The Flight of Icarus Teaching Unit

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This is a 72-page teaching unit (with extra PowerPoints) for the myth “The Flight of Icarus” retold by Sally Benson. This story is in our 7th grade literature book titled Collections published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. There is a copy of the story included in this packet as well.

The following activities are included in this teaching unit:
1. A chart listing the Common Core Standards used in each activity
2. A PowerPoint explaining the story of King Minos, Theseus, and the Minotaur. These characters are mentioned in the first paragraph of “The Flight of Icarus”. This PowerPoint will give students background knowledge that will aid in their comprehension of the story.
3. A close reading guide – Students can use this guide as they read the story. There are questions which will ensure that students are reading carefully. With this guide, the story is divided into smaller portions. Students will read a portion, stop to answer the questions and then continue to read.
4. Elements of a Myth – This handout will help you introduce or review the elements of myth. There are two options included, a handout with all of the notes included and one where students can fill in the blanks with the needed information.
5. How to Successfully Answer Text Dependent Extended Response Questions – Several activities and handouts are included for this. There is the R.A.C.E. acronym which students can use all year each time they have to answer an extended response text dependent question. There are handouts that students can keep to refer to all year when using this acronym. There is even a sample text dependent analysis question for “The Flight of Icarus” with examples of poor answers and an example of a good answer.
6. Things to Remember About Theme- This handout is provided in three formats, one with the complete notes, one where students can fill in the blanks as you go over the important things to remember about theme, and the last is an interactive activity that can be used to teach theme.
7. Objective Summary -PowerPoint to teach how to write an objective summary for a story. A handout on how to write an objective summary along with a sample are also included
8. Carousel Learning Activity Instructions and Management – There are several activities for students to complete after reading the story. We have found that completing these activities “carousel” style and with a partner or in groups works wonderful! Students are engaged, helping one another, and actively working on Common Core based, meaningful activities. Complete instructions with pictures are included.

The carousel activities include the following:
• Text Dependent Analysis Questions – There are four questions included and a chart that requires students to use the RACE acronym to restate the question, answer it, cite evidence from the text, and explain. Sample answers are provided.
• Parts of Plot – With this activity, students will figure out the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of the plot. An answer key is provided.
• Point of View Rewrite –Students will choose one of the passages included on the handout and rewrite the passage using the first person point of view (from either Icarus’ or Daedalus’ point of view). This will allow students to see just how much the point of view can alter a story.
• Determining the Theme – This activity will guide the groups in developing a theme statement for the story. A sample theme is provided.
• Vocabulary – There are two handouts in which students can use context clues to figure out some of the words in the story. The first activity will allow the groups to figure out the words on their own without help from multiple choices. Once this activity is complete, students will be given the second activity. This works wonderfully! Like any story, there are some vocabulary words that cannot be figured out from context clues. For those words, we created the K.I.M. vocabulary handout. This is a wonderful vocabulary strategy that students can use in every subject and as a lifelong learning tool. Answer keys and student samples are provided.
• Cinquain – This activity is fun for students. The group will work together and use the cinquain format to create a poem based on the story. A sample is provided.
• Readers’ Theater – With this activity, students simply reread the story reader’s theater style. The groups decide who will read each part and then they reread the story this way. It’s a wonderful way to complete a reread, and it gives the students practice with using inflection and reading with emotion.
• I Am Poem – This activity is fun for the groups. They follow the pattern to write an I Am poem based on a character, theme, or object from the story.
• Objective Summary – With this activity, students will write an objective summary of the story. A sample objective summary of “The Flight of Icarus” is provided.
• Epitaph for Icarus – Groups will work together to write the epitaph for Icarus’ gravestone.
• Bonus Activity: How does setting affect the characters? Sample answers are provided.

*If you choose not to use the carousel learning activity, you can still pick and choose the post reading activities that you think your students need to do, or you can have them complete them all!

This teaching unit is JAM-PACKED with strategies, activities, and Common-Core based materials. This is not a generic worksheet kind of packet. You will LOVE these activities, and you will be able to use a lot of what is included with other stories that you teach as well!
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Days

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The Flight of Icarus Teaching Unit
The Flight of Icarus Teaching Unit
The Flight of Icarus Teaching Unit
The Flight of Icarus Teaching Unit