The Heroes in the Greek Myth of Perseus

Catherine Welch

Grade: 6th grade English
Date: December and January
Technology: wiki, mind mapping, Photoshop, audio book "The Lightening Thief," computer projector, and the Internet.

Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Lesson 6
Lesson 7
Lesson 8
Lesson 9
Lesson 10

Lesson 1

Objective: This lesson will activate students’ prior knowledge of the definition and qualities of heroes and heroines before they read about heroes in the Greek myth of Perseus.

Copies of the Anticipation Guide

Teaching Point:
Before we begin reading about Greek heroes, we need to think about what we already know about heroes in our society so we can have an idea of what to expect of heroes from another culture.

Today we are going to think about something familiar to all of us who are book fans, cartoon fans, movie fans and sports fans, heroes and heroines.

Today I am going to ask that you take a look at this Anticipation Guide- it is a guide that will get our minds thinking about the idea of heroes in our lives and based upon our own experiences. Let’s read through the directions carefully together. Read directions. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. They were chosen to make you think deeply. You’ll read the statements on your own first and decide whether you think that the statement is Always true, Sometimes true or Never true. Think deeply about the statement before answering. Listen as I model one for you on the overhead.

Heroes are courageous._sometimes

Think aloud in front of the class for a minute, explaining how in your experience heroes can sometimes be afraid, etc.

Active Engagement:
Ok, now it is your turn to complete the Anticipation Guide. When you have finished, you will have time to discuss in your groups.

Anticipation Guide


1. Read each statement below.
2. Write always, sometimes or never to respond to the following questions.
3. Share your reactions with your group.
4. Briefly write about the key points that you and your group discussed.

1. Can a person who has committed murder become a hero or heroine?_

2. Is killing someone who is bad heroic or is it never okay?

3. Do heroes or heroines have to act as role models for the rest of the community?

4. Do heroes or heroines have to live virtuously in all areas of life? __

Independent Practice:
Students will have small group discussions about what it means to be a hero.

Each group has one reporter who shares back to the large group. We will record main ideas on a piece of chart paper.

Exit Slip:
List one hero that you have in our society and explain why you think this person is a hero.

Lesson Two:

Objective: Students will understand that in order to retain information they can read/pause and retell the information contained in the passage to help them better understand the information.

MP3 reading of Chapter One of The Lightening Thief- read by the author.
Overhead projector
Transparency of first few pages of Lightening Thief

Connection: Yesterday we began our discussion of heroes and you did a wonderful job working in groups and developing ideas about heroes. Today, we are going to meet Rick Riordan’s hero, as we begin reading The Lightening Thief. Percy’s life is complicated so we need to keep our eyes and ears open in order to remember everything that we learn about Percy.

Listen to Rick Riordan reading of chapter one of The Lightening Thief, that describes Percy ( an uncommon hero).

- List as many things as you can remember about what you just heard in your Literature Journal.

Read a paragraph on p. 2 (bottom)
- Wow! There’s a lot to remember here!
- Here’s my retell:
- Percy blew up a school bus with a cannon.
- Watch me as I try it again.
- Reread the passage out loud to the students, and then silently read it to yourself. After two readings, give a detailed retell.
- Percy always gets into trouble on fieldtrips. On a 5th grade field trip to Saratoga, he blew up a school bus with a Revolutionary War cannon and was expelled from school. On 4th grade trip to Marine World, he let all of the water and the sharks out of the shark pool.
- Point out how much you remembered by rereading the passage. Explain that sometimes you have to read really complicated passages three times- which is great, as long as you are retaining more information each time that you read.

Active Engagement: Expose the next short paragraph on the overhead and ask students to practice the strategy.

Link: Working with a partner will help you to practice this skill. Practice the strategy out loud with your partner, while the partner keeps the book in front of him or her and sees how much you can recall in your retell.

Independent Practice: Students work in groups of two, practicing Read/Pause/Retell for 15-20 minutes, using a myth of their choice from the classroom library.

Homework: Read the rest of chapter one of The Lightening Thief, using the Read/Pause/Retell strategy. Write out your retells on large post-it notes (provided by teacher).

Lesson 3 (Extended Period)

Do Now: Spend 15 minutes practicing “Read/Pause/Retell” in your independent myth that you
began reading with your partner yesterday. When you’re practicing this with a partner, you don’t need to write down your retell, just speak it to your partner.

Literature Journals
Copies of Evslin’s Perseus Myth
Independent Myth Books

Students will understand that when they browse the reading and encounter a new term, they can create a word map to better understand the term and thereby, better comprehend the reading.

Teaching Point: Great readers browse their reading before they begin, looking for key vocabulary and begin to define it.

So far this week, we have completed anticipation guides to help prepare us to read and learn about heroes. What a rich discussion we had about what it takes to make a hero . Yesterday, we practiced the Read/Pause/Retell strategy to help us remember all of the information contained in the myths and novel that we are reading. So you remember how I asked you to write down someone you believe to be a hero in our society? Well, I have combine our answers into this long list. Looking at this list, I started to think about the word hero and tried to create a definition of the word in my own mind, without using a dictionary but guess what? I couldn’t seem to organize my ideas into a definition. One way to solve this problem, when you read a complex word, is to create a word map.

Teach: The word hero came up again as I was browsing the Perseus myth. Just like when you’re shopping and you browse around the store before you choose a new shirt, it is important to browse the reading before you read, looking for new and interesting things. As I browsed, some key terms popped out at me that I only kind-of knew the meaning of. One of these words was hero.

Here’s how you start a WordMap

Complete Word Map of ‘Hero’ by thinking aloud.

Active Engagement: In your journals, I would like you to list at least two things under the “Examples” category. Teacher circulates to help support students who may be struggling.

Quick Share: 2 minute pair share of examples. Then teacher illicits a few responses from the class to put on the class chart.

Independent Practice: As we read the Perseus myth, we’ll certainly find more items to add to this map, but right now we have a few more key words to define before we read. Let’s browse The Perseus myth together- looking for more key terms.

Teacher guides students to look at the words in bold that divide sections of the story. Record the list of these words on chart paper.


In your groups of four, you’ll choose one of these words. Tomorrow, you’ll get a chance to map out that word in your groups.

In your Literature Journals write down two ideas that you have for your word map- they may fall under any of the categories.

Read Chapter two of The Lightening Thief. In your Literature Journal answer the following in complete sentences: What is your first impression of Percy? Would you want to be his friend? Give at least two reasons from the book to support your answer. Think of two good adjectives to describe Percy.

Lesson 4

Objective: Students will map terms that they found by browsing the myth and by doing so, understand that we need to think about key terms before we begin reading.

Perseus Myth
Literature Journals
Chart Paper

Do Now: Write you favorite adjective to describe Percy on a post-it and attach it to the chart called “Qualities of Percy”

Yesterday, we learned that it is helpful to browse our reading before we read, looking for new and confusing vocabulary. You were excellent browsers and came up with this list of key words by looking for the bold faced words that divided the sections. Then, each group chose a word from this list and each member wrote out two ideas for your group’s word map. Now, you’re ready to map out your words. This will help us to understand Persues story better, Persues’ namesake.

When I was thinking about your word maps, and where they should be kept, I wanted to make sure that you have them both in your notebooks but it is also important that they’re visible to your classmates and posted around the room. So please create a draft in your journals before you move onto the chart paper. Also, remember that these are works in progress. As we read the Perseus myth, we’ll have more to add to these maps. Let’s take one more look at the Hero word map. Now, I was reading the newspaper on the train this morning and I saw this picture on the front page of the paper.
Talk about the image and how it reminded you of our map and add “soldier” to the example of hero. Remind students that our own experiences and things that we see everyday help us to complete our maps and better understand words.

Work Period:
Students will work on their wordmaps in their groups, first in their journals and then record them on their charts using blue markers.

The charts will be posted around the room, organized so that the same words are placed together. Briefly review the charts and after each word, ask students from other groups if they have anything to add. They will add it in green marker on the chart.

Exit Slip: Choose one of the words (not your own) that you learned more about today. Explain what you learned.

Read p.109-113 of the Perseus Myth.
In your literature circle notebook explain The Prophecy in the myth. You may use sketches, cut out pictures from magazines, writing or all of the above. Just make sure that you can explain Perseus’ prophecy.

Lesson 5

Objective: Students will understand that visualizing reading helps us to better understand complicated plot lines.

