Heroic Journey / Fantasy & Mythology Genres Literature Circles / Water / Ancient Creation-Flood-Utopian Stories

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Essential Questions: 

• How do modern fantasy genre authors use the heroic journey that Joseph Campbell describes in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces?

• How are the ancient flood stories of Gilgamesh, Genesis, and Deucalion similar, and how do they differ?

• How was fresh water central to the establishment of the ancient, agrarian societies of Catal Hoyuk in modern-day Turkey and, later, Mesopotamia?

• Why will fresh water be crucial for the continuance of human civilization on earth? Why are water reduction measures such as capturing rain water so important?

• Which peoples are threatened by the privitazaion of potable water and by floods due of global warming? Why them? How will the world react?

• Noting that a vegetarian diet uses far less potable water than a diet that regularly includes meat, do our eating habits display a responsible use of potable water?


• Autobiographical Incident essay

• Call to Adventure poem

• Short essay responses to thematically related nonfiction articles

• Literal reading comprehension

• Drawing inferences from texts

• Nonfiction reading strategies including prereading captions and pictures, bolded and italicized words, graphs, headings, subheadings, summaries, content questions

• Margin noting fiction and nonfiction

• Book-ending group project.

Skills and Processes: 

• Students will be able to identify their protagonist's heroic journey in their group's fantasy novel.

• Students will use Moodle to write book responses and work collaboratively with peers.

• Students will use Google docs to draft, peer respond, and revise their essays and poems.

• Students will use Google calendar to track homework assignments.

• Students will write essay prose with sensory detail and correctly punctuated dialogue.

• Students will write free verse poetry with creative line breaks, sensory detail, figurative language, and urgent concision of language.

• Students will learn successful strategies for collaborative group work, enhancing both their own metacognition and their reliability to others.

• Students will learn successful speaking strategies for delivering an oral report to the class.


• Timed reading assessments

• Literature circle reading comprehension quizzes

• Teacher, peer, and self evaluation grading rubrics for oral book project presentations

• Grading rubrics used for essays and poems



• Students will read books in the Fantasy genre in the literature circles format, which encourages free choice, small group student-led discussion, and student setting of reading homework. Fantasy books chosen this fall include the following: Maximum Ride: Angel Experiment by James Patterson; The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman; Inkheart by Caroline Funke; Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; Eragon by Christopher Paolini; The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman; Ranger's Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan; and Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

Students will also read one of three texts in the Mythology genre, then teach their text to their classmates. Possible mythology/sacred texts included the following: Gilgamesh (McCaughrean); Genesis (New Revised Standard); "Deucalion" and other stories from Mythology and You (Rosenberg and Baker)

History Alive textbook

Nonfiction National Geographic articles: "Fresh Water" and "The Birth of Religion"

• Movies Mulan

"Resurrecting Eden" episode from 60 Minutes on Azzam Alwash, the scientist revitalizing the marshes of Iraq.

Integrated Learning: 

• Apple orchard tending: collecting wind fall for composting and for apple juice and apple gallette.

• Greenhouse planting of seeds, bulbs, and cuttings for Spring Plant Sale.

• Organic Garden tending for harvesting of food for the Barn (cafeteria).

• Beekeeper lesson on honey production.

• Mesopotamia and Sumerian Empire lessons team-taught with history class.

• Wheat harvesting, threshing, winnowing, and grinding lesson in our garden to create flour to then use to make pita and pizza in the cob oven.

• Building of cob oven for pizza baking, the culminating lesson in our unit on Mesopotamia, wheat staples, rise of agrarian empires, and food.