Series: Arts Integration with David Cooper: Greek Mythology in the Classroom & Museum


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards 6â\x80\x9312
  • 6:  6th Grade
  • 3a: 
    Write narratives to develop real or imagined
    experiences or events using effective technique,
    relevant descriptive details, and well-structured
    event sequences.

    a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing
    a context and introducing a narrator and/or
    characters; organize an event sequence that
    unfolds naturally and logically.

    b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue,
    pacing, and description, to develop
    experiences, events, and/or characters.

    c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and
    clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts
    from one time frame or setting to another.

    d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant
    descriptive details, and sensory language to
    convey experiences and events.

    e. Provide a conclusion that follows from the
    narrated experiences or events.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • 6:  6th Grade
  • 6: 
    Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks,
    demonstrating command of formal English when
    indicated or appropriate. (See grade 6 Language
    standards 1 and 3 on page 52 for specific

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Performance as a Culminating Activity
Lesson Objective: Write and perform a Greek mythology talk show
Grades 6-8 / Social Studies / Arts
ELA.W.6.3a | ELA.SL.6.6

Thought starters

  1. What did students learn through the Greek and Roman mythology unit?
  2. How was this learning expressed in this performance?
  3. What does Mr. Cooper look for in his students' performances?
I'd like to do a performance culminating activity next semester.
Recommended (0)
Many students enjoy performing, and mythology provides so for them to draw from when they're looking for inspiration. Even the introverted students enjoy seeing their peers perform. I suggest having them submit written "screenplays" focusing on dialogue so you can steer them in the right direction. Good luck and have fun.
Recommended (1)
This is fantastic.
Recommended (0)
Thank you.
Recommended (0)
I loved this lesson. What a fun interactive way to teach.
Recommended (0)


  • Performance as a Culminating Activity Transcript

    00:00:01 Now, all rise for the honorable Judge Zeus.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    I am the mighty

    Performance as a Culminating Activity Transcript

    00:00:01 Now, all rise for the honorable Judge Zeus.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    I am the mighty Zeus. And you know this when you see my lightening bolts.
    00:00:11 Today, it was our final presentation. I played Zeus, the god of all gods. We had to research, come up with the entire script. It was tough work, but we came through.
    00:00:24 [TITLE: Arts Integration: Performance as a Culminating Activity]
    DAVID COOPER [sync]
    00:00:28 Welcome to our presentation day. Done a lot of work to get here. I’m really proud of all the work you’ve put in and I can’t wait to see your final presentations.
    00:00:37 I teach 6th grade Social Studies, prehistoric time through ancient civilizations, all the way up to the Roman Empire. We’re always looking for opportunities to integrate arts into our curriculum. Today’s project was a culminating activity for the entire unit.

    00:00:52 This is a Getty lesson on Greek Mythology.
    [TITLE: Ancient Greek & Roman Talk Show Lesson]
    00:01:00 Well, the first step in the unit is to introduce students to Greek and Roman mythologies and the mythological stories so they can get to know some of the gods and the goddesses. Once they have some exposure to the stories, they started writing a script.

    00:01:15 They create a talk show or a courtroom drama based on those gods and their mythological stories and then create props and costumes, especially with the attributes. It was a requirement that they- if they’re a god or goddess on stage, they had to have that god or goddess’s attribute with them.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:01:34 We are gathered here today to discuss the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:01:46 Without further ado, would the defendant please tell his side of the story?
    00:01:50 It was dark and gloomy in the Underworld like usual. I was feeding my hellhounds and suddenly I saw the most beautiful woman picking flowers in the meadow. And I vowed to make her my wife.

    00:02:00 When we were in my palace, I asked her if she was hungry. She said she must go home. I told her to take a pomegranate and she left.
    00:02:06 When the students have to write dialogue and create context for that dialogue as a specific mythological character, it gives the students an opportunity to own the learning themselves.
    00:02:18 We had to work the hardest on the script. We had to use the correct grammar because I don’t think the gods knew what grammar was back then.
    00:02:27 So, this culminating activity addresses Common Core standards in both speaking and listening and in writing. For speaking and listening, students have to adjust their speech based on the context they’re given. They were doing accents. They were emphasizing dramatic sentences.

