Mythical Creatures Lesson Plan Megan Reichelt LSC 835...
Transcript of Mythical Creatures Lesson Plan Megan Reichelt LSC 835...
Mythical Creatures Lesson Plan
Library Mission Statement
The ee cummings School Media Center strives to create curious, persistent, and skilled lifelong learners
- Creating a safe, nurturing environment for inquiry of all kinds.
- Fostering creativity, original thought, and a thirst for knowledge.
- Providing a forum for divergent perspectives where controversial issues can be discussed
and researched intelligently and courteously.
- Supporting and enriching the school curriculum by supplying the school with diverse
resources of the highest quality from different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups in
various formats for all age groups at the school.
- Aiding students, teachers and staff develop information literacy and technological skills that
will provide them with powerful learning and communication tools.
- Giving patrons access to materials that will help them make intelligent decisions and
develop skills for their daily lives.
School Level: Upper Elementary School
Core Curriculum Standards for Maryland
1.a Listen to critically, read, and discuss a variety of literary texts representing diverse cultures,
perspectives, ethnicities, and time periods.
3.a Identify and distinguish among types of narrative texts such as short stories, folklore, legends, myths,
realistic fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, autobiographies, personal narratives,
plays, and poetry.
6.b Identify and explain similar themes across multiple texts.
8.c Identify and explain the relationship between a literary text and its historical context.
1.a Read, use, and identify the characteristics of nonfiction materials such as textbooks, appropriate
reference materials, research and historical documents, personal narratives, diaries, and journals,
biographies, newspapers, letters, articles, web sites and other online materials, other appropriate
content-specific texts to gain information and content knowledge.
2.b Use graphic aids such as illustrations and pictures, photographs, drawings, sketches, cartoons, maps
(key, scale, legend, graphs, charts/tables, and diagrams, other graphic aids encountered in informational
2.c Use informational aids such as introductions and overviews, materials lists, timelines,
captions, glossed words, labels, numbered steps, bulleted lists, footnoted words, pronunciation key,
transition words, other informational aids encountered in informational texts.
2.d Use organizational aids such as titles, chapter titles, headings, subheadings, tables of contents,
numbered steps, glossaries, indices, transition words, other organizational aids encountered in
2.e Use online features such as URLs, hypertext links, sidebars, drop down menus, home pages, site
AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners:
1.1.2 Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.
1.1.3 Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding.
1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.
1.1.5 Evaluate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness
for needs, importance, and social and cultural context.
1.1.7 Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and
supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias.
1.1.8 Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.
1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding.
1.2.1 Display initiative and engagement by posing questions and investigating the answers beyond the
collection of superficial facts.
1.2.5 Demonstrate adaptability by changing the inquiry focus, questions, resources, or strategies when
necessary to achieve success.
1.2.6 Display emotional resilience by persisting in information searching despite challenges
1.3.1 Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers.
1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community.
1.4.1 Monitor own information-seeking processes for effectiveness and progress, and adapt as
1.4.2 Use interaction with and feedback from teachers and peers to guide own inquiry process.
1.4.3 Monitor gathered information, and assess for gaps or weaknesses.
1.4.4 Seek appropriate help when it is needed.
2.1.1 Continue an inquiry based research process by applying critical thinking skills (analysis, synthesis,
evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw
conclusions, and create new knowledge.
2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful.
2.1.3 Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real
world situations, and further investigations.
2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
2.1.5 Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and
2.1.6 Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that
express new understandings.
2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning.
3.1.1 Conclude an inquiry based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the
3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners.
3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively.
3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding
in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
3.2.1 Demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both formal and informal
3.2.2 Show social responsibility by participating actively with others in learning situations and by
contributing questions and ideas during group discussions.
3.2.3 Demonstrate teamwork by working productively with others.
3.3.5 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community.
3.4.1 Assess the processes by which learning was achieved in order to revise strategies and learn more
effectively in the future.
3.4.2 Assess the quality and effectiveness of the learning product.
The ee cummings Public Charter School 5th grade language arts class is comprised of 20 students. They
come from diverse ethnic backgrounds: Asian, Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian and a few Indian.
Several are children of immigrants. The school itself is a public charter school devoted to cultural
diversity and student-based constructivist learning practices.
1) To excite students about the mythology of different cultures and provide a gateway into further
study of the topic.
