Third Grade - Literature - Overview - March

Sayings and Phrases
There are two phrases introduced this month, rule the roost and on its last legs. The order of introduction is not important and they are not related to any other lessons for this month. Students are asked to relate the phrases to their daily lives and are given the opportunity to write (and illustrate) descriptive paragraphs.

Poetry
"America" by Samuel Francis Smith is discussed in relation to other patriotic songs. Students compare three songs ("America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "This Land is My Land") and determine how each demonstrates patriotism. This lesson may be used any time during the month.

Stories
Greek and Roman mythology is read in March and its study continues into April. A variety of activities are provided and a worksheet is included with each story. The three myths examined this month are "Perseus and Medusa," "Jason and the Golden Fleece" and "Cupid and Psyche."
Suggested books and activities are included for each myth, as is a synopsis of each tale. A table is provided linking the Greek gods and goddesses to those in Roman mythology.

Third Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - On its last legs

Objectives
Make associations with the terms first and last.
Brainstorm a list of descriptive words.
Write a description of an object that is on its last legs.
Make an illustration of an object described as being on its last legs (optional).

Materials
Copy of the phrase, On its last legs, on sentence strip or chart paper

Suggested Books
Hirsch, E. D., Jr, ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Page 67 provides an explanation of the phrase and a brief illustration of the phrase in use.
Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996.

Procedure
Write the words "first" and "last" on the board and ask the students to brainstorm words associated with them. Suggest that in addition to the place in a sequence, first indicates newness, originality, a forerunner, while last implies the end, finality and occasionally indicates that something is a has-been.
Point out that first means that something has not happened before--as in first taste, first date, first touchdown; last indicates that something will not be happening anymore--as in last day of summer, last day of school, last page. Tell the students that sometimes when we refer to something as last we are indicating that all other options have been exhausted, as in last hope.
Display the phrase On its last legs. Ask the students if they have ever heard the phrase before and if so, when and where. If students are not familiar with the phrase, have them venture a guess based on the discussion of first and last. Remind students of the thoughts attached to the word last.
Ask: Since you know that legs are used to support our bodies and help us get around, would you expect something described as being on its last legs to continue standing much longer? (no) Describe something that fits this category or read the following:

The body of the old car was crumpled and bent. Rust was visible beneath the flaking paint. The upholstery was torn and stained and one of the taillights was broken. The engine coughed and wheezed and the car almost seemed to limp down the street. It was truly on its last legs.

Ask the students if they could visualize the car from the description you gave. Have them recall words that let them know that the car was in bad shape. Remind the students that it was obvious that the car would not be of use much longer. Tell students that sometimes people describe themselves as being on their last legs. Ask the students when they think someone might say that about him or herself (when very tired or very old).
Tell the students that they will be writing descriptions like the one you shared and in order to make this task easier they will need to come up with a list of words that could describe an object on its last legs. Allow students to work in groups or with a partner, to make a list. Tell them to think about very old buildings, toys or objects and write down the words that would describe them. Allow several minutes for students to work independently then have them share their responses and list their suggestions on the board. Possible responses are: crumbling, broken-down, cracked, falling-down, rusty, torn, uneven, scratched, scraped, dusty, dirty, flat (as in tire), worn, ripped, dilapidated, crushed.
Next, have the students suggest objects to write about or assign specific objects such as a bicycle, baby carriage, house, toy wagon, etc. After the students have completed their descriptions, have them read them aloud to the rest of the class. Students could also draw pictures to match their descriptions, or have students exchange descriptions and see how well they can illustrate exactly what someone else has written.

Additional Activity
Have students write an explanation (or set of directions) of how to revitalize* one of the objects that was described as on its last legs. For example, they might say:

1. Hammer and straighten the body of the car.
2. Scrape off the old paint and sand the rust.
3. Paint the car.
4. Sew and clean the upholstery.
5. Fix the taillight.
6. Fix or replace the engine.

Students could also tell about the appearance after the revitalization had occurred.

The metal body was hammered and smoothed. The flaking paint was scraped and the rust was sanded. New fabric was stitched into seat covers and the broken taillight was replaced. A mechanic overhauled the engine and made it almost purr. The old car that had seemed to be on its last legs was soon as good as new.

