Roman Myths

Students read, discuss and analyze a collection of Roman myths as they learn about the values and beliefs of the ancient Roman Empire and consider the role that myths, gods, and storytelling held.

Unit Summary

This unit connects with the third grade Social Studies Unit 1, Ancient Rome. In the Social Studies unit, students study and learn about the values and beliefs of the ancient Roman Empire. In this literature unit, students begin to see the role that myths, gods, and storytelling had in ancient Rome by reading a collection on Roman myths. While reading the myths, students will be challenged to think about how the myths illustrate and show the beliefs and customs of the Roman Empire. Students will also be challenged to think what the myths teach about retaliation and generosity. 

In reading and writing, this unit focuses on helping readers solidify their understanding of the connection between recounting stories, determining a central message, and using details to explain how the central message is conveyed. Through multiple readings of the same myths, students will be able to analyze and discover the way in which messages are developed. Students will then be pushed to articulate this understanding both orally and in writing. Rereading the same myth multiple times also supports students fluency and vocabulary development.

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Unit Launch

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Texts and Materials

Core Materials

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Assessment

These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills. Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What messages do Roman myths convey about retaliation? 
  • What messages do Roman myths convey about the power of generosity? 
  • Who were the twelve major gods and goddesses who were honored and worshiped in ancient Rome? What role do they play in different myths?  

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write simple, compound, and complex sentences.
  • Edit for complete sentences and spelling

There are no new sentence focus areas in this unit. During this unit students will practice responding to daily Target Task questions using a variety of sentence constructions. 

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Use dialogue and description to show character responses
  • Use relevant text details or background knowledge from the text to develop characters, ideas, or situations
  • Use temporal words to show a sense of time (when, after, later, etc.)
  • Use powerful and precise vocabulary to create a picture
  • Provide a sense of closure

The narrative focus of this unit is on writing narrative literary essays in response to a text. In previous units, students have explored the genre of narrative by writing personal narratives mimicking the author’s craft found in unit texts. In this unit, students will transition from writing personal narratives to writing narratives as a way of showing and deepening understanding of a literary text. Students will see a variety of prompts over the course of the unit, but all prompts require students to use what they have read in the text as a foundation for their stories. Effectively including and elaborating on details from the text while using a purposeful organizational structure should be the focus for the first part of the unit. Once students have grasped using key details from the text as a foundation for narrative writing, mini-lessons will focus on dialogue, temporal words, powerful vocabulary and description.

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Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers self-correct when reading difficult words and sentence structures. 
  • Readers read smoothly and with accuracy. 
  • Readers read in a conversational manner that matches purpose for reading. 
  • Readers adjust reading rate depending on the purpose for reading and task.

The main focus of this unit is on reading grade-level prose with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression. Students will read the same text multiple times allowing students to practice different teaching points. Students who have struggled with fluency in previous units should receive additional modeling and support during independent reading. 

Teachers should plan to do fluency checkpoints at several points throughout a unit. Have students grade themselves or a friend on the Reading Fluency Rubric. If a student scores a 2 or lower on any of the sections, we offer some ideas for additional fluency instruction and support in our Fluency Assessment Package.

At the end of each unit, teachers should assess each student using the unit’s fluency assessment found in the Fluency Assessment Package. This assessment is quick. Teachers should plan to pull students one-on-one to do this while the rest of the class is independently reading or writing.

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Fluency Package

Additional tools to help monitor and support students’ reading fluency.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Elaborate to support ideas. Students provide evidence or examples to justify and defend their point clearly. 
  • Use vocabulary. Students use vocabulary that is specific to the subject and task to clarify and share thoughts.
  • Build on partner's ideas. Students seek to genuinely understand what their peers are saying, and then build on. 

In units one and two students worked on clarifying and sharing their on thoughts during a discussion. They worked on providing evidence or examples to justify and defend their point clearly, and using specific vocabulary when sharing their thoughts. In this unit, students move beyond their own reasoning and begin to respond and interact with the reasoning of others. Students are held responsible for listening to and learning from their peers, and begin to refine and clarify their own thinking  based on others' ideas. 

When building on to partner's ideas, students should seek to genuinely understand what their peers are saying and build on. Ideas should not be random, disconnected, or replace a previous idea. Rather, ideas should zoom in on a particular idea that was said, make a connection between a previous idea and a new idea, or challenge a particular part of an idea. Guidance on teacher moves to support these discussion focuses can be found in our Guide to Academic Discourse (below).

Vocabulary

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Below are all of the unit vocabulary words. Prior to teaching the unit, we recommend teachers decide which words to prioritize. We also recommend that teachers decide which affixes to prioritize. See our teacher tool Prepping Unit Vocabulary (below) for more guidance on which words to pick as priority words.

Text-based

aimless armful assured banished bear delightfully despair desperately dilemma disappearance disbelief disobey dispute enraged envy eternal fearful flattered helpless imprisoned injustice misery mourn outcast overwhelmed persuade radiant restless sorrow sorrowfully sympathy taunted took pity torment unravels unseen unwise watchful wickedness

Root/Affix

-ful -less -ly -ness dis- en- im- in- un-

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Vocabulary Package

Additional vocabulary tools that help reinforce and support student vocabulary development.