2) To give students ownership of their knowledge through problem-based learning and choice of
topic, encouraging them to use critical thinking to explore and expand their inquiry base.
3) To help the students develop research skills to discern appropriate and reliable sources from
poor ones, how to focus their topic by asking questions and exploring details, how to take
appropriate notes to personalize and retain data and develop their own ideas.
4) To use the ISP model to guide students through the inquiry process.
5) To guide students through the creation of a website.
Once this unit is finished, I want the students to be able to:
1) Be excited and curious about mythology.
2) Be able to evaluate their work and the work of others in an ongoing constructive process,
and see mistakes as opportunities for learning, rather than failure.
3) To be able to work creatively in a group.
4) To efficiently research a topic using a variety of sources.
5) To be able to evaluate sources for their appropriateness and accuracy.
6) To cite sources in their final work to give credit to the authors, and weight to their research.
7) To think critically and offer opinions based on prior-knowledge and research.
8) To be able to create a functional, user-friendly, informative and attractive webpage.
Resources and Supplies
For the Teachers:
- Mearls, M., Bisland, G., & Schwalb, R. J. (2010). Monster Manual 3 : roleplaying game core rules. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast.
- Rowling, J. K. (2001). Fantastic beasts and where to find them. New York, NY: Arthur A.
- Mythological Creature Creation Activity Handout (Appendix A)
- Art Supplies
- Large board and marker
- Rubric Handout with Student-Created Criteria (created after the 2nd class)
- Keyword Handout (Appendix C)
- Web Chart Handout: http://www.edhelperclipart.com/clipart/teachers/org-topic-6ideas.pdf
- Bibliography Chart (Appendix B)
- 20 library computers
- Doodlekit (a kid-friendly website builder)
For the Students:
Allan, T. (2008). The mythic bestiary: The illustrated guide to the world’s most fantastical creatures. New York, New York: Duncan Baird Publishers.
Alt, M., & Yoda, H. (2008). Yokai attack!: The Japanese monster survival guide. Japan: Kodansha USA.
Leach, M. (Ed.). (1972). Funk & Wagnalls standard dictionary of folklore, mythology and legend. New York, New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
Matthews, J., & Matthews, C. (2010). The element encyclopedia of magical creatures: The ultimate A-Z of fantastic beings From myth and magic. London: HarperElement.
McNab, C. (2006). Mythical monsters : the scariest creatures from legends, books, and movies. New York, NY: Tangerine Press.
Weber, B. (2008). Fabulous and monstrous beasts : explore the fascinating world of mythical, legendary and real-life creatures. London: Kingfisher.
In addition to these resources, the students will use the myth and folklore section of the school media
center which includes anthologies of myth from all around the world, and the ancient cultures section of
the school media center.
Theoi Greek Mythology: http://www.theoi.com/
The Medieval Bestiary: http://bestiary.ca/
Greek Mythology.com: www.greekmythology.com, which includes Bulfinch’s Mythology Online (Chapter
16 is all about monsters).
Authentic Learning and Summative Assessment
The unit is framed around an imaginary problem in their community: creatures from myth and legend
are appearing in their neighborhoods and they need to help defend the city. They must gather
information on different creatures and create a website that the community can access so that they
know how to defend themselves. This engages their emotions by activating an element of danger for
their families and friends, and gives them a sense of responsibility for saving them. It empowers them in
the role of community hero. It also makes the research into a game, a problem that they have to solve,
rather than simply an assignment for class.
Every step of the way, students will be evaluating themselves and each other. They will develop the
questions they need to answer in order to be successful with the website. They will be encouraged to
offer opinions on their research, rather than simply reciting facts (“why do you think that…?”) At the
beginning of every class, they will have a chance to voice concerns and challenges with their research,
and the class will offer ideas as a group. During the class, the teachers will travel to each student to see
where they are in research, where they are having difficulties, and where the teachers can offer tips and
advice. At the end of each class, the students will write in a journal responding to prepared questions
with a freeform section at the end. The questions will range differ for each class, but will always include
a section regarding the challenges they are facing. These will be reviewed by the teachers before every
class so that they can address the challenges and learn how to better formulate the unit.
