Unit 3: Interpreting Perspectives: Greek Myths
Students dive into the world of Greek mythology with the classic myths of Pandora, Arachne, and Echo and Narcissus, and explore how the Greeks used mythology to make sense of their world.
In this unit, students dive into the world of Greek mythology. Over the course of the unit, students will read the classic myths of Pandora, Arachne, and Echo and Narcissus. In reading the myths, students will gain a deeper understanding of the gods and mortals in ancient Greece and how the ancient Greeks used mythology as a way to make sense of and interpret the world around them. Students will also continue the thematic exploration from previous units about how a person’s beliefs, ethics, or values influence that person’s behavior.
Over the course of the unit, students will read multiple versions of the classic myths. The primary focus of this unit is on close reading and analyzing the differences among the versions and critically analyzing an author’s choice of genre. In doing so, students will be challenged to think about how the structural elements of different genres, particularly prose, drama, and verse, allow a reader to better understand a story or text. Students will also explore how the point of view in which a story is written, either third-person point of view or first-person point of view, changes the way a story is told and the depth of information that a reader knows.
Students will also focus on determining the central theme of the myths. Because the stories in this unit are shorter than the novels students have read so far, this unit offers students practice in finding the theme of a shorter text and explaining how the author uses evidence to develop the theme. When discussing the text, students continue to work on engaging with the thinking of others by building on, and paraphrasing ideas to understand, and questioning and clarifying. At this point in the sequence, students should be able to write fluently in response to the daily Target Tasks in order to show understanding of the text.
In this unit, students return to working on writing strong literary analysis and opinion paragraphs, building on work done in previous units on topic sentences, supporting details, and strategies for elaboration. Across the entire unit, students also use narrative writing as a way to deepen their understanding of the myths and point of view, by rewriting each myth from a different character's point of view.
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Book: Greek Myth Plays by Carol Pugliano-Martin (Scholastic Teaching Resources, 2008)
Book: I am Arachne: Fifteen Greek and Roman Myths by Elizabeth Spires (Square Fish, 2009)
Book: The McElderry Book of Greek Myths by Eric A. Kimmel (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Book: Echo Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer (Dial Books)
Rubric: Grade 4 Narrative Writing Rubric
Rubric: Grade 4 Literary Analysis and Opinion Writing Rubric
Template: Boxes and Bullets Graphic Organizer
Template: Two-Paragraph Outline
These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Summarizing a text helps the reader build a deeper understanding of the story.
Poems, drama, and prose all contain different structural elements to help the reader better understand the text.
Comparing and contrasting the point of view from which stories are told helps readers understand the impact point of view has on a story.
Write strong topic sentences that clearly state an opinion.
Provide reasons and evidence to support a particular opinion.
Link opinions and reasons using words and phrases.
Use relevant text details or background knowledge from the text to develop characters, ideas, or situations.
Rewrite a narrative from a different point of view.
Brainstorm and draft a story with a logical sequence of events that unfolds naturally.
Use dialogue, concrete words and phrases, and sensory details to develop experiences.
Provide a sense of closure.
Build on to partner’s ideas. Seek to genuinely understand what peers are saying, and then build on.
Paraphrase to make meaning. Paraphrase what others are saying in order to keep track of key ideas in a discussion.
Question and clarify. Seek to clarify a particular point a peer makes by asking follow-up questions.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
"beauty is only skin deep"
"blow hot and cold"
"curiosity killed the cat"
"open pandora's box"
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 3, view our 4th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
Summarize what happens in "Pandora’s Box."
Analyze how the speaker’s point of view in "Pandora" influences how events are described.
Explain how the speaker’s perspective of Pandora changes from one poem to the next.
Describe how the author uses structural elements of drama to retell what happens in "Pandora’s Box."
Discussion & Writing
Explain how comparing different forms of a literary text helps build a deeper understanding of the text and its major themes. Analyze which author’s craft decisions or structures have the greatest influence on how events are described.
Rewrite the myth from Epimetheus's point of view.
Summarize what happened in "Arachne."
Compare the lesson that Arachne learns and how she learns it in two different versions of the myth.
Explain how the author uses the structural elements of drama to retell the story of Arachne.
Explain how comparing different forms of a literary text helps build a deeper understanding of the text and which author’s craft decisions or structures have the greatest influence on how events are described.
Rewrite the myth Arachne from Athena’s point of view.
Summarize "Echo and Narcissus."
Defend if Narcissus learns his lesson.
Identify and explain which parts of the story are highlighted in the drama.
Rewrite the myth Echo and Narcissus from Narcissus’s point of view.
Analyze how a theme or topic is treated in each of the myths from the unit by comparing and contrasting the treatment of similar themes and topics.
Opinion Writing – 4 days
Defend how the theme from one of the Greek Myths is still relevant today using examples from students’ lives and the world around them.
Narrative Writing – 3 days
Revise and edit a narrative from earlier in the unit.
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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.
— Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
— Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.
— Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
— Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
— Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.
— Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
— Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
— Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
— Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
— Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
— Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
— Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
— Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information
— Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.
— Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
— Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
— Orient the reader by establishing a situationand introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
— Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
— Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
— Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
— With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
— Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
— Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
— Use correct capitalization.
— Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
— Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
— Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
— Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).
— By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4—5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
— Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
— Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
— Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
(Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1—3 above.)
— With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
— Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
— Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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