Teaching mythology rocks! Kids just can’t get enough of it. Why? Magnificent monsters. Superhuman strength. Incredible acts. Rev up your Greek mythology unit with these ELA activities for kids.
Teaching Mythology in Ms. Sneed’s Classroom
Let’s look in on our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed. Once again, she’s sitting at her computer with her mentor, Mrs. Brown.
“This month, we’ll study Greek mythology,” said Ms. Sneed. “I want to focus on gods, demigods, creatures, and their deeds.”
“Why’s that?” asked Mrs. Brown.
“Well, it promotes cultural literacy. After all, elements of Greek mythology are used in literature. Furthermore, words in our language allude to myths.”
“Right,” agreed her mentor. “Kids make connections. Comprehension improves.”
“I’d like to start with the fantastic story of Cronus. It’s gross and gory – just enough to pique their interest! Furthermore, he’s the father of the Olympians,” said Ms. Sneed.
“As they enter the room that day, I’ll have a display of characters from mythology posters on the wall. That should really raise the energy level!” The teachers gave one another knowing smiles. “In addition to the Olympians, the set includes heroes, monsters, and a few more popular characters.”
“And if that’s not enough, I’ll show this Greek God Rap (3:37) after we read.”
Watching the video made them laugh. “Oh yeah,” said Mrs. Brown. “You’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand. They will love all of this.”
Teaching Mythology Through Research
“By now, the kids will be really revved up about Greek mythology. So I thought I’d set them loose with a little research,” said Ms. Sneed. “I found this set of 33 mythology and research coloring sheets. As you can see, they go with the posters. Every child will research one character.”
“That sounds perfect,” replied her mentor.
“One problem. 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.
“For more exploration, I’ll also give them these links:
- Meet the Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
- Ancient Greek Gods from History for Kids
- Ancient Greek Gods for Kids from Mr. Donn
- Greek Myths for Kids
- List of gods and goddesses by Molly Schwichtenberg
“I’m really looking forward to teaching mythology!”
Displaying Kids’ Work
A few weeks later, Mrs. Brown visited Ms. Sneed’s classroom. “Wow, I love the myth characters display!” she exclaimed.
“Haha! Thanks!” said Ms. Sneed. “The kids are drawn to it like magnets. I have to pry them away from it every morning.”
Writing Opinion and Persuasive Pieces
“Don’t lose the momentum!” said Mrs. Brown. “At this point, kids are really excited about Greek mythology. They’re not ready to give them up. What will you do next?”
“I beat you to it,” said Ms. Sneed. “They’ve already begun writing one-paragraph opinion pieces. Earlier this week, they considered which Greek god to invite to dinner. In first person, they explained their choice.
“Now they’re writing persuasive pieces. The kids switched 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.”
“How fun!” exclaimed her mentor.
“Here, look at these pieces. I’m so proud of these kids.”
Teaching Mythology Allusions
“Additionally,” said Ms. Sneed, we’re going to work on allusions to Greek mythology. This fits with Common Core State Standard RL.4.5. I’m planning to teach these 40 terms.”
“That’s a comprehensive list,” commented Mrs. Brown.
“Agreed. Of course, I found a full-blown unit on allusions to Greek mythology on TpT. I’m just getting ready to set it out. Here, take a look at a few of the pages.”
“Oh yeah,” said Mrs. Brown. “You’ve nailed it again. This is a great little unit.” The corners of Ms. Sneed’s mouth turned up. She sure did love it when her mentor said that.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.
P.S. A more sophisticated version of this bundle is now available for upper elementary and middle school kids.