At the beginning of the unit, the students will work in groups to create a creature to solve a question
they have about the world (i.e. what are the sparkles in sunbeams). They will create a picture of it as
well as invent its properties and mythology. The students will be evaluated by the teachers for their
group interaction, as well as the final product.
The research conducted in the unit will culminate in a website that students create for the community.
This website will be evaluated by the students (and the teachers) based on the criteria the students
stated at the beginning of the course. This will be considered as part of their summative assessment.
After the students present their webpages to the class, they will engage in another game: the monsters
have started appearing in the library. The teacher will name a creature no student researched, and the
students must use their research skills to find the creature and describe how to defeat it in time. In
addition to the website, this will serve as a summative assessment to see if they can quickly retrieve
The Detailed Lesson Plan:
Lesson 1- Initiation (Lead by Subject Teacher)
Welcome: Sign on the door that says “Monster Hunter Headquarters.” Start class by telling them that
they have been specially selected as candidates for the new Monster Hunter Society. They will have to
pass a test to get in. First, they will learn a bit about monsters.
Group Discussion: Ask them what monsters they know. Write them on a board. Some of these monsters
came from myth and legend. Ask if they know what a myth is? Discuss why there are myths (explain the
world: fear, wonder). Discuss how there are myths from all over the world, Do they know any myths?
Ask them if they know mythological creatures. Talk about places that have mythological creatures in
them (video games, books, movies). Spice the discussion by mentioning interesting ones from different
cultures, like the Kappa from Japanese myth, or the banshee from Irish myth.
Group Activity: Tell them it is now time to test them to see if they can get into the Monster Hunter
Society. Put the class into groups to make up their own mythological creature as a response to
something in their lives: what are dust motes, why do we have earthquakes? Emphasize that the
Monster Hunter Society is looking for creative individuals who think outside the box, and who always
ask “why?” Have the students present their monsters (see handout). Point out moments when the
group demonstrated in highly creative and well-supported thinking.
Introduce the project: Tell them they have all passed and are now official Monster Hunters. The
Monster Hunters needed new recruits because magical creatures are appearing all over town. Their job
is to choose a creature from mythology, find out all about it, and then create a website that will help the
town identify and deal with the creature if they come across it. Ask them what questions they would
have about the creature. These will be the parameters for the project. Make sure they include “Why do
you think this culture told stories about this creature?” Tell them that the next class they will choose
their creatures and start researching it.
Homework: Before the next class, they should write in their journals about the class (what you thought
of the class, how are you feeling about the project, what you know about mythological creatures, what
you would like to find out, where would you start looking).
Lesson 2-Selection and Exploration (Lead by Librarian)
Reflection and Discussion: Discuss what the students wrote in their journals. Ask them where they
would start looking for information about mythological creatures. Write the responses on the board (see
Sources: Discuss different resources (bestiaries, encyclopedias, maps, websites, and anthologies of
myth). Pass around various resources. Discuss search strategies (table of contents, indexes, how to use
the catalogue, etc). Let the students lead the discussion, and only suggest things if the students are out
Evaluating Resources: Explain how you have to be careful b/c some creatures are from ancient myth,
and some are from a D and D manual, or what someone made up for a story. Have them read an article
about dragons from selections from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them” and the D and D
Manual, and a beastiary. Ask them which one they should use in project. Teach them how to cross
check sources with others. Show them the Medieval Beastiary website, which references the sources
where they get their information. Introduce them to Wikipedia and tell them it is a good starting off
point, but that they are only allowed to use it to gather more resources, and they cannot cite
information directly from it. Show them how to find the list of mythological creatures. Discuss how
different sources may have contradictory information. For example, some sources may say that garlic
will kill vampires, but others say it will only keep them away. Discuss the different ways you can say that
in the website (taking a side, saying both with the caveat that people disagree, etc).
Note-taking: Ask them how they should keep track of the information they found. Discuss note-taking,
making sure they know to write down where they found information. Give them the Bibliography Chart
for this purpose, and tell them to number the sources, so they can put the number of the source next to
the information they found in that source. Give them the Keyword Handout out so they can brainstorm
key words to search for in the catalogue, indexes, table of contents, and search engines. Give them the
Web Chart hand out so they can begin to categorize the information they find.
Begin Research: Give the students several resources to start from. Have half the class take computers,
and the other half look at book sources, and switch halfway through. Both of the teachers will visit each
student to give individual assistance and advice.