*Help students to understand the meaning of the word "revitalize" by breaking the word down into parts and explaining that the prefix re- means again or action done over, vital means life, and the suffix -ize means to give or make. Revitalize means "to give life again" or "to give new life."
 

Third Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - Rule the roost

Objectives
Explain the meaning of the phrase Rule the roost.
Identify characters in stories or film who rule the roost.
Identify a personal talent that would make him or her a good person to rule the roost.

Materials
Copy of the phrase, Rule the roost, on sentence strip or chart paper
Pictures of roosters and hens

Suggested Books
Hirsch, E. D., Jr, ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992. Page 68 contains an explanation of the saying and brief scenario.
Teacher Reference books that contain a meaning for the phrase
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995.
Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996.

Procedure
Ask the students to tell what a male chicken is called (a rooster). Then ask what a female chicken is called (a hen). Ask what the building on a farm where chickens live, is called (chicken house, hen house, barn) Write the words rooster, hen and chicken house on the board. Tell the students that on a farm there are usually several hens and only one rooster. Ask: Why would a farmer want more hens than roosters? (Hens produce eggs.) Explain that since a rooster cannot lay eggs, a farmer would not need more than one.
Ask students if they have ever seen a rooster move about. Tell them that some people describe a rooster's movements as strutting. He looks like he is showing off with his fine feathers and red comb. (Display pictures of hens and roosters if possible.)
Explain that because there is only one rooster and he has no other rooster to compete with, the rooster would be in charge of the hens and the chicken house. We would say that he rules the roost. Display the saying, explaining that the chicken house (or hen house or barn) is referred to as the roost. Ask the students to explain how they think the rooster shows that he is in charge (pecking at hens, "herding" them, crowing, etc.).
Tell students that sometimes we say that a person rules the roost. That person might be a parent or an adult, but it might also be a bossy babysitter or just a bossy person. Explain that sometimes a young child is described as ruling the roost because everyone around him or her tries very hard to make that child happy and content. Invite students to recall situations where they have either been one of the "chickens" or the "rooster" ruling the roost.
Be sure that students recognize that it is not always a bossy person who rules the roost; any person who is in charge rules the roost. Tell students to think of characters they have met in stories or television or film. Ask if they can name a character who appeared to rule the roost.
Then ask the students if they think the person who is in charge can ever be replaced by another. Suggest that one person who has specific knowledge or expertise might rule the roost for a while, but then when another person's help is required that second person would takeover and rule the roost. Provide a scenario for the students by explaining that one person might be great at organizing and directing others when decorating for a party--telling them where to hang the balloons and streamers and where to set-up the tables and chairs, but another person might be better at organizing the games or music and he or she would rule the roost about that part.
Ask students to think about their own personal talents and decide when they would be a good choice to rule the roost. Invite them to share their responses and note them on the board. Have them introduce their talent by saying I would be a good person to rule the roost (when it comes to games, because I know how to play at least fifteen different games. I also know the rules and I like teaching others to play.) Or I could rule the roost (in football. I'm great at managing a team and deciding who should play which position. My team would win all the time.)
Students could also write out their statements and they could be displayed on a "Who's in Charge" bulletin board.

Third Grade - Literature - Poetry - America

Objectives
Brainstorm words associated with America.
Identify patriotic words included in three different songs.
Determine which song is most patriotic.

Materials
"America," "Star-spangled Banner," and "This Land is My Land" written on chart paper or transparency (attached)

Suggested Books
Cohn, Amy L., compiled by. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993.
This collection of folktales, folk songs, poems and stories includes words and music for "This Land is Your Land."
Hirsch, E. D., Jr., ed. What Your Second Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1991.
Pp. 164-166 are dedicated to patriotic music and contain the songs in this lesson.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, collected by. Hand in Hand: An American History Through Poetry. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
Wonderful collection of American poetry that contains "The Star-spangled Banner" and a portion of "America."

Teacher Background
Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895) of Boston, Massachusetts, wrote poetry, prose, mythology and songs. "America" was written in honor of George Washington's birthday.

