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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Digitally Telling the Story of Greek Figures

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Digitally Telling the Story of Greek Figures

Grades 5 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Fourteen 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Session Five

Session Six

Session Seven

Session Eight

Sessions Nine through Twelve

Sessions Thirteen and Fourteen

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will:

  • collect and analyze information relevant to their research of a Greek god, hero, or creature.
  • demonstrate comprehension of what they have learned by writing a script.
  • organize, summarize, and synthesize what they have learned through the production of a digital story.

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Session One

  1. Ask students to name Greek gods, heroes, and creatures and write student responses on the board.
  2. Next ask students to brainstorm on why people still know these names today.  Have them create a list of where they have seen some names of these gods, heroes, and creatures in present day.  Discuss what this tells about the importance of these figures.
  3. Pass out the Greek Figures printout and put the students in pairs to brainstorm on what type of information would be important to know about characters of Greek mythology and how this information could be categorized.
  4. Have students share their responses and write them on the board.  Add other categories that they might miss, such as meaning of the name with birth and death; appearance and symbol(s); family members and their descriptions; modern references in television, language, art, cartoons, movies, song lyrics etc.; famous myths; friends and descriptions, and enemies with descriptions.
  5. Divide the class into partners to choose which Greek mythology figures they will research and have the partners decide how they will split the categories of information for each to find.  Tell the class that each partner will research famous myths of their character and well as three other topics.  Have each student write down the categories and Greek character he/she is responsible for on an index card. Collect the index cards.

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Session Two

  1. Ask students why it is important to take notes when doing research.
    • Remember what you have read for use later.
    • Why do we write in short phrases?
  2. Go through Fact Fragment Frenzy demonstration with the students and then on an interactive white board have the class try one of the examples to change the sentences into fragments.
  3. Choose a short passage from the students’ social studies textbook or a trade book on Greek civilization, and with a partner have the students segment the facts into fragments on paper.  Have the partners share with the class their fragments.
  4. Next, explain to students that their facts need to be organized, and thus they will need to use index cards to take notes.  Give the students the printout Taking Notes for a Research Project.
  5. As a class, move the fragments to a properly formatted note card on the whiteboard.  Explain to the students that on the top line of their note cards will be the topics they discussed with their partners, one being famous myths and the three others they selected.
  6. Assign the students another short passage in their social studies book to individually chunk into fragments and write one correctly formatted note card with their fragments.

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Session Three

  1. Draw three large note cards on the whiteboard or overhead projector, and have three students share their note cards as examples for the rest of the class to see.
  2. Ask students to define plagiarism and explain why it is wrong.  An excellent discussion of plagiarism is available online in the Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct at https://www.indiana.edu/~istd/definition.html.
  3. Ask them if they are plagiarizing if they
    • Copy and paste a chart online to use in their assignments.
    • Use a quotation without saying who said it.
    • Rewrite a passage from their social studies book
    • More ideas for discussing plagiarism can be found in Exploring Plagarism, Copyright, and Paraphasing if you want to expand this section.
  4. Using the printout Taking Notes for a Research Project, have the students together create a source card for their social studies book.
  5. Hand out the index cards that students turned in during Session One.  Explain that the categories of information now are the headings on the note cards.
  6. Cover the requirements for the note cards and source cards using the Digital Storytelling Project printout.

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Session Four

  1. Have each student check out a library book that contains information about the assigned Greek figure.
  2. Ask students write the source cards for their books.
  3. Help students find sections of the book that applies to their categories of information and take notes on index cards for these categories.
  4. Remind students that not all categories may be in their books, and for that reason, students will also use the Internet for information during the next class period.
  5. At the end of the period, have each student turn in one source card and at least two note cards in a plastic sandwich baggie for checking for format and fragments.

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Session Five

  1. Return cards to students from previous day and cover any problem areas.
  2. Have students begin using the Internet for research.  Direct the students to the three bookmarked websites (FactCite, Mythweb, and Encyclopedia Mythica), and have students create source cards for the websites.
  3. Have the students continue to find information.  Observe students' time-on-task while floating throughout the classroom and helping students with questions they may have.
  4. At the end of this class period, collect from each student a second source card and at least two more note cards.  These are to be rubberbanded together, separate from the previous session's cards.