Homework: Tell them that next class they will choose a creature to contribute to their online bestiary.
Ask them to reflect in their journal about the class, how they felt, what they learned, what challenges
they encountered, why they think they encountered them, and what they think they should do to
overcome the challenges, what they would like to learn more about, and how will they try to find the
Lesson 3- Formulation (Lead by Subject Teacher)
Reflection and Group Discussion: Discuss what the students wrote in their journals. Ask them if they
know which creature they will choose? If not, what challenges are they facing?
Narrowing the Topic: Discuss how the same creatures pop up in different cultures. Ask for examples, if
they have them. If not, give them a description of a phoenix and ask them what creature that is. Explain
it is not only the description of a phoenix, but a Hindu Garuda and the Chinese Fenghuang as well. Why
do they think the phoenix appears in different cultures? Discuss how there are different types of the
same creature : i.e. Japanese dragons, etc. Allow them to choose, based on the sources they have, if
they want to narrow their choice or keep it general (compare and contrast, and not focusing on one).
More Specific Resources: Ask them what resources are helping them the most. Why? Ask them what
resources they should add now that they know their creature? Show them additional search strategies,
like using bibliographies to get new sources. Show them more in depth sources: tell them to read the
stories referenced in encyclopedias, etc. Encourage them to research the country and time period in
which the creature appeared. Explain how you need visual resources for a website, so they should
search for pictures of the creature, maps of the country where the story was told, videos that help tell a
story about the creature. Tell them that they can also use their local library. Tell them if they get stuck,
they should find a point of their research and ask “Why?” For example, you discover that king Minos put
the Minotaur in the labyrinth. Why did he do that? You may not always find the answer written down. If
you don’t, you can say what you think, and why you think that based on what you have researched.
Homework: The students should go home and write in their journals, answering the following questions:
What did you think of the class? How do you feel about this stage in the research? Did you have a hard
time choosing and narrowing your topic? Why? What will help you next time? Do you feel ready to put
the information into a website? Why or why not?
Lesson 4- Collection (Lead by Librarian)
Reflection and Group Discussion: Discuss what the students wrote in their journal. Ask them if they feel
they are ready to create a website. Tell them they can still research while making the website if they find
they need more information. Ask them to find you examples of informative websites that they liked
while they were researching. What did they like about them? Why? Ask them about the audience for
their website. How should their website look if it is to help the community defeat the monsters? Should
their page be an essay? A story? A list of monster characteristics? Tell them not to forget that anything
in the monster’s background could be a clue to help defeating it: its past enemies, what it likes to eat,
where it came from (if it came from a warm place, if could be defeated by cold) etc. Get them to think
creatively about the information they collected.
Website Creation: Sit them all down in front of the computer and show them the basic web software:
Doodlekit. Don’t give them too much background. Show them how to write text in the space. Ask them
to play around on it and raise their hand if they discovered how to do anything cool. When the do, ask
them to come up to the front of the class and show everyone on the computer hooked up to the
projector. This way they will learn by trial and error, by watching someone show them, and by teaching
others. If after sometime the students have not mentioned something the teacher deems critical to the
project, show them as one of the class (“I found something cool to do!”) Show them how to scan a
picture into the computer, and how you are supposed to credit pictures in their caption. Show them
how to do a works cited at the bottom of the page, and put hyperlinks next to the information found in
each item to the record in the works cited. Let them work, and go around to each of them to see if they
are having trouble (see if anyone else is having the same problem), or if they are doing exceptionally
well (show the class).
Homework: If the students have not finished their website, or wish to work on it further, tell them you
will make the library available before and after school, and show them how to access the software from
home. Tell them to be ready to present the websites at the next class. Have the students write in their
journal answering the following questions: What did you think about class? How did you feel about it?
Did you like building your own website? What challenges did you face? How did you overcome them? If
you haven’t yet, what do you think you can do to overcome them?
Lesson 5- Presentation (Lead by Subject Teacher)
Reflection and Discussion: Discuss with the students what they wrote in their journals. Discuss the
entire project with them. How did they feel at each stage of ISP? Show them how everyone felt the
same way, and that it is the natural process of research. Have them make a list of how they would do
research in the future. What did they learn throughout the process and what would they do differently
next time? (see evaluation).