Procedure
Write the words "United States of America" on the board. Invite a volunteer to read the words and ask students for other names that we call our country (America, the US). Write these under the first words. Ask the students to name some words that they would use if they were writing a song or a poem about America. Web these words, leading the students when necessary with questions like the following:

What is America? (a country, our home, our homeland, the place where our family lives, a place for people to be free)

What is America made up of? (people, land, states, cities, rivers, mountains, fields, etc.)

Who lives in America? (people, men, women, children, people of all colors and races)

Who are some important people in America? (Answers will vary.)

What are some of the things we are guaranteed that we can do in America? (Go to our own churches, speak about anything, live where we want to live, choose the job we want, go to school, etc.)
Tell students that if they were to write a song or poem saying what they liked about America and using the words they have mentioned, it would be called a patriotic song or poem. Write the word "patriotic" on the board. Explain that this means showing love or respect for one's country, which for us is America.
Display the song "America." Tell students that it was written by Samuel Francis Smith in honor of George Washington's birthday. Ask: Do you think that Mr. Smith loved his country? How do you know? What do you think was his purpose for writing?
Next, display "The Star-spangled Banner." Remind students that it was written by Francis Scott Key right here in Baltimore. Ask: Is this a patriotic song? How do you know? Ask if anyone recalls what was going on when he wrote the words (attack of Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812).
Finally, display "This Land is Your Land." Ask students if it seems a little different from the other two songs. (yes) Ask: Do you think that it is a patriotic song? (yes) How do you know that the writer, Woody Guthrie was proud of his country? (says This land was made for you and me) Point out how much more recently Guthrie's song was written.
If possible, play recordings of all three songs or sing them for the class. Have students listen to the difference in the music and have them determine which two pieces seem most alike and which two seem most different.
Ask students to decide which words they think are most important in each of the songs. Then have them choose which song they think is the most patriotic song. Ask students to give reasons for their selections in each case.
 

America
Samuel Francis Smith

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain-side
Let Freedom ring.
 
 

The Star-spangled Banner
Francis Scott Key

Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
 

Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome

Objectives (according to the activity selected)
Recall the reasons that myths were told (to explain mysteries of nature and for entertainment).
Select and illustrate an event from the voyage of the Argo from Iolcos to Colchis and back.
Identify the four tasks given to Psyche and tell how each was accomplished.
Rank the gifts that Perseus received from most important to least important.
Select qualities of a character mentioned in the stories and identify evidence of the trait within the myth.

Suggested Books
Benson, Sally. Stories of the Gods and Heroes. New York: Dial, 1977.
An older book, this may not be visually appealing to students but the stories work as read alouds.
Chrisp, Peter. The Roman Empire. Chicago: World Book, 1996.
One of the "Make it Work" series, this book contains great photographs of artifacts and recreations. A very simple text and clear directions for the how-to activities make this an excellent classroom addition.
Daly, Kathleen N. Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z: A Young Reader's Companion. New York: Facts on File, 1992.
All aspects of mythology presented in alphabetical order with the information cross- referenced. Students may need help with the language, but will enjoy the information provided, like the list of the 50 members of the Argo's crew that is included.
Hirsch, Jr., E.D.,ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Information on the gods and goddesses is included on pages 92 and 93.
Vautier, Ghislaine. The Way of the Stars: Greek Legends of the Constellations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Beautifully illustrated, students will enjoy seeing the drawings of the constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus, Andromeda, Pegasus and three named for the ship, the Argo.
Teacher Reference
Switzer, Ellen and Costas. Greek Myths: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: Their Sources, Their Stories and Their Meanings. New York: Atheneum, 1988.
Good source book for the origins of myths.
Teacher Resource
The Mailbox Intermediate, October/November 1997-Volume 19-Number 5
Pp. 28-34 contain a unit on myths complete with an activity page called "A Myth of My Own."

