment). 
    • Prepare for a text-based discussion with peers in a Socratic Seminar, answering the prompt: How does Percy respond to challenges? What can we infer about his character from these responses? (end of unit assessment).
  • Targets: RL.6.1, RL.6.3, RL.6.4, RL.6.6, RL.6.10, SL.6.1a, SL.6.1b, L.6.4a, L.6.4c, L.6.4d, L.6.5, L.6.6
  • Texts: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, "Why Ancient Greek Mythology Is Still Relevant Today" by Geri Mlleff


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.

Habits of Character/Social-Emotional Learning Focus

Central to the EL Education curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).

In this unit, students focus on respect, empathy, and collaboration as they respond to one another's ideas and skills in written work and in discussions. They also look for evidence of perseverance and integrity demonstrated by characters in the text and by themselves in the classroom.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 10-18 lessons. The Unit-at-a-Glance charts, available on the grade-level landing pages, break down each unit's lessons, showing CCS standards, agenda breakdown, daily learning targets, and ongoing assessments. The charts also indicate which lessons include mid- and end of unit assessments and the performance task.

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
The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
one per student
ISBN: 9780786838653

Preparation and Materials

Prepare vocabulary logs and independent reading journals.

Ensure that families are aware of the sensitive content of The Lightning Thief, and prepare students who may be affected by this content in advance.

The following materials are introduced in this unit and referenced throughout both the module and the school year:

  • Academic word wall
  • Domain-specific word wall
  • Performance Task anchor chart
  • Module Guiding Questions anchor chart
  • Work to Become Ethical People anchor chart
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart
  • Point of View anchor chart
  • Work to Become Effective Learners anchor chart
  • Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart
  • Discover Theme anchor chart
  • Discussion Norms anchor chart
  • Vocabulary logs
  • Track Progress folders
  • Equity sticks


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