Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Greek Goodness~ A Writing Unit Focusing on Greek Characters

I'm excited to announce that I finally finished writing a new unit that helps students research a Greek mythology character, take notes on their findings, outline an essay, and write a rough draft as well as a final copy.  It also has guidelines for how students can create a high-quality poster and develop a presentation all about their character.  The following 19 fourth grade CCSS are covered in this unit:
4.RL.3, 4.RL.4, 4.RI.1, 4.RI.2, 4.RI.4, 4.RI.9, 4.W.2, 4.W.4, 4.W.5, 4.W.6, 4.W.7, 4.W.8, 4.W.9, 4.W.10, 4.SL.4, 4.SL.5, 4.SL.6, 4.L.1, and 4.L.2. This fits many 3-6th grade standards as well.  My new unit even includes audience member expectations so that you can keep all your students engaged during presentations!

Below is the unit schedule and general information on audience member guidelines.  You can find the complete product, ready to print & use with your students, on my TeachersPayTeachers account at

Unit Schedule
I usually give my fourth graders about 3-4 weeks for this unit, depending upon how much time we can devote to writing each day and the level of skill & speed of my students for the year.  Generally, I have about a half hour for writing each day.  You can adjust the following schedule to fit the needs of your students and your writing schedule:

Week 1: I introduce the unit with the included materials, students choose their mythology character, gather books from the library, print information from websites like , and start writing the information into their outlines (blank copies for student use are in the unit).

Week 2:  I introduce the sentence frames included in this unit's rough draft and review editing later in the week.  Students draft their essays with the help of the sentence frames in the included rough draft.  I only let my lower-level students have a personal copy of the sentence frames to actually write on, and I discuss and display the frames on the SmartBoard to assist the rest of my class, but encourage them to write their own sentences.  Students begin editing.  If I’m using this for an official writing assessment, I don’t let them peer edit or use the exact sentence stems in their final copies, but otherwise they work with at least two other people to edit their work.

Week 3: I show students example final copy essays, like the one included in this unit, as well as posters created by former students.  Students finish editing their essays and write their final copies.  They begin work on designing their poster (I have them create them at home as homework over a week).

Week 4:  I introduce converting an essay into a speech (writing the keywords from one paragraph of the essay on each index card for their presentation).  Students summarize their essays on their notecards, practice presenting, and present their character to the class utilizing their posters!  When students are not presenting, they are listening attentively to the presenter to provide feedback because everyone is expected to tell a presenter what they did well on and how they could improve their presentation.  

Audience Expectations during Presentations
Once the presenter finishes, we clap for them as a class, students raise their hands, and the presenter calls on a student of their choice- the first student they call on gives positive feedback, the second gives something to work on.  Once a student has been called on a speaker, they can’t raise their hand again until everyone in the class has gotten a chance to give feedback.  i tell them before hand that I sometimes cold call a student who doesn’t seem to be paying attention to keep them listening to their peer’s presentations and evaluating their work.  After the two pieces of feedback have been given to the presenter, the speaker gets to choose a fun way to be congratulated, like a round of applause, a microwave (students wave to the presenter with just the tips of their fingers), etc.

Again, if you’d like to cover a plethora of standards in one fun writing unit, this is the perfect product!  This unit includes:
*a weekly unit schedule to guide your teaching
*an outline for students to gather information on
*a blank rough draft complete with sentence stems to help students frame complete sentences and flowing paragraphs for the whole essay
*a completed rough draft with sentence frames filled in so students know how to use them
*a sample final essay
*a title page for student’s essays & space for an illustration
*guidelines for a poster
*tips for success presenting orally about their Greek character
*expectations for audience participation

Find it at Thank you so much for buying this product and supporting my work.  Because of your purchase, a teacher’s request on will be a little closer to being funded, and great new supplies will soon be in the hands of our youth.  Your purchase will also help provide food, clothing, shelter, medicine, or the start to a new small business for the world’s most impoverished people through Food for the Poor  (I give 20% of my profits to charity).  I greatly appreciate your support.