Teacher Note
Students were introduced to Greek mythology in Second Grade and Norse Mythology in October of Third Grade, so they should be familiar with the concept of mythology. When possible, have the students identify the mystery of nature that is explained by the myth and lead the students in determining how that particular story could have been created. A table relating Greek gods and goddesses to the Roman deities is provided, as is a list of the components of most myths.
Maps from the World History lessons may be used in conjunction with these lessons. Point out to the students that sometimes actual places are mentioned in the myths (e.g. Crete in the Jason myth). Remind students that the gods and goddesses worshiped by the Romans were borrowed from the Greeks and simply renamed. Students will sometimes hear myths told where both Greek and Roman names are used.
Ideally, a retelling of each myth will be read to (or by) the students, but a summary of each myth is provided along with a pronunciation guide. Included with each story are related Suggested Books, as well as the materials and related activities.

The components of most myths are:

Myths
Explain nature or the way the world is
Include gods and goddesses
Tell about right and wrong, rewards and punishments
Often include heroes
Sometimes include animals or supernatural beasts

Related Art Activities
Refer to the Suggested Books for help in selecting art activities to use with these lessons. For any of the three, dioramas could be made showing an exciting event from the myth. Students could also illustrate booklets explaining the characters and places included in the stories.
Students could make masks (see the Peter Chrisp book) and dramatize one of the myths as well. The Second Grade unit on mythology gives information on the theater and how performances took place.

Jason and the Golden Fleece

Materials
A copy for each student of the worksheet "Jason and the Argonauts" (attached)

Suggested Books
D'Aulaire. Ingri and Edgar. D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. New York: Doubleday, 1962.
A terrific read aloud with beautiful color pencil drawings; "The Golden Fleece" begins on page 162.
Evslin, Bernard. Jason and the Argonauts. New York: Morrow, 1986.
This thirty-three chapter book tells the complete story of Jason and the Argonauts' search for the golden fleece, as well as their voyage back to Iolcos so that Jason could regain his rightful throne. A wonderful read aloud or independent read for an accomplished third grade reader.
Fisher, Leonard Everett. Jason and the Golden Fleece. New York: Holiday House, 1990.
The simple text and striking illustrations make this an excellent read aloud or independent read.
Low, Alice. The Macmillan Book of Greek Gods and Heroes. New York: Macmillan, 1994.
Jason, the Argonauts and the search for the golden fleece are included on pages 109-127. Color illustrations and pen and ink drawings highlight this tale.

Jason (JAY-son)
Medea (me-DEE-ah)
Colchis (KOL-kis)
Heracles (HERA-kleez)

Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome

King Pelias of Iolcos, was to wear his crown only until Jason, the son of the true king, grew to be a man. But when Jason went to claim his throne, he was told that in order to become
king he would have to bring back from Colchis, the golden fleece that hung there. The fleece was
guarded by a dragon that never slept. Pelias knew that this was a difficult task and hoped that Jason would be killed as he pursued the fleece.
Jason asked the shipbuilder Argus to build him a sturdy ship. With the help of Athene, he built a ship with 50 oars and a beam from a sacred tree that would help foretell the future. Jason named the ship the Argo. The ship was manned with 50 of the strongest men, including Heracles, Castor and Pollux, who were all sons or grandsons of the gods and goddesses. (Some versions say that Atalanta also sailed with them.) The crew was known as the Argonauts. As the Argonauts set sail for Colchis they passed several islands.

1st island - Lemnos was an island ruled by women who called to the Argonauts but they sailed past.

2nd island - (not identified by name) Phineas, an old man who could see the future, lived on this island. Two Harpies (horrible monsters with the heads of women and the bodies and claws of birds), sent as a punishment from Zeus, who wanted to keep the future a secret, came daily and ate his food. The two sons of the North Wind (Castor and Pollux) captured the Harpies and saved Phineas. In return he looked into the future and told Jason and the Argonauts the secret of how to pass through the Symplegades (aka Clashing Rocks), which were crashing rocks that guarded the entrance to the Black Sea. Phineas told them to send a little dove ahead and to follow it as it flew between the rocks.

3rd island - Land of the Amazons who were women warriors, daughters of Ares, the god of war. The Argonauts passed this island.

