Unit 6: Exploring Ancient Greece
In this unit, students explore ancient Greece, learning and exploring the different characteristics of ancient Greece and its values.
As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in April 2021. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 2nd Grade text adjustments.
In this unit, students explore ancient Greece. Over the course of the unit, students learn and explore different characteristics of ancient Greece and its values. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Greece, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to society today. Students will also learn about the different gods and goddesses and analyze the role they played in ancient Greek society. At the end of the unit, students will be challenged to compare and contrast the role of the Olympics in ancient Greek society with the modern-day Olympics. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with others in the sequence, will help students understand early civilizations around the world.
The mentor text for this unit, Ancient Greece and the Olympics, allows students to practice multiple informational reading strategies independently and in partners. Over the course of the unit, students will practice the spiraling strategies of determining the main topic and details, using context clues to figure out unknown words, analyzing illustrations, and using text features to deepen their understanding of a text. An additional focus of this unit is on describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text. Over the entire unit, students should be challenged to think critically about the reasons authors include in a text to support a particular point and why those reasons support the point. Another focus of this unit is on comparing and contrasting the most important points presented across two texts on the same topic. It is important to note that in order for students to successfully analyze authors’ use of reasons and to compare and contrast across texts, students must be able to determine key details. Plan small
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Book: Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2004)
Book: Growing Up in Ancient Greece by Chris Chelepi (Troll Communications, 1997)
Book: The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki (HarperCollins, 1997)
Video: “Ancient Greek Vases” (YouTube)
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
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The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Like prior units, the main fluency focus of this unit is on reading an informational text with the right expression and intonation to show interpretation of the passage. This includes knowing how to read different text features to highlight the feature's purpose, and rereading and self-correcting in order to figure out the meaning of domain-specific, multisyllabic, or tricky words. This unit includes both Read Aloud and shared reading texts; therefore, students will have a chance to hear multiple examples of fluent reading while also having ample time to practice reading fluently on their own.
Specific skills to focus on when giving feedback on writing assignments
Since it is the last unit of the program, teachers should review whatever sentence activities students would benefit from reviewing:
Students will use their understanding of the text and main topic to determine which key details best support a given topic sentence. This reinforces the work they are doing with reading standard RI.2.8 in this unit.
Students will end the unit by doing a research project on one of the topics studied. After practicing selecting relevant details from a list to support a given topic sentence throughout this unit, they will continue this work by using facts and definitions to develop points in their research projects.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
Describe Athens and Sparta and what was similar and different about the two city-states by identifying the main focus of specific paragraphs within a text.
Identify and explain the evidence an author uses to support the idea that “religion was a big part of Greek life” by identifying and describing how reasons support particular points the author makes in a text.
Describe two gods and what made them unique by identifying and explaining details the author includes to support the main points in a text.
Write a biography of one of the Greek gods by using facts and details from the text to write an informational text with a strong introduction, details from the text, and a conclusion.
Analyze the evidence the author includes to support the statement, “The ancient Greeks had busy lives,” by identifying and describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Explain how ancient Greeks loved learning, fun, and beauty by identifying and describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Analyze how the evidence from Growing Up in Ancient Greece builds on information from Ancient Greece and the Olympics by comparing the most important information presented by two texts on the same topic.
Explain what life was like in ancient Greece by writing an informational text with a strong introduction, details from the text, and a conclusion.
Explain the statement, “The ancient Greeks left gifts for the whole world to enjoy,” by identifying and describing how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Using information from the video and book, recreate a Greek vase to show a detailed illustration of life in ancient Greece.
Explain how and why the Olympics became the most popular festival in Greece by identifying the main topic and details within a text.
Defend if the Olympics were important to everyone in ancient Greece by identifying the reasons an author states to support a point.
Describe two different Olympic events by identifying the main focus of specific paragraphs and the key details within them.
Explain what took place during the Olympics in ancient Greece by writing an informational text with a strong introduction, details from the text, and conclusion.
Explain why the author says, “When the winners returned home, they were greeted like heroes,” by analyzing and describing how reasons from the entire text support specific points the author makes in a text.
Using information from the unit, recreate a Greek vase to show a detailed illustration of an Olympic event.
Defend if the Olympic Games of today are exactly the same as the early Olympic Games by explaining the reasons an author gives to support a point in a text.
Debate and discuss unit Essential Questions by stating a claim and supporting it with evidence from the entire unit.
Writing – 3 days
Research and present on a specific aspect of ancient Greek society.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
— Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
— Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
— Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
— Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
— Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
— Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
— Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
— Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
— Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
— Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
— With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
— Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
— Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
— Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
— Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., happy/unhappy, tell/retell).
— Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe foods that are spicy or juicy).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
— Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.