Unveiling the Website: Before class, create a home page for the project, with links to all the students’
webpages. Unveil it to the students on the overhead projector. Hand out the criteria the students
established at the beginning of the unit. Each student in turn will come up and present their website to
the class, stating what it is and why they made the website that way. The students are free to ask
questions of each other about the topic of the website, the website itself, or their research. Students
will evaluate each other based on the criteria set out at the beginning of the class using a rubric with a
comment space for each section (this will be generated by the teacher after Lesson 2). The scores they
can give the students are from 1-5: 1=Monster Meat (Below Expectations), 2= Trainee (Progressing
towards Criteria), 3= Monster Hunter (Meets Criteria), 4= Ultimate Monster Hunter (Exceeds Criteria).
These will be turned in to the teacher/ librarian, who will have a conference with the student after they
have reviewed the students’ responses.
Final Game: Once the discussion has ended, say that you feel a chill in the room. Put on your special
monster hunting goggles that allow you to see monsters who are trying to appear in our world. Tell the
class in a surprised voice that monsters are appearing all around them. They are stuck in the middle of
transporting, but could materialize any minute. Name all the creatures (creatures no one researched)
What should they do? They need to quickly use the resources they learned about to research the
monster’s weaknesses before it can materialize in the room. Tell them to use critical thinking to defeat
it, distract it, or make it happy. The moment a pair has found the answer, tell them to raise their hand,
and tell the class the answer and where they found it. Have them act out whatever their solution was on
the invisible monster, and describe how the monster reacts. If any pair is left struggling, get the class to
help them. Once everyone has defeated their monster, give them all Monster Hunter badges, induct
them into the Monster Hunters, and have a party with monster-shaped treats for the rest of the class
The unit will take 1-2 classes per lesson, which is at most 10 class periods total. Ideally, I would only
devote one class to each lesson, but I wish to keep the schedule flexible so that we can keep the
element of student-based discussion. Each class is an hour long, and the class has one library session a
week, with one session of Language Arts class devoted to the Monster Hunters project. This means that
the Monster Hunters unit will be taught for one hour every Tuesday and Thursday.
The collaborating team consists of me (the school media specialist) and the 5th grade language arts
teacher. While planning the collaboration, we will meet either during the school day, if time allows, or if
not, we will meet at a happy hour after school. While we will be co-teaching, each of us will lead certain
sections. The teacher will initiate the project for the first lesson. I will lead the following class on
resources. She will lead the class on focusing the topic. I will lead the class on collecting the information
and developing the website. She will lead the last class for the presentation and games. We will each
assist the other, especially when the topic of discussion turns to our area of expertise (for example,
“Why are there dragons in every mythology?” vs “Is this website reliable?” We will each evaluate the
journal and the final projects for our own area of expertise: for example, she will evaluate for the topical
element, and I will evaluate how the student is researching. We will meet before every class to compare
notes and evaluate the students and our teaching methods. For the final projects, we will add our
separate assessments to result in the final grade.
The subject teacher and I will evaluate the event by documenting the progress of each student based on
their journals, their group work, their class participation, our observations and conversations with them,
and the two final projects. If we see an increase in ability at each stage, the class was a success. If we
note that each student had marked frustration at certain points we will use that information to make
the class better next time. We will also base the evaluation on our own personal journals that we wrote
in following each class.
We would demonstrate the outcome to the school community by showing them examples of individual
work, journal quotes and our observations over the period of time, demonstrating how a single
student’s grasp on the subject matter and the information literacy skills improves over the course of the
unit. I would display the group-generated list of what the students knew in the beginning of the unit and
compare it with what they said they knew by the end of the unit, which hopefully will display a great
leap in knowledge, skill and critical thinking.
Create your own Mythical Creature
What question does your mythical creature answer (Examples: What are the flecks of light in sunbeams? What are earthquakes? Why do people become cold when they die?)
What is your creature’s name?
What does he look like? (write a discription and draw a picture)
Where does your creature live? What does your creature like to eat?
What does your creature like? What does your creature hate?
Is your creature considered evil? Why do you think your creature behaves in an evil way? Is he sad or lonely? Is he hungry?
What defeats your creature? (Only kill it as a last resort, in self defense. Trap it with something, make it happy, or distract it, if you can. It could just be misunderstood.)
Copyright 2011, Megan Reichelt.