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Session Six

  1. Discuss again with students why resources must be cited as a reminder of Session Three.
  2. Have students take their source cards out of their baggies.
  3. Model for students how to create a citation from the information on their cards.  Show the students how to create a citation for a book and for a website.  Move this information onto a works cited page.
  4. Allow students time to create their own citations and works cited page.
  5. To help students learning how to cite information for the first time, you might want to have the students use the EasyBib website.
  6. Again, collect the students' baggies with their notecards, to be returned during the next session.

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Session Seven

  1. Return all note cards to the students.
  2. Go over the Photo Story Rubric with the students so they will know what is expected in their final product.
  3. Give each student a copy of the Introductions and Conclusions printout.  Ask the students to discuss how authors make the beginnings of books interesting and to discuss why it is important for an author to have a great beginning to a book.  Relate this to their introduction for their digital story.
  4. Ask the students to discuss what makes a good ending to a story, referring to the Introductions and Conclusions printout .  Relate this to their conclusion for their digital story.
  5. Have the students meet in partners to decide who will write the introduction for their story and who will write the conclusion.  Explain that the introduction and conclusion will be two slides of their digital story.
  6. Hand out to each pair of students ten storyboards, one for each Microsoft Photo Story slide. Instruct students to write their scripts on these storyboards which they will read and record.  Tell the students the eight categories they have researched now become the remaining eight slides and to write their fragments from their note cards into complete sentences.

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Session Eight

  1. Select a short picture book (see booklist) to read to the students.  Choose one that has colorful pictures that go well with the text, such as Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas.  Read several pages but do not finish the book. 
  2. Have students discuss how the pictures support the story and add to the story.  Read more of the story without showing the students the illustrations.  Have the students suggest what pictures they would use to complement the story.
  3. Explain to the students that their scripts and pictures will need the same partnership as a book and its illustrations.  Have students review their scripts and list possible pictures they could search for online that will complement their scripts.
  4. Assign each pair of students to one computer that has Internet capabilities.
  5. Instruct the students on how to save ten photos from the Internet to their computers.  Explain to the students that Microsoft Photo Story only allows for one photo to be used per slide, so each photo will be a slide.

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Sessions Nine through Twelve

  1. Show students an example photo story so that they have a full understanding of what their finished products will look like.
  2. Model the steps of creating a digital story using Microsoft Photo Story, and give the students the Microsoft Photo Story Instructions printout. 
  3. First, import their pictures, organize them to match the script, and eliminate black borders.  Allow students time to work on these three steps.
  4. Next, model how to add text to the pictures and not obscure the pictures.  Show students how to place the text on the top, bottom, or middle and then to the right or left.  Show students how to change the color of the text so the words are contrasting to the background.  Allow students time to work on this step.
  5. Model for students how to record their scripts.  Show them how they can record, playback, and delete sound.  Remind students of the Photo Story Rubric that mentions reading clearly and with expression. Allow students time to work on recordings, which will probably take the longest of the steps.
  6. Model for students how to add transitions between the slides.  Allow students time to work on this step.
  7. If using Microsoft Photo Story, model for students how to add music from the selections in the software.  Discuss how music influences our moods and how their musical selection should be appropriate for their storyline. Show them how to adjust the volume of the music to be background music so that their own voices stand out in their stories.  Allow students time to choose music.
  8. Allow time for students to polish and revise their digital stories.
  9. At the final session, show the students how to make the final step of saving the story so that it can be played on a media player, rather than just in Microsoft Photo Story.

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Sessions Thirteen and Fourteen

  1. Play each pair’s digital story.  After each story, ask students to share three new things they learned from their peers' presentation.

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EXTENSIONS

  • Co-teach this lesson between social studies and language arts classes.  Have the students learn the research techniques in the language arts classes as well as complete the note cards.  Then have them produce the digital story in the social studies classes or with the help of a library media specialist.
  • Have students share their digital stories with a younger class at school.
  • Post the stories on a class wiki so that families can watch the digital stories at home.
  • Once students have presented their stories to the class, have students play Mythology Hangman to see what they learned from each other’s presentations.
  • After students have shared their digital stories, they have great background knowledge for reading The Lighting Thief or The Lost Hero, both by Rick Riordan.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

Possible student assessments to be used throughout this lesson include:

  • evaluate the students’ final projects with the Photo Story Rubric.
  • observe and evaluate the students’ time on task during all sessions.
  • evaluate the students’ note cards, source cards, and works cited page.
  • use student journals to have students reflect on what they learned about technology and about Greek figures.

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