5 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT read the myth, “Phaethon,” and mark the text for textual evidence that assists them in characterizing Phaethon.

Big Idea

Exactly, Who Are You Phaethon?


10 minutes

Prompt:  Have you asked your parents to do something for you that seemed impossible or  irresponsible?  What was the result?  

If this situation never occurred, what extremes would make you request such an action from your parents?


Beginning class using this prompt, encouraged students to think of their relationship with parents. This is a theme that appeared throughout the myth, "Phaethon," providing students to make a connection prior to reading the myth.

Students wrote a response to this prompt, then as a class we discussed.

As we made a prediction about "Phaethon" after the whole class discussion, some of the students are realizing that when I have them respond to prompts, they are usually related to the next reading in some manner.

Read "Phaethon"

70 minutes

Before reading "Phaethon" by Bernard Evslin, please view the video.


The first step I have students complete before reading is to number the paragraphs of the text.  In this way, students are easily able to locate the textual support that the class is referring.  It also assists as I chunk the text for the class.

Before beginning to read, I spoke about footnotes and how they assist in understanding what we read.  We viewed the examples in the myth, "Phaethon."

I reminded them to keep in mind the difference between dynamic and static characters.   Dynamic characters change throughout the plot; static characters remain the same from beginning to end.

Chunking the text, encouraged students to focus upon certain aspects of the text as I guided them with questions.

CHUNK 1 (paragraphs 1 - 8)

Students drew a line underneath paragraph 8.  Next, I asked students to quickly examine Chunk 1 - What did they notice about the writing?  The class realized this chunk was written as dialogue (which we previously studied).  The hint was quotation marks. I instructed students to read this section independently and to mark their text by making notations in the margin of who is speaking as they read.

Afterward, we had a short class discussion, identifying the speakers and reasons for the identification.  A conclusion was drawn that specifically naming the speaker each time would get redundant.  By including helpful details in the dialogue, the reader can determine the speakers with close reading.

 Students also identified Phaethon's personality traits up to this point - marking the trait in the margin and highlighting the textual evidence.  

CHUNK 2 (paragraphs 9 - 22)

After reading Chunk 2 aloud, students worked in their small groups to name other traits that depict Phaethon.  Again they marked the text in the margin and highlighted textual support. The class discussion also focused upon consequences which led to conflicts that Phaethon faced; students made personal connections to these issues.

Before continuing, students predicted what would happen when Phaethon arrives at Apollo's palace.

CHUNK 3 (paragraphs 23 - 42 )

The class read the next chunk aloud, stopping to work in small groups to locate textual support that demonstrates new character traits of Phaethon.  Again this information was shared with the whole class.  A whole class discussion addressed the students' impression of Apollo, making personal connections.  Was Apollo's reaction to Phaethon realistic?

CHUNK 4 (paragraphs 43 -49)

Reading Chunk 4 as a whole class, students evaluated Phaethon - What kind of person is he? Provide textual evidence to support this opinion.  Students individually made this determination which was then shared as a whole class.

We related this event back to the morning prompt about asking parents for something irresponsible.  In what way is this irresponsible?  Apollo is asking Phaethon to "withdraw your request."  Do we always need to get our own way?  Explain.  Students made predictions about what will happen to this request and logical reasons for the likelihood of it occurring.

CHUNK 5 (paragraphs 50 -58)

This section of the myth is important in that it addresses sensory details and focuses on the setting impacting the text.  After reading the text aloud, I asked students to use a different colored highlight than before to highlight text that addresses the senses.  Then I asked students to look at the text highlighted and determine the impact that setting has upon the myth.  Giving students some time to think and organize their ideas, we shared as a whole class.

Finally, thinking back to the character of Apollo, students shared their opinion (man of honor/irresponsible parent).

CHUNK 6 (paragraphs 59 - 79)

As the class read this last chunk aloud, students highlighted text that assisted them in viewing Phaethon's character; in the margin, they identified the particular character trait.  After reading, the small groups shared their findings, then shared as a whole class.  Students were encouraged to mark evidence that they had missed.

I asked students to review the myth and their notations.  They needed to think about Phaethon as a dynamic character - one that changes from the beginning to the end of the text.  On a sheet of paper, they recorded their ideas for reference in a classroom discussion.  As a class, we discussed these ideas; students are always encouraged to add to their notes as they hear opinions in classroom discussions.






10 minutes

As a closure, students responded to the following questions on their own paper.

1.  Did your opinion of Phaethon change at all throughout the myth?  

2.  Specifically, what made you think of Phaethon in a different way?

3.  Identify one major consequence that arose because of Phaethon's choices.