Today, I meet my students on the rug and we start out be reviewing what we know so far about Greek mythology. We have already learned that there are three major reasons Ancient Greeks wrote myths: to explain something in nature, to teach a lesson, or to celebrate hero stories. We also quickly review our Greek Mythology Family Tree Anchor Chart, which we just added to yesterday when we read the story of Pandora’s Box.
Today, we’ll get started on reading our fourth myth together. Before we begin reading though, I remind the students that there are many versions of the stories we’re going to be reading together over the next week or so. We take a second to review how Greek myths belong to the genre of traditional literature, and as we know from studying this genre earlier in the year, traditional literature often started through oral story telling. Since so many people told the stories, and then those stories were passed on by other people, the stories get changed and there become many different versions of the same story. I explain to the kids that throughout the week or so that we’re reading Greek myths, I’ll bring in additional texts to read (which they can read during centers, when finished with work, etc.), but it’s important that they know they may come across another story that is similar, but not exactly the same as what we’ve read together.
With that, we had back to our seats and begin to read our third myth together. Today, we read through the story of Echo and Narcissus. When students hear that we’re reading about Echo, they make comments such as, “Echo isn’t a person, it’s a sound!” and “Who’s Narcissus?” They will soon find out the answers to their questions and misconceptions! As we read, the students are captivated yet again-Greek myths are clearly one of their favorite texts we’ve read so far!
After we have read the myth for today, we take a look at our Greek Mythology Family Tree Anchor Chart. I ask the students if we were introduced to any of the Olympians today in our text. The students say yes, we met two of them yet again: Zeus and Hera. Both of these gods/goddesses already have a clip art picture next to them on our chart since we’ve met them before. (Clipart created by The LibraryFox and is available for purchase within her TeachersPayTeachers store.) We take a second though to describe the gods and goddesses we met today based on what we learned about them in the text: What character traits does he/she have? Do you think he/she treats mortals well or poorly? Do you think what happened in the text was right?
After discussing the gods and goddesses we met, I ask if we’ve met any other characters in this myth. The kids say yes, that we met Echo, the wood nymph, and Narcissus, the man that loved himself. We take a second to describe both Echo and Narcissus based on what we learned about them today: What character traits does he/she have? Do you think he/she deserved what happened to him/her? I explain to the students that Echo and Narcissus aren’t exactly one of the Olympians, or the Titans. Just like Medusa or Arachne, we can’t put them in the family tree with the gods and goddesses, but we can place them at the bottom of our chart, and we call this section “Allusions”. I re-explain that “allusions” are stories (or parts of stories) that are often referred to in other stories, books, etc. In fact, many of the allusions that we’ll come across over the next week or so as we read together are still relevant today! I add our clip art picture of Pandora to our chart!
Now that we’ve read and discussed the text quite a bit, we’re going to work on completing a short story map for the myth. The story map requires the students to identify the following:
-The myth’s characters
-The myth’s setting
-A summary of the myth
-The central message of the myth
Today, since this is our fourth story map, I’d like the students to fill this out on their own. In order to support them today, I simply walk around and check on their work, answering questions and providing guidance as needed, but the students make their own notes. This way we’re taking one more step toward independence.
When we are all finished, I ask the students to take out their Greek Mythology booklet covers (which we created earlier and have stored in our red reading folders), open them up, and tuck their recently completed Echo and Narcissus story map inside. Then I ask the students to put their Greek mythology booklets back into their red reading folders. The students are already asking which myth we’ll read tomorrow! Again, this is music to my ears!