Teaching Mythology – Genre Study with Fascinating Greek Myths

Teaching mythology genre studies? Elementary and middle school students just can’t get enough of it. Why? Magnificent monsters. Superhuman strength. Incredible acts. Rev up your Greek myth unit with these ELA activities.

Teaching Mythology Genre Study

Ms. Sneed Plans for Teaching Mythology Genre Study

Our favorite fourth grade teacher sat at the side table with her student teacher. “Let’s continue planning our ELA block,” Ms. Sneed said.

“This month, we’re teaching Greek mythology – a genre study, to be specific. I’d like to focus on gods, demigods, creatures, and their deeds. That will promote cultural literacy. After all, elements of Greek mythology appear in literature.”

“Right,” her student teacher agreed. “Cultural literacy – and student engagement.”

Ms. Sneed chuckled. “I remember last year. Our students couldn’t get enough of Greek mythology!”

Introducing Characters from Greek Mythology

“We’ll start with the fantastic story of Cronus,” she continued. “It’s gross and gory – just enough to pique their interest! Furthermore, he’s the father of the Olympians.”

With a few clicks on her keyboard, he found what he was looking for. “This short history of the Greek gods will make a great introduction. You know, Cronus, ruler of the universe, believed that his children will overthrow him. Therefore, he ate them all – Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon.”

“Yep, gross.” Mr. Grow agreed.

“Then, when Zeus was born, Cronus’s wife, Rhea, wisened up. Instead of a baby, she wrapped a stone in a blanket and presented it to Zeus. Of course, he swallowed it whole – without even looking. For years, Zeus was hidden in a cave. When he grew up, he made a potion that caused Cronus to vomit his siblings.”

“Super gross!” Mr. Grow laughed.

“And that’s why kids love it so much. The Olympians went on to overthrow Cronus, and a new era was born.”

Kick off your mythology genre study with this one-page history of the Greek gods.

After pausing for a moment in thought, Ms. Sneed clicked around on her laptop. “Additionally, we can play this Greek God Rap (3:37).” She clicked again and the video began.

Watching the video made them laugh. “Oh yeah,” said Mr. Grow. “They will love all of this.”

Teaching Mythology Through Research

“By now, the kids will be really revved up about Greek mythology. Then we can set them loose with a little myth research,” said Ms. Sneed. “I found a set of 33 research coloring sheets. Every child will explore one character.”

“That sounds perfect,” replied her student teacher.

Teaching mythology? You need these research and coloring sheets!

“Just one problem,” Ms. Sneed said. “I don’t have enough mythology books for the kids’ research. But – ta-da! Here’s the solution. Passages for each of these characters are also available on TPT. In addition to hard copies, kids can access them as an eBook. I think I’ll let them use the Chromebooks. No copying for me.”

These one-page passages about characters in Greek myths make teaching mythology a breeze!

“For more exploration, we can also give them these links:

The two teachers looked at the clock. “Time to get going,” said Mr. Grow. “I’m really looking forward to teaching mythology!”

Displaying Kids’ Mythology Research

A few weeks later, Mr. Grow wielded a stapler to hang up the kids’ research.

“Wow, I love this myth characters display!” Ms. Sneed exclaimed as she walked in the door.

“Haha! Thanks!” Mr. Grow replied. “Did you notice that the kids are already drawn to it like magnets. I had to pry them away from it this morning.”

Display products from your mythology genre study on a colorful bulletin board.

Teaching Mythology with Opinion and Persuasive Pieces

Suddenly, Mr. Grow looked perplexed. “How can we keep momentum?” he asked. “At this point, kids are really excited about Greek myths. And I love teaching mythology too! We’re not ready to give them up. What will we do next?”

“I beat you to it,” said Ms. Sneed. “Argumentative writing about myths! First, kids will write one-paragraph opinion pieces. Earlier this week, they considered which Greek god to invite to dinner. In first person, they explained their choice.

“Then they’ll write persuasive pieces. The kids will switch to second person, directing their writing to the audience using the pronoun you. The topic? Which Greek god or goddess would make the best president.

“Actually, I think some of our better writers can handle more. So let’s have them write five paragraphs.”

“How fun!” exclaimed her student teacher.

“Here, look at these samples from last year. This project truly improves kids’ writing.”

A mythology genre study is not complete without writing! Try this clever argumentative project.

“Wow,” said Mr. Grow, “I can’t wait to get started on these.”

Teaching Mythology Allusions

“Additionally,” said Ms. Sneed, we’re working on allusions to Greek mythology, or words that refer to characters in myths.”

She handed Mr. Grow a set of two papers. “That’s a comprehensive list!” he said.

“Yep, 40 terms.”

When teaching mythology, include allusions. These forty terms bolster kids' vocabularies.

“Actually, I found a full-blown unit on allusions to Greek mythology. In addition to the terms and definitions, it offers anchor charts that you can print or display, as well as an ebook. Furthermore, kids can read how these words came into our language. And – of course – there’s a test. Everything we need!”

Anchor charts teach kids about allusions to Greek mythology.

Mythology Genre Study in Upper Elementary

“Oh yeah,” said Mr. Grow. “You’ve nailed it again. This is a great little genre study.”

The corners of Ms. Sneed’s mouth turned up. She sure did love it when he said that.

This set does not include allusions.

Teaching Mythology in Middle School

The following year, Mr. Grow found a job teaching sixth grade at the local middle school. And guess who became his mentor? Ms. Sneed! They used a set of mythology lesson plans to ramp up learning for his older students. Check it out!

Teach a complete 5-week mythology genre study for fifth and sixth grade students. Novel, character banners, allusions, Medusa, the Quest, and opinion writing are included.
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