When they arrived at Colchis, King Æetes said he would give the fleece to Jason if he completed 4 tasks. He had to yoke 2 fire-breathing bulls, plow a field and sow the furrows with dragon teeth that would sprout into an army. He then had to cut down the army like it was wheat.
Æetes' daughter Medea fell in love with Jason and promised to help him if he agreed to marry her. She was a sorceress who could perform magic.
She gave Jason a magic lotion that protected him when he yoked the bulls, and a magic stone to throw among the soldiers that caused them to fight each other after they sprang up from the field. Medea knew that her father did not intend to give the golden fleece to Jason and cast a spell over the never sleeping dragon that guarded it. While the dragon slept, Jason stole the fleece and he and Medea escaped aboard the Argo.
On the journey home, the Argonauts were faced with more dangers. Medea helped them to safely sail past the rock of the Scylla, with its wicked whirlpool and churning waves. Then she told them the secret to defeating the bronze monster Talus that lived on Crete. Talus threw rocks and crushed any ships that tried to sail past.
When Jason and Medea finally returned to Iolcos, they learned that Jason's father had killed himself and his mother had died from grief. Jason's evil cousin Pelias was still king and refused to give up his throne to Jason. Again Medea offered her help and she tricked Pelias' daughters into killing him.
Jason and Medea married and had two sons, but in time Jason fell in love with a beautiful woman named Glauce. He banished Medea and planned to take a new wife. Medea made a cloak for Glauce that burned her when she put it on. Medea then killed her children so that Jason would not take revenge on them. For the rest of his life, Jason wandered all over Greece alone and helpless.

Activities

Journey of the Argo
Distribute copies of the worksheet "Jason and the Argonauts" and have students select an event from the search for the golden fleece and illustrate that event in the center of the map. Have them then either draw a line to the place where the event occurred, or color that place on the map. Have students also write about the event. Make a large map of the journey and display each artwork and explanation in its appropriate place.

Character Traits
Have the students brainstorm a list of character traits or qualities (a list is provided on the final page). Have each student select two or three and tell how Jason (or Medea) exhibited those qualities during the course of the story.

Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome

Perseus and Medusa

Materials
A copy for each student of the worksheet ranking the importance of the five gifts Perseus received (attached)

Suggested Books
D'Aulaire. Ingri and Edgar. D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. New York: Doubleday, 1962.
Wonderful pencil drawings enhance this delightful text; "Danaüs, Perseus and the Gorgon" begins on page 114.
Hutton, Warwick, retold and illus. by. Perseus. New York: Margaret McElderry Books, 1993.
Beautiful retelling of the story of brave Perseus and the beheading of Medusa. Warwick's illustrations will enchant readers of all ages.
Low, Alice. The Macmillan Book of Greek Gods and Heroes. New York: Macmillan, 1994.
The story of Perseus and Medusa is included in pages 84-93. Very basic retelling with few illustrations.
Pilling, Ann. Realms of Gold (Myths and Legends) from Around the World. New York: Kingfisher, 1993.
"How Perseus Killed the Gorgon" begins on page 85 of this book. Beautiful artwork is included; a great read aloud.
Rockwell, Anne. The One-eyed Giant and Other Monsters from the Greek Myths. New York: Greenwillow, 1996.
Includes Medusa in pages 16-19.
Williams, Marcia. Greek Myths for Young Children. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 1991.
The story of "Perseus and the Gorgon's Head" is included in this book. Best used by individuals or small groups, the tales are told in a comic-strip format with many humorous asides.

Perseus (PER-syooss)
Athene (ath-EE-ni)
Pegasus (PEG-a-soss)
Medusa (me-DOO-sa)
Poseidon (pos-AY-don)
Danaë (DAN-ay-ee)