Lesson Map

1

  • Roman Myths pp. 7 – 19

    RL.3.3

Describe the twelve major gods and goddesses who were honored and worshiped in ancient Rome. 

2

  • Roman Myths pp. 27 – 32 — “The Oak and the Linden Tree”

    RL.3.3

Describe Jupiter, Baucis, and Philemon.

3

  • Roman Myths pp. 33 – 37 — “The Oak and the Linden Tree”

    RL.3.2

Describe the central message of “The Oak and the Linden Tree” and how it is conveyed through key details.

4

  • Roman Myths — “Prometheus and Io“

    RL.3.2

    RL.3.3

Describe what happened to Io. 

5Essential Task

  • Roman Myths — “Prometheus and Io” (close read)

    RL.3.3

Explain how Jupiter’s actions contributed to the sequence of events.

6

  • Roman Myths — “Atlas and the Eleventh Labor of Hercules”

    RL.3.3

Describe how Hercules’s actions contribute to the sequence of events.

7

  • Roman Myths — “Atlas and the Eleventh Labor of Hercules”

    RL.3.2

Describe the central message of “Atlas and the Eleventh Labor of Hercules” and how it is conveyed through key details.

8

2 days

Narrative Writing

  • Roman Myths — “Atlas and the Eleventh Labor of Hercules”

    W.3.3

    W.3.3.b

Write a story about what happens when Hercules tries to return the golden apples by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.

9

Discussion

    SL.3.1

Analzye and debate unit essential questions using details and understandings from the different myths. 

10

  • Roman Myths pp. 101 – 108 — “Cupid and Psyche”

    RL.3.3

Explain why Psyche is unable to find true love and what impact it has on everyone. 

11

  • Roman Myths pp. 108 – 119 — “Cupid and Psyche”

    RL.3.3

Describe how Psyche’s sisters influence her and the sequence of events in the story.

12Essential Task

  • Roman Myths — “Cupid and Psyche” (close read)

    RL.3.2

Describe the central message of “Cupid and Psyche” and how it is conveyed through key details.

13

2 days

Narrative Writing

  • Roman Myths — “Cupid and Psyche”

    W.3.3

    W.3.3.b

    W.3.3.c

    L.3.1

    L.3.2

Write a story about how Psyche responds to the fact that Cupid is gone when she wakes up by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.

14

  • Roman Myths — “Otus and Ephialtes, Twin Giants”

    RL.3.3

Describe Otus and Ephialtes and how they influence the sequence of events.

15

  • Roman Myths — “Otus and Ephialtes, Twin Giants” (close read)

    RL.3.2

Describe the central message of “Otus and Ephialtes, Twin Giants” and how it is conveyed through key details.

16

2 days

Narrative Writing

  • Roman Myths — “Otus and Ephialtes, Twin Giants”

    W.3.3

    W.3.3.b

    L.3.1

    L.3.2

Write a story describing what happens after the gods got their revenge by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.

17

  • Roman Myths — “Romulus and Remus”

    RL.3.3

Defend if Romulus and Remus’s desire for power had a positive or negative impact on their lives.

18Essential Task

  • Roman Myths — “Romulus and Remus”

    RL.3.2

    RL.3.3

    SL.3.1

Describe the central message of “Romulus and Remus” and how it is conveyed through key details.

19

Narrative Writing

  • Roman Myths — “Romulus and Remus”

    W.3.3

    W.3.3.b

    L.3.1

Write a story about what happens after Romulus welcomed everyone to his new city, Rome, by retelling key details from the text using descriptive details and clear sequence of events.

20Essential Task

Discussion

  • Roman Myths

    RL.3.2

    SL.3.1

Analzye and debate unit essential questions using details and understandings from the different myths.  

21

Assessment

22

2 days

Narrative Writing

  • Roman Myths

    W.3.3

    W.3.3.b

    W.3.3.c

    W.3.3.d

Write a continuation of one of the stories from the unit by using relevant details from the text to write a story with a clear sequence of events and descriptive details.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.3.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.3.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.3.2 — Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

  • RL.3.3 — Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.3.1 — Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Writing Standards
  • W.3.1 — Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

  • W.3.1.a — Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.

  • W.3.1.b — Provide reasons that support the opinion.

  • W.3.1.d — Provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.3.3 — Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

  • W.3.3.b — Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

  • W.3.3.c — Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.

  • W.3.3.d — Provide a sense of closure.

Sprial Standards

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L.3.1.a

L.3.1.d

L.3.1.e

L.3.1.f

L.3.1.g

L.3.1.h

L.3.2.c

L.3.3

L.3.3.a

L.3.4.a

L.3.4.b

L.3.5.c

L.3.6

RF.3.3

RF.3.4

RL.3.1

RL.3.10

RL.3.4

RL.3.7

SL.3.1

SL.3.1.a

SL.3.1.b

SL.3.1.c

SL.3.1.d

SL.3.6

W.3.10

W.3.4

W.3.5

W.3.6