Typically class begins with a mini lesson using a Greek myth that we read and analyze together. However, since the work we did in class yesterday took longer to complete than I thought it would, it means adjusting the plans for today’s class. We begin by allowing time for the group discussion of the third myth each group chose according to our Mythology Reading Plan. An example of student work completed for “The Wanderings of Odysseus” appears here and one for “Orpheus & Eurydice” appears here. These discussions are important for a variety of reasons, some of which are explained here:
Today students have time in class to read the fourth and final myth chosen by their small group on this form. The students really enjoy mythology and are taking their work seriously, so our silent reading time is just that - silent. Believe me, that isn’t always the case and wish I knew how to bottle these moments and save them!
In addition to reading the myth, they must answer a set of comprehension questions and provide evidence of the common characteristics of myths on this worksheet. Two examples of student work on “Theseus and the Minotaur” appear here and here.
The original plan for the smalls groups is that everyone reads the same four selections. This way there is plenty of opportunity for discussion and it builds a common ground for the completion of class projects. However, in one of the groups there were two students who chose one myth to read and two students that wanted to read different one. The second pair offered to read one of the more challenging myths (that other students avoided because it has too many pages!). Because I knew that they would apply good comprehension strategies and would seek out advice if needed, I allowed for the change in plans.
Giving students a say in who they work with (see the first lesson in this series for details, Mythology: Introduction to the Reading Plan), the myths they read, and projects that demonstrate comprehension is effective in keeping them interested in the work. They are demonstrating greater responsibility in coming to class prepared and are eager to show their creative side by producing posters, PowerPoint presentations or ideas of their choosing. To get give them some direction I provide graphic organizers and show some exemplars from previous classes. Some finished projects include a 3-D poster of the "Gods & Goddesses of Mt. Olympus", a cause & effect chart from “Daedalus” and a story elements chart for “The Trojan War.”