Grade Appropriate units:

This complete unit plan can be taught in 5 weeks, or lesson components can be taught individually within 1-5 days as described below.

Lesson Introduction:
The focus for students in this age group is to study the myth genre and make connections between their culture, myths, and history.

Project Introduction (1 Day)
Introduce the word myth to the class and read aloud one of the examples from the Myths Around the World in order to emphasize the oral heritage of the genre as well as give character and excitement to the reading. Ask students to offer definitions of the term "myth." Then encourage students to brainstorm myths that they know. Have volunteers write examples on the chalkboard. Discuss the myth read aloud, and encourage students to write the characteristic elements of myths such as supernatural characters, extraordinary powers or tools, natural phenomena, etc. on the board.

Explain that students will be reading myths that originated all over the world. Depending on your curriculum, you may want to pick a myth based in the country you are currently studying, or you can have students pick separate myths from different areas and then return with their findings to share with the class. As homework, direct students to read their chosen or assigned myth in Myths Around the World or hand out printed copies of the myth to be read.

Myths Around the World (2–3 Days)
Once the myth has been read, group students according to the myth they have read or the reading level to discuss the reading. Ask the to make a list that mirrors the characteristics of the myth elements on the board. Students should write which characteristic their myth had and detail that characteristic as much as possible.

Individually or in groups, students should then find out information on the country or region from which the myth originated. The last paragraph in each myth from "Myths Around the World" can start students off in finding out more about the country and culture. In general students should try to answer the following questions:

  • Is there a theme to the myths from this country? If so, what are they?
  • Why did this country or region create this myth? Is there anything about the geography or the history to promote myth making?
  • What is the religion of the country or region? How does religion promote myth making?
  • Are there more myths from this region? Find them and summarize them.
  • How does the myth reflect specific cultural aspects to this country or region?

Have the students return to a class group and present their findings to the rest of the class. If the entire class has worked on the same myth in the same country, have students create a list on the board of important information about the myth and the culture from which it comes. If students have worked on different myths from separate countries, have students present their myth and their findings to the rest of the class.

Transition your focus from reading myths into writing original myths. Explain to students that they will be writing an original myth as if they were from the country or region they studied. Remind them that they should follow the same trends they saw in the myths they read, and they should keep in mind what would be important to the people of that culture.

Myth Writing With Jane Yolen (3–4 Days)
Divide students into same-level reading groups to read the four Myth writing steps online. If you have limited computer access, print out a copy of the steps for individual students to read. Tell students that they will be following Jane Yolen's steps in preparation for writing their own myths. Encourage note taking as they go through the steps and write down any ideas they have for their own myths.

Before students start writing their own myths, students may want to regroup with their original small groups in order to share their notes and their ideas.

If class time is unavailable, have students write their myths as homework, then exchange papers with a peer for revision. Partners can write their comments on the draft itself. While students revise their drafts, have them check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes.

Step 4: Publish Online: Once they've completed their revision, have students follow directions to publish their myth online.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader® software, version 4.0 or higher to view and print items marked PDF. Get Adobe Reader® for FREE.

Back to Top