Myth Madness: Persephone & Demeter

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SWBAT recount myths and determine the central message of the myth.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will read the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter and complete a story map on the myth.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

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 King Midas and The Golden Touch.   

Experience Learning

5 minutes

Today, we’ll get started on reading our sixth 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 six myth together.  Today, we read through the story of Persephone and Demeter, often called The Story of the Seasons.  When students hear that we’re reading about seasons, they say things such as “We already know why the seasons change!”, but I think they’ll find the explanation the Ancient Greeks gave very interesting!  As we read, the students are captivated yet again-Greek myths are clearly one of their favorite texts we’ve read so far!

Label New Learning

5 minutes

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 many of them: Zeus, Hades, Demeter, and Persephone.  We’ve already met Zeus previously, so there is already a clip art picture on our Greek Mythology Family Tree Anchor Chart for him.  For each god or goddess that we’ve met that’s new today though, I add a clip art picture to our chart. (Clipart created by The LibraryFox and is available for purchase within her TeachersPayTeachers store.)  We take a second 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 the other gods or goddesses well in this text?  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 no, there were only gods and goddesses in this myth.  Since there were not other characters, we have no other pictures to add to our anchor chart for now.   

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

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 sixth story map, the students are very familiar on how 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.


5 minutes

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 Persephone and Demeter 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!