The chest that held the baby Perseus and his mother Danaë was washed up on the island Seriphus, ruled by Polydectes. Danaë and Perseus had been set adrift because Perseus' grandfather had a dream that Perseus would someday kill him. Polydectes took them to his castle. He wanted Danaë to marry him but she refused and he proceeded to pursue her, making her very unhappy. Perseus saw his mother's unhappiness and tried to protect her. As he grew to be a strong young man, Polydectes began to feel threatened by him. When Perseus promised any gift to Polydectes if he promised to leave Danaë alone. Polydectes asked for Medusa's head, knowing what Perseus' fate would be. (Medusa had once been beautiful but she had insulted Athene and was punished. She was turned into an ugly monster--a Gorgon. The Gorgons had the bodies of women but they were covered with golden scales and instead of hair, snakes grew from their heads. Medusa was the ugliest Gorgon, so horrible was her face that whoever looked at it was immediately turned to stone.)
While Perseus was preparing to leave on his search, the god Hermes and the goddess Athene appeared. Athene gave Perseus a polished shield to reflect the image of Medusa, so he would not have to look at her. Hermes gave him an adamantine sickle, hard enough and sharp enough to cut through anything on Earth. They told Perseus to go to the Gray Sisters (aka Gray Women) who would tell him where the Nymphs were. The Nymphs would give him gifts to help with his task.
Perseus set out and found the Gray Sisters, three horrible hags who shared one eyeball and one tooth. As they were passing the two from one to the other, Perseus stole them away and forced the sisters to direct him to the Nymphs.
The Nymphs, who were kind and beautiful women, welcomed Perseus and made him rest while they cared for him. They gave him gifts when he left--a bag in which to put the head of Medusa, a cap that made the wearer invisible and a pair of winged sandals so he could easily fly away from the other Gorgons after he killed Medusa. They told Perseus where he could find Medusa and the other Gorgons.
Perseus accomplished his deed by sneaking up on the Gorgons while wearing the cap of invisibility and using Athene's shield to provide a reflection. He cut off Medusa's head with Hermes' sickle, placing it in the bag given to him by the Nymphs. Perseus then flew off on the
winged sandals also provided by the Nymphs. (In some versions of this tale, Perseus flies off on
the winged horse Pegasus which sprung out of the drops of Medusa's blood.)
On his flight home Perseus spied the beautiful Andromeda chained to the rocks as a sacrifice to a terrible sea monster. Andromeda's mother, Cassiopeia, had foolishly compared her daughter's beauty to that of Poseidon's favorite mermaids and as a punishment from the god of the sea, the sea monster attacked their city. Perseus rescued Andromeda by cutting her chains with the sickle from Hermes and stopped the sea monster by uncovering Medusa's head, holding it before the sea monster and turning the monster to stone.
Perseus and Andromeda, who became his wife, took Medusa's head to King Polydectes and uncovering it, turned the king and his court to stone. Danaë was released from Polydectes' advances and she and Perseus and Andromeda lived happily from then on. The head of Medusa was placed on Athene's shield to strike terror into her enemies.

Activities

Perseus' Gifts
Have the students recall the five gifts Perseus receives to help him with his task (shield, sickle, bag, cap of invisibility, and winged sandals). List these on the board and tell the students to think about how they would rank the importance of each gift. Stress that the most important gift would also be the most useful. Distribute the worksheets, read the directions with the students and have them work independently.
When students have completed the exercise, allow several to share their order of rank. Next, tally the student responses for the most and least important gifts and have the students graph the results of one (or both) tally on the back of the worksheet.

Character Traits
Have the students brainstorm a list of character traits or qualities (a list is provided on the final page). Have each student select two or three and tell how Perseus exhibited those qualities during the course of the story.
 

Name:____________________________________________________

Perseus received five gifts; rank the gifts from most important to least important. Explain why you selected the one you did as most important, then draw pictures of the gifts in the margins.

----MOST IMPORTANT----
 

1._________________________________________
 
 

2._________________________________________
 
 

3._________________________________________
 
 

4._________________________________________
 
 

5._________________________________________

----LEAST IMPORTANT----
 

I think ___________________________________ is the most important gift

because_______________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome

Cupid and Psyche

Materials
Worksheet of the four tasks that Psyche was asked to do and how each was accomplished

Suggested Books
Barth, Edna, retold by. Cupid and Psyche: A Love Story. New York: Seabury Press, 1976.
This lengthy retelling would be best shared as a read aloud. The illustrations are delicate, but because they are black-and-white, they are not particularly striking, especially for showing to the entire class.
Craft, M. Charlotte, retold by. Cupid and Psyche. New York: Morrow, 1996.
Beautifully illustrated, students will enjoy looking at the details of the pictures. An excellent read aloud, it will be enjoyed by the most capable independent third grade readers.
Hodges, Margaret, retold by. The Arrow and the Lamp: The Story of Psyche. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1989.
Delicate illustrations enhance this wonderful read aloud.
Osborne, Mary Pope, retold by. Favorite Greek Myths. New York: Scholastic, 1989.
Myths are beautifully and simply told in this book which includes exquisite illustrations by Troy Howell. Even though the book contains Greek myths, the gods and goddesses are referenced by their Roman names. The story of Cupid and Psyche is included.

Cupid (KEW-pid)
Psyche (SI-kee)

Psyche was the youngest daughter of a king and queen. Her two older sisters were beautiful, but Psyche was the most beautiful of all. She was so lovely, in fact, that people came from far away to admire her. They brought gifts to her as though she was a goddess.
Venus, the goddess of beauty was angered by this and sent her son Cupid to cast a spell on Psyche so she would fall in love with a horrible monster. Instead Cupid fell in love with her himself.
When an oracle (teller of the future) said that Psyche was destined to marry a monster, her family wept, but Psyche agreed to go to the mountaintop to meet him. Of course there was no monster, it was Cupid who was in love with her. From the mountaintop she was carried by winds that Cupid had convinced to help him, to a wonderful palace where she was told she would live. Psyche saw no one at this palace, but her every wish was granted and at night when it was dark her husband came to her and treated her with great kindness. Psyche was not allowed to see her husband.
After time, Psyche began to miss her family and begged her husband to let her sisters visit. He agreed and the gentle winds brought them, too. They convinced Psyche that she should light a lamp at night and look at her husband while he slept. After they left she did as they suggested and when she saw the handsome Cupid was her husband she jumped and spilled some of the hot oil on him. He immediately awoke and told her of his sorrow at her lack of trust. Suddenly everything disappeared and Psyche was left alone.
Psyche realized that she had lost everything and wandered sadly. When she came to a temple that was dirty and in shambles, she cleaned the temple because she believed that she should honor all the gods. Ceres, the goddess for whom the temple was built, took pity on Psyche and told her how to go to Venus and beg forgiveness. Psyche did as she was told but Venus was still greatly angered by Psyche's beauty and her actions. She told Psyche that she would have to perform certain tasks in order to win forgiveness. Psyche agreed. One by one Psyche completed the tasks that Venus required (some books say three, others four--see below).

The Four Tasks
1-Sort the barley, corn, poppy seed, lentils and beans into separate piles (ants come and carry the seeds to individual piles)
2-Bring a strand of the fleece of the golden sheep (reeds whisper the secret that she must wait until the sheep go to sleep and gather the golden strands from the bushes)
3-Bring water from the river Styx (an eagle, the messenger of Zeus, helps by taking water from the top of the waterfall)
4-Ask Persephone for some of her beauty (a voice in the winds of the tower warns Psyche to take two coins, two barley cakes)

When Psyche was returning with Persephone's beauty she decided to take a bit for herself. As she opened the container, a mist escaped and engulfed her. Psyche fell into a death-like sleep. Cupid found her and grieved terribly at the loss of his love. Zeus heard his cries and took pity. He sent Mercury to bring Psyche to him and gave her a drink of ambrosia, the nectar of the gods, which gave her eternal life. He united Cupid and Psyche and told them to live forever in happiness. Wings sprouted from Psyche's shoulders and some say this was the origin of the butterfly.
 

Activities
Psyche's Tasks
Have students recall the tasks that Psyche is required to do, and how each task was accomplished. Distribute the worksheet and have students describe the task in the first box and tell how it was accomplished in the second. Students may do illustrations instead if you prefer. (Note: Some books reference three tasks, others reference four.)

