Students will be engaged in a brief review of the African and Mayan myths. The teacher will guide the students through a discussion of the individual aspects of each culture’s myths. The teacher will highlight the important elements contained in the myths. It is essential to ensure that the students have a firm understanding and recognition of the similarities and differences between the Mayan and African myths. With this understanding and recognition, the students will be presented with a preview of the week’s undertaking: the writing of a short, original myth based upon African or Mayan details.
The students will be writing their own myths. They will be creating either an African myth or a Mayan myth. The teacher will ask the students to review their K-W-L charts. The charts, which were employed throughout weeks one and two, will serve as a guideline for the students. Using the information contained on the charts as well as their recollection, the students must decide whether they will write a myth based on the African elements or a myth that employs the themes and elements of the Mayan people. The teacher will allow the students several minutes to review the information and make a decision.
After each students has chosen the culture that they will base their myth upon, they will begin to write. Day one of the third week will serve as the pre-writing step of the writing process. The students will be provided with an outline worksheet. The worksheet will ask the students to provide information on their myth. Each student must answer questions on their myth’s plot, characters, events and resolution. With the general information completed, the stage is set for the writing to begin.
Using the K-W-L chart and the worksheet begun in class yesterday, the students will actively begin writing their myth. The teacher will encourage the students to review the elements of the culture’s myths by rereading some of the myths and recalling the tales presented by the storytellers. The students will spend the time writing their rough draft. The teacher will be available for conferences, questions and concerns.
On the third day of the final week, each students will be engrossed in the writing of his or her myth. At this stage of the writing process, the teacher will meet individually with the students to discuss their myths. The teacher wants to ensure that the students are writing a myth that contains elements related to the chosen culture, including the essential lesson to be taught.
The students will be encouraged to share their works-in-progress with each other. Peer response is critical to the writing process. Students are more apt to respond to another student’s suggestion than to one made by the teacher. The teacher will encourage the students to react critically to each other’s works and to also make grammatical corrections.
As the final week of the unit draws to a close, the students will complete the writing of their myths. Day four will be an opportunity for students to have final teacher conferences, a last peer response and editing session and the writing of the final draft. As students continue to work on their tales, the teacher will be preparing for the last day of the unit. The teacher will inform the students that on the final day, they will each be required to share their myth with the class. In an effort to make the presentations interesting and exciting, the students are invited to a “Mythical Party.” At the party each students will function as a “storyteller.” Students will be encouraged to bring props, costumes and other tale enhancing items. For those students who complete their final draft on Day four, they may begin preparing for their presentation.
On the final day of the unit, the students, who will be referred to as “guests,” will arrive in costume (where applicable) and everyone will sit on the floor. As with the formal African storyteller and Mayan myth expert, sitting on the floor allows for a relaxed atmosphere and a greater involvement in the telling of the myth.
Each guest will be asked to come forward and share his or her tale. It is hoped that the writing will illustrate the teaching of the past three weeks. The final writing will highlight the ways in which the students understood the elements of the Mayan and African myths, the students increased knowledge of these distinct cultures and their deepened appreciation for that which is different from them.
Any study of cultures that extend outside of the identities of the students in the classroom, should be designed to elicit a strong appreciation, understanding and recognition of the differences that exist among the people of the world. From this appreciation and understanding, students will gain a wider latitude of acceptance for all people. A society that is made up of many cultures demands an educational provision of multicultural enhancements. The classroom is a bastion in which students learn about acceptance, appreciation, understanding and awareness of all cultures. Multicultural education is a must in today’s society.