    00:02:42 Writing standards were also addressed. Students had to create a narrative. They had to come up with dialogue. They had to come up with context.
    00:02:51 [TITLE: Common Core Standard ELA]
    [TITLE: Write narratives using descriptive details & event sequences]
    00:02:55 Because we tried to make it, like, funny, yet, we try to add facts so they would learn stuff, the students would learn stuff while they’re being entertained. For example, Hades – since he lives by himself in the Underworld, we figured that he would probably be like mean and cruel.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:03:14 If you are done, let’s hear Persephone’s side of the story.
    ANGELICA [sync]
    00:03:19 So, I’m Persephone. You know this when you see a crown or a pomegranate. I’m the goddess of vegetation. I was in a meadow and this ugly, black figure grabbed me. Then he took me to Underworld and made me eat six pomegranate seeds.
    00:03:33 I object! That did not happen. You no-good, pomegranate-faced…
    00:03:38 To assess the performances today, I’m focusing on, first, that the students include god and goddess attributes. Not only are they making props for those gods and goddesses, but they’re including them in the script, which was a requirement.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:03:52 Do either of you have evidence to support your cases?
    00:03:55 I have evidence that will turn this case around.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    Hurry up. We don’t have all day.
    00:03:59 Here are the six pomegranate seeds that Persephone ate in the Underworld.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    Let me see that now!
    00:04:05 I’m also looking to see that the students created enough context for the audience to be able to follow the script and whether or not they knew the story well or not.
    00:04:16 Isn’t it said that if you eat pome- food from the Underworld, you must stay there forever or six months?
    [TITLE: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts]
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:04:21 Yes. Yes. You do have a point there.
    00:04:25 These are middle school students, so they understand drama. That’s the great hook with Greek mythology. Once they see the drama, they really get into the material. So, I focus them on drama. I tell them, “When you’re presenting, think about what you would want to see in terms of good drama.”
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:04:44 Has the jury reached a verdict?
    Yes. On the account of Hades kidnapping Persephone, we find him guilty. On the account of Hades forcing Persephone to stay in the Underworld, we find him not guilty.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:04:57 Hades, you have to pay $1200 for the kidnapping of Persephone.
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:05:02 Persephone, you have to stay in the Underworld six months out of the year, every year with Hades. Case closed!
    00:05:12 My learning target for today was, “I will demonstrate my knowledge of Greek mythology.” My focus was more on the students demonstrating their knowledge than having the students in the audience be trying to learn specific things that they didn’t necessarily know before.
    DAVID COOPER [sync]
    00:05:28 Terrific job with the- with the trial of Hades over the kidnapping of Persephone. So, Persephone ate the six pomegranate seeds. What was Persephone’s sentence because of being found guilty?
    00:05:38 She will stay in the Underworld for six months each year.
    DAVID COOPER [sync]
    And did you read enough of the myth to find out what that caused on Earth?
    TIMOTHY [sync]
    00:05:45 Yes. That caused win- the winter months.
    DAVID COOPER [sync]
    That’s right. That’s how the Greeks explained the seasons.
    00:05:51 When I spoke to the students in the little debrief after their performances, I wanted to reinforce something that they did well or something that we have learned. I was proud of my students and their culminating activities today. Synthesizing that information to create something new – it’s a terrific example that they’ve learned what the unit set out to teach them.

    00:06:14 The thing I like best about teaching this unit is it puts the ownership of the learning on the students. And anytime I can make the students responsible for what they’re learning, they’re going to learn better.
    00:06:25 Jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle-ee-dee. Jingle, jingle, jingle, God-Away’s a real thing. Yeah. God-Away!
    00:06:36 [TITLE: See – Wonder - Think is adapted from the Visible Thinking Routines developed by Harvard University’s research group PROJECT ZERO.
    00:06:45 ***FILE END***

School Details

Prairie Vista Middle School
13600 South Prairie Avenue
Hawthorne CA 90250
Population: 936

Data Provided By:



David Cooper



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture