- read stories from various world cultures; demonstrating reading fluency and comprehension.
- improve and extend thinking by analyzing texts, develop explanations, and compare viewpoints
Steps to the Unit
- Brainstorm the various myths and legends known by students.
- Watch a Witsuwit’en legend titled Beasts and Berries.
- Read two to three different world myths and legends and analyze their different elements.
- Compare and contrast the Beasts and Berries legend with another myth/legend.
- Reflect on the process.
Students will read a legend of their choice and will compare and contrast that story with the Witsuwit’en Beasts and Berries legend.
- choose a legend from their school library.
- read their chosen legend to either a partner, small group, or to the class.
- give constuctive feedback to the story reader and make suggestions for improvement.
- complete a compare and contrast template (provided).
Activate Prior Knowledge:
Legends are an important way of obtaining information regarding people’s beliefs about how they explain the spiritual and physical world around them. Legends can explain something in nature, teach a lesson, or entertain. They often have mythical creatures, heroes, and transformations of humans into animals etc.
Teachers conduct a class discussion and brainstorm on the board what myths and local legends the students are already familiar with (ie. Greek/Roman myths, local creation legends, great flood stories).
Predict and Question:
As mentioned, legends are very important in global cultures as people attempt to explain the world around them. Some questions the teacher should ask the students to consider include:
- Who were the stories told/written for?
- What are the students wondering about legends?
Student watch a video of the Witsuwit’en legend title Beasts and Berries. Using a Story Grammar sheet, students identify the key plot elements, main characters, setting, and overall theme/moral of the Beasts and Berries story.
Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the video.
Students now read a variety of legends and myths from other world cultures and identify the plot elements, characters, and settings, and themes/morals of those stories. Students should read/view at least 2-3 different legends/myths to build a knowledge base of other myths and legends. Students may read independently or share a story in an A/B partner format – the main goal is for students to identify the plot elements, characters, settings, and theme of the stories. Students may use either a Story Grammar sheet or a Legends/Myths Four Quad organizer.
Sources for myths and legends include the following:
Raven Tales episodes (the popular animated series on APTN – available in your local school district resource center)
D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths (D’Aulaire, I. (1962). New York: Doubleday)
D’Aulaires Book of Norse Myths (D’Aulaire, E.P. (2005). New York: Doubleday)
- American Myths and Legends
- Native American Legends, Myths, and Lore
- Myths, Legends, Fables and Folklore
Once students have chosen their myths/legends to read, students will read one story (or portion of a story) to a partner, small group, or to the entire class. Listeners can give positive feedback to the reader and make suggestions for imrovement (ie. diction, projection of voice, vocal pace, etc).
Once the students have read their chosen myths and legends, they choose one story and compare its plot elements, characters, settings, and themes to those of the Beasts and BerriesWitsuwit’en legend. Students can create their own Venn Diagram or use a Venn Diagram template. Students then present their comparison to a small group or class and explain the relationship between the two stories.
On the back of their story grammar sheets, students reflect on the legends and myths they have heard, and write which stories they preferred the most and which stories they found less interesting; giving reasons for their choices. Also, students can reflect on how easy/difficult it was to identify the various elements of the stories.
Extend Learning or Next Lesson
Possible extensions for following lessons include:
- Drawing illustrations of their favourite legend/myth.
- Creating a book jacket for their legend.
- Creating drama presentations in small groups to act out their favourite stories.