Class begins with small group discussions of the fourth and final myth that the students have chosen for this unit of study. They come to class having read the myth, a completed set of comprehension questions, and common characteristics of myths worksheet. As with previous lessons in this unit, they are enthusiastic about the work because they find the stories are filled with interesting characters (both mortal and immortal), lots of action, and surprising twists and turns in the plot. However, these same elements make the work challenging because of the often-complicated relationships of the cast of characters who end up in an amazing array of predicaments. That’s why I allow them to work in groups to complete the Mythology Reading Plan and share their work during with one another before I collect it.
During these conversations, they listen attentively and actively engage in explaining their thinking and working out misunderstandings. I circulate among the groups, especially concentrating on struggling readers, to offer support as needed. Over and over, I find myself asking Where does it say that in the text? Or Let’s reread that part. Breaking the text in to manageable chunks and stopping often to summarize what was just read is a practical strategy for improving comprehension. An answer key appears here.
Another way that students demonstrate comprehension of the text is by completing projects with a partner. They are required to read four myths during this unit of study but I only require three projects from each group. Students may choose to create a poster or PowerPoint or they can suggest other options. A few groups are working on iMovies and another is writing a sequel to one of the myths. Here is a sample of a poster for “Daedalus” that includes direct quotes and explanations and this Making Connections chart is still a work in progress. One thing I will encourage this group to do is to provide a variety of connections types (text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world) rather than just representing one.