Overhead projector
Transparency with excerpt of “The Island” from Perseus myth
Student copies of Perseus myth
White computer paper

Do Now:
Pair share with the person sitting next to you. Explain to your partner how you explained the prophecy.

Quick Share:
Illicit a few responses from the class. Ask the students to explain how their partner depicted the prophecy.

So far you have learned how to browse a new text for key words, and create word maps to help you to better understand those words. Maps are visual representations that help us to understand where we’re going and in the case of word maps, help us to understand how to piece together the meaning of a word. Last night you took your first shot at visualization or creating an image, based on something that you read. Today, we’re going to continue to work on visualization with complicated plot lines.

Read a section of “The Island” aloud to the students as they read along at their seats.
After you read the first paragraph- think aloud- showing how you are visualizing the action and making little sketches to yourself in the margins to help to paint a picture in your head of what is going on.

Active Engagement:
Read a second small section and have students make a sketch in their own books at their seats.
Invite one student to sketch what they drew, up on the overhead.

Independent Work:
In groups of three, students will read the rest of the myth together, sketching and making notes to themselves as they go along. Tell students that they should be thorough, as they will be mapping the story out tomorrow.

What qualities can you identify in yourself that are qualities of a hero?

If you didn’t finish in class, read the rest of the Perseus myth, using visualization sketches to help you along.

Lesson 6 (Extended Period)

Objective: Students will work together to create visualization maps to help them understand the complicated plot line of the Perseus myth.

Paper 8.5x11-white
Colored Pencils
Independent Myth Books
Evslin Heroes, Gods and Monsters

Do Now: Finish up your independent myth book using Read/Pause/Retell (15 minutes)

Connection: Now that you have finished up your own reading and sketching of Perseus’ story, it is time to work together with your group mates to retell the myth. By now you have made real headway with Read/Pause/Respond. Visualization allows us to retell as well, but instead of retelling with words, you retell with pictures.

Teach: Go back to opening of The Lightening Thief that was used to teach Read/Pause/Retell.
- This should look familiar to everyone because we used it once before, but now we’re going to use it to practice visualization
- Watch me as I read and make notes and sketches
- Then, take a new transparency with boxes and begin creating pictures to represent the main events.
- I am creating a sketch map of the main events in this section because when I sketch events it helps me to remember the events and the orders in which in takes place.

Link: Sketching out events in a book helps us to paint an picture in our minds. That picture is likely to stick there for a longer time, than if you had just read a paragraph and closed the book.

Independent Practice:

Using rulers, pencils, colored pencils and their books, students will create a visual map of the story of Perseus in pairs.

Break students into pairs. Ideally, the teacher will pair students with artistic talents and lower comprehension with students with high comprehension.

Each of the five sections of the story will have 2 boxes for pictures.

Exit Slip: How did visualization help you to remember this myth?

Bring in a picture a superhero in our culture. It could be drawn, printed offline or cut out of a magazine.

Read Chapter three of The Lightening Thief. Choose one of the following strategies to complete for the chapter
1. Sketch to learn
2. Read/Pause/Retell using post-its
3. Create a word map for 3 words from the chapter

Lesson 7

Objective: Students will analyze characters and be able to infer character traits by reading closely and focusing on strengths and weaknesses.

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief
Literature Circle Journal
Teacher copy of Osiris myth
Perseus Myth
Cut outs of heroes

Do Now: Look at your hero that you brought in for homework. In your Literature Journal list one strength that your hero has and then share with the person next to you.

Connection: You have been doing great jobs thinking and reading about Perseus, a hero in Greek mythology. You’ve even used visualization to paint a picture in your head of what is happening in complicated plot lines. When we first started this unit, we talked about how mythological characters were based on people and real people have strengths and weakness, things that we’re great at and things that we aren’t so great at. As careful readers, we need to read a book, looking for clues that let us know what are characters are really like.

Teach: Read the first paragraph of an abridged Osiris myth on the overhead (cover up the 2nd half of the myth), using visualization technique here and there.

-After reading, go back through and double entry journal of “It Says” and “I Say”.

- Let students know that authors want us to use their writing to infer meaning or create it on our own. They will not come out and say everything.


The Osiris/Seth/Horus Legend
Osiris was the King of the Earth and Isis was his Queen. He was a good King and ruled over the Earth for many years. However, his brother Seth was jealous of Osiris. He became more and more jealous, eventually decided to kill Osiris and take his place. He built a box (sometimes called a coffin) and inscribed it with powerful magic that would hold anyone, man or God, who entered the box. Seth then brought the box to a big feast of the Gods. He waited till Osiris was drunk and then challenged him to a contest of strength. Each of them would enter the box and attempt to break out with pure strength. Osiris was drunk and believed he could break out of this box, so he entered the box. Seth sealed the box with molten lead and Osiris was held inside by the powerful magic. Seth threw the box in the Nile and set it adrift. Seth then claimed the throne and Isis as his Queen. None of the other Gods dared to oppose him, since he had killed Osiris.

It Says I Say
Seth inscribed the box Seth is good at magic.
with powerful magic.

Seth waited until Osiris was drunk. Osiris wasn’t careful.

Active Engagement: Reveal the second half of the myth. Ask students to draw a double entry journal in their Literature Journal and complete one “It Says /I Say” for the second half of the myth.

Quick Share: Ask a few students what they found.

Independent Practice: Complete chapter 4 of The Lightening Thief. As you read independently, complete at least 3 entries of “It Says/ I Say”- focusing on what we learn about Gabe.

Share: Create a chart of “I Says” about Gabe.

Read chapter Five of The Lightening Thief. In your Literature Journal complete three “It Says/I Say” entries, using the chapter.
There are many vivid character descriptions in this chapter. Choose your favorite one and mark it with a post-it, listing why you chose it.

Lesson 8:

Writing Lesson

Students will be able to begin the process of writing a character description, drawing from their own lives.

Overhead copy of excerpt of Sea of Monsters character description
Writer’s Notebooks

Do Now:
Pair Share: Share your favorite character description with a partner. Are your descriptions similar or different? How are they alike and how are they different?

Connection: By now, you have really gotten to know Percy, Grover, Chiron and the rest of the characters at Camp Half Blood, and have used visualization to help you paint pictures of them in your head. Now, we are going to take a look at how Rick Riordan creates these vivid characters so that they stick in our minds.

Teach : Read-Aloud on the overhead
Teacher will read aloud a character description of Tyson from The Sea of Monsters, the sequel to The Lightening Thief.

-Underline the lines that really stick out, based on student ideas.

-Ask students to use their prior knowledge (from poetry unit and the start of the year) to identify what literary devices are used.

-Emphasize that these devices paint pictures of the characters in our heads.

-Teacher presents a character description written by the teacher that has no literary devices.

-Emphasize that this is a description of my uncle, someone whom I know well. Invite students to judge which is better.

-With the help of the students, revise a line or two, using literary devices.

Active Engagement:
Revise another line of the teacher’s bland character description in their Writer’s notebooks.

Independent Practice:
Teacher reads her own revised character description of Uncle John.

Now, think about someone who you know well that you could write a description of. It could be a friend, a family member or a man that you see waiting for the subway every morning. Remember to use details and similes and metaphors to make it come alive.

Ask a few students to share. Other students who are not sharing should write down favorite lines that they heads form other students in their Writer’s Notebooks (they might help them later)

Read Chapter 6 of The Lightening Thief. Find a favorite character description. What literary devices are used? In your opinion, which ones work the best in Rick Riordan’s writing? Explain in a good paragraph.

Choose a god or goddess to be the mother or father of your demigod. Write it in your Writer’s Notebook.

Lesson Nine

Students will use Sketch- to- Learn and their knowledge of god and goddesses from various cultures to develop a physical description of a demigod of his or her own creation.

Excerpt of a character description from The Lightening Thief
Overhead projector
Blank transparency
Transparency of a model sketch of a character with labeled body parts and clothes.
Large white paper

Over the past week, you have all revealed how much sketching can help readers visualize and understand what they read. As I looked through your literature circle journals, it is clear to me that you’re really understanding what you are reading. Now, let’s take this same skill and apply it to our writing and the creation of our demigods. Many of us like to doodle. I even do it sometimes when I am in a meeting or on the train. It’s strange, but sometimes it even helps me to focus. This same type of drawing can be used as a brainstorming tool for our writing.

Watch me as I try to develop my own demigod, using this sketch of a Farmer Dan that I found as an example Last night I decided that Aphrodite will be my demigod’s mother. Now, what will she look like? Let me take a look at Farmer Dan. Teacher places prepared sketch on the overhead.

I notice that the shape of this farmer’s face is labeled as long, so I need to think of a face shape that will fit my demigod. I know that Aphrodite is the goddess of love, so she shouldn’t have a long face. Hmm. What if I make her have a heart-shaped face because a heart is the symbol of love?

Teacher begins to sketch and think aloud, labeling body parts with brief descriptions.

Active Engagement:
Teacher illicits student responses:

What type of hair would you choose for the daughter of Aphrodite?

How can we label her hair so that it is descriptive?

Independent Practice:
Students begin sketching their demigods at their desks.

Research materials on the gods and goddesses are available in the classroom library in case students need to refresh their memories.
Teacher provides photocopies of Farmer Dan model sketch for students to keep at their desks.

Exit Slip: List two hints that you created in your sketch that help us to figure out who your demigod’s mom or dad is.
(Example: Heart-shaped face)

Lesson Ten

Students will compare characters from various different cultures and myths in order to think about the ways in which demigods and gods are alike and different. Then students will use the information that they learn to help formulate the personality of a character of their own creation.

Chart paper with the chart below drawn out
Photocopies of the chart below

Do Now:
In your Writer’s notebook, list two qualities that you think that you and one of the demigods that you met in The Lightening Thief, have in common. You may choose from any of the demigods in The Lightening Thief.

Quick Share:
Ask a few students to share these qualities with the class.

We have been immersing ourselves in mythology from all over the world through our reading. Yesterday, you did a beautiful job applying this knowledge and creating your own demigod. Today you will again test your knowledge of the gods and goddesses, mythological heroes like Perseus, and your own demigod! We started off today by making some connections between one of the demigod’s in our novel and we learned that in some ways, we are similar to the young heroes. Now, let’s compare even more.

  • Today, you will be completing a chart in groups of three, in order to spark some ideas for a class discussion. Then, you will use this same chart to help you work on creating your own demigod’s personality.
  • Let’s take a look at this chart together. On the left hand side I have listed several of the characters that we have met. Some are demigods from The Lightening Thief and some are gods.

  • Across the top there are four different adjectives that describe personality. Some of these adjectives describe some of the characters listed, but not all. Our job is to think about what we know about these characters and decide if they have any of these qualities.

  • Watch me as I begin with Percy. Think out loud about what we know about Percy from the way he acts and thinks in the book. Percy often doesn’t think before he acts, like the time that he was almost tricked by Auntie Em (Medusa). Annabeth is always getting him out of trouble. She might be careful but Percy isn’t so I won’t put an “X” in that box.

  • Now, let’s all think about Percy and powerful. First, we need to think back to the book. Can you think of any specific times when Percy acted powerfully?

  • Teacher calls on a few students for examples.

  • We have found several examples of Percy acting in a powerful way, so we can certainly call Percy powerful. Let’s put an “X” in that box.

  • What about this next category? How can we decide if Percy is hot-tempered? Great, we need to use our memories and the book to look for evidence.

Active Engagement:

Students look for evidence of Percy being hot-tempered in the novel.

Independent Practice:

  • In groups of three, students will complete the Semantic Chart for the next four characters.

  • After they have completed this, each group will choose another god or hero and go through the same process (using only the four qualities).

Directions: Place an “X” in the box if the character has the quality listed in boxes (#1-#6) across the top. If the character doesn’t have the quality, leave the box empty.

Add your own qualities in numbers 5 and 6 AFTER you have completed 1-4.

Careful #2
Powerful #3
Smart #4
Hot-Tempered #5
(Choose your own quality)

(Choose your own quality)
(Choose a god or hero from another myth)

Your demigod

  • Groups will post one of their charts of the board.

  • Students will walk around in groups, recording any patterns that they notice.
For Example: gods are often hot-tempered.

Students will share patterns that they discovered.

Teacher asks the class, “What conclusions can we draw from this?”

Choose two qualities that you know that your demigod and his or her godparent share. Add these qualities to the chart and complete it for all nine characters.