The Odyssey: Guaranteed Curriculum Unit
Unit Length and Description:
34 Instructional Days
Students are introduced to Greek mythology prior to reading Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, in order to develop a deep understanding of Greek culture. This understanding will also allow students to decipher allusions made in the epic. Students first learned about the quest motif in grade 4. This set builds on that knowledge, as students will come to understand how great literature reflects life, and how in any journey, be it physical or metaphysical, patience is important for gaining wisdom and experience along the way. Students will explore common ideas across texts, such as how people give value to their lives and the costs of giving into impulse, impiety, temptation, and recklessness. Students will also explore the influence that The Odyssey has on modern life.
This unit will focus on craft and structure and integration of knowledge and ideas. Writing will be predominately narrative with some focus on informative/explanatory and argumentative.
RL.9-10.7: Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
Reading Informational Texts:
RI.9-10.7: Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
RI.9-10.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
RI.9-10.9: Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.
W.9-10.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
a. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, mood, tone, events, and/or characters.
c. Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
d. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
e. Provide a conclusion (when appropriate to the genre) that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
W.9-10.8: Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative sources using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
W.9-10.9: Draw relevant evidence from grade-appropriate literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
a. Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work [e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare]”).
b. Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning”).
Speaking and Listening
SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
SL.9-10.5: Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
L.9-10.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9–10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
a. Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
b. Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., analyze, analysis, analytical; advocate, advocacy).
c. Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning, its part of speech, or its etymology.
d. Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
L.9.10.5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text.
b. Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.
· Classic literature allows the reader to understand the past and make connections to the present.
· All societies and cultures have heroes, and we learn about our own lives through these heroes.
· Epic heroes were both heroic and flawed and reflect the culture from which they emerged.
· The social structure of Ancient Greece is fundamentally different than American society today, and thus has different rules for hospitality, revenge and justice, and moral behavior.
· Some aspects of Odysseus would still be considered heroic today, and others are a specific aspect of Ancient Greek culture.
· Is there value in learning “the classics”?
· What can Odysseus and his journey teach us about ourselves and our modern society?
· How do a hero’s attributes and flaws affect his mental, emotional, and physical journey?
· What ideals to Ancient Greeks and modern Americans have in common? What ideals are different?
· When does a story about one person become a story about all of us?