Good decisions/Bad decisions
Have students recall decisions Psyche made during the course of the story and list these on the board. Note that some of her decisions were good and some were bad. Have the students consider each action and determine whether each decision was good or bad, and what was its consequence. This would be a good opportunity to discuss cause and effect.
Some of the decisions were:
to agree to marry the monster
to be happy living in the palace alone
to not look at her husband
to listen to her sisters
to look at her husband
to take some of Persephone's beauty

Character Traits
Have the students brainstorm a list of character traits or qualities (a list is provided on the final page). Have each student select two or three and tell how Psyche (or Cupid, or Venus) exhibited those qualities during the course of the story.
 
 
 

Name:_________________________________________________________

Cupid and Psyche
 
 
 

Task
 

How the Task Was Accomplished

1
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

2
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

3
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

4
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome
 
 

Roman Name

Greek Name

Description

Jupiter

Zeus

ruler of the gods, god of the skies

Juno

Hera

wife of Zeus, queen of the gods, goddess of marriage

Neptune

Poseidon

brother of Zeus, god of the sea

Ceres

Demeter

goddess of grain and the harvest

Proserpina

Persephone

daughter of Ceres, wife of Pluto, maiden of spring

Pluto

Hades

god of the underworld

Apollo

Apollo

son of Zeus, god of light and truth

Mercury

Hermes

son of Zeus, messenger god

Mars

Ares

god of war

Vulcan

Hephaestus

god of fire

Bacchus

Dionysus

god of wine

Venus

Aphrodite

goddess of love and beauty

Cupid

Eros

god of love

Minerva

Athena(e)

goddess of wisdom, goddess of battle

Vestia

Hestia

goddess of hearth and home

 
 

Character Traits/Qualities

kind generous wise thoughtful
brave resourceful considerate adventurous
patient sympathetic silly loyal
responsible courageous risk-taker problem solver
curious lazy evil selfish
disrespectful foolish loving shy
serious smart dependable polite
 

Bibliography

Barth, Edna, retold by. Cupid and Psyche: A Love Story. New York: Seabury Press, 1976. (0-8164-3174-4)
Benson, Sally. Stories of the Gods and Heroes. New York: Dial, 1977.
Craft, M. Charlotte, retold by. Cupid and Psyche. New York: Morrow, 1996. (0-688-13164-6)
Chrisp, Peter. The Roman Empire. Chicago: World Book, 1996. (0-7166-1727-7)
D'Aulaire. Ingri and Edgar. D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. New York: Doubleday, 1962.
Daly, Kathleen N. Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z: A Young Reader's Companion. New York: Facts on File, 1992. (0-8160-2151-1)
Evslin, Bernard. Jason and the Argonauts. New York: Morrow, 1986. (0-688-06245-8)
Fisher, Leonard Everett. Jason and the Golden Fleece. New York: Holiday House, 1990. (0-8234-0794-2)
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992. (0-385-31257-1)
Hodges, Margaret, retold by. The Arrow and the Lamp: The Story of Psyche. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1989. (0-316-36790-7)
Hutton, Warwick, retold and illus. by. Perseus. New York: Margaret McElderry Books, 1993. (0-689-50565-5)
Low, Alice. The Macmillan Book of Greek Gods and Heroes. New York: Macmillan, 1994. (0-689-71874-8)
Osborne, Mary Pope, retold by. Favorite Greek Myths. New York: Scholastic, 1989.(0-590-41338-4)
Pilling, Ann. Realms of Gold :Myths and Legends from Around the World. New York: Kingfisher, 1993. (185697913X)
Rockwell, Anne. The One-eyed Giant and Other Monsters from the Greek Myths. New York: Greenwillow, 1996. (0688138101)
Vautier, Ghislaine. The Way of the Stars: Greek Legends of the Constellations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. (0-521-25061-7)
Williams, Marcia. Greek Myths for Young Children. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 1991.

Teacher Reference
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. (0-395-65597-8)
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. (0-395-59901-6)
Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.(0-304-34911-9)
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995. (0-06-270133-9)
Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996. (0-8442-0916-3)
Switzer, Ellen and Costas. Greek Myths: Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: Their Sources, Their Stories and Their Meanings. New York: Atheneum, 1988. (0-689-31253-9)

Teacher Resource
The Mailbox Intermediate, October/November 1997-Volume 19-Number 5