We have been concentrating on myths in our reading/writing (to connect to the Native American unit we just wrapped up) and I wanted to share a few things we did with you.
The Gift of the Sacred Dog (Reading Rainbow Book)
, which is a myth to tell how the Native peoples were gifted the horse. It really was a great myth to read because it is pretty typical of all myths. We were able to really see all of the major elements found within myths.
We then created a simple "door" foldable (I have no idea if that is what it is called...it is just what I called it) with all of the major traits of a myth on it. The students looked through The Gift of the Sacred Dog (Reading Rainbow Book)
and picked out examples of all the major mythical traits.
As a class, we put all the information together on a big class chart (which, of course, I did NOT take a picture of!) Doing this allowed the students to see just how universal these mythological traits were and how they could be found in one way or another within the myths. They also saw that not all of the myths had every.single trait, and that was ok too.
Next, I wanted the students to transfer this knowledge into writing their own myths. The students went outside and we listened, looked, felt, and smelled nature. They then wrote all of their observations down in a circle map.
Once that was done, the kids thought of one observation they wanted to "explain". It could have been why black widows have spots or why trees are rooted in the ground and can't move. We went over and over how these myths were not to be the scientific explanation, but a creative explanation that happened long ago and involved nature.
Since they knew where they were going to start, and where they wanted to finish, I asked them to fill in this myth trait chart with all of the elements they thought they would want to include. This was more of a brainstorm sheet, so if they ended up not using the ideas, that was ok. I just wanted them to begin to think about what supernatural elements, or whatnot they might include.
Next, came the rough draft, followed by numerous peer revision sessions, and finally a final draft. Overall, these came out good. They seemed to get the point of the myth and how it is used in traditional cultures (which was the point of it all) and I am pleased with that.
What are you working on in your reading/writing block?