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Engage English Language Arts middle and high schoolers with the ancient Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice — the lovers who lost each other twice!

Music began with the gods. And then Orpheus was born. He strung a lyre given to him by the god Apollo. And he charmed all he met with his song. Married to Eurydice, he loses her on their wedding night. She is bitten by a snake — and thus, Orpheus, vows to bring his love back to earth, and travels to the underworld.

  • This resource is optimized for distance learning. The product includes a durable Google Apps link. Access and modify this resource for student-use on Google Classroom and other classroom management sites.

Use this Digital Download for a Three-day English Language Arts Lesson

Using my tested-in-the-classroom resources, your kids will want to discuss the tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice. So I have loaded this resource with discussion questions that will get your students talking and writing! N.B. — The text of the myth is not included in this digital download, but I provide multiple links to the story online.

Common Core Standards: This resource aligns well with the reading literature standard: “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).”

This Resource Includes the Following Features:

  • 1 Teacher’s Three-day Lesson Calendar
    • With a teacher-tested-stamp of approval, follow my suggestions on how to teach the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a three-day block. Start with artwork, read the text, engage in questions, and quick writing, and sharing, and cap off the lesson with a writing activity.
  • 4 Art + Literature Connections (with Visual Aids)
    • Compare the text with eye-popping artwork by Auguste Rodin and others.
  • 1 Key Characters and Places Worksheet
    • Orient your learners by identifying the key characters and the geographical location of the story.
  • 11 Reading Comprehension Questions
    • Either use these questions as a quiz for after reading, independent work, or in a discussion or small group setting.
  • Critical Thinking Questions
    • Use these questions for whole-class discussion but I also like to spice things up and get my students moving by having a carousel-style discussion.
  • Frayer Model Vocabulary Cards (with student sample)
    • Frayer models are a way to get kids to think about vocabulary visually in a four-section square —- A square for meaning, one for examples, another for non-examples, and a sketch. It is amazing to see the work they produce. A great way to decorate your classroom to showcase your kids’ vocabulary-in-text understanding. The cards contain terms, geography, and challenging words (as well as contextual entries fit to the story).
  • Exit Tickets
    • Exit tickets are a way to get data about your students’ understanding of the lesson right before the class is finished. Collect these exit tickets and quickly see what ideas your students picked up about Orpheus & Eurydice. I also provide two different tickets to offer academic choice for students.
  • Essay Writing Activity (with visual starter and prompt)
    • Cap this three-day lesson with a P.O.V. writing activity.
  • Further Reading List
    • Don’t disregard this further reading list if you think it is merely a bibliography. Share the list with your students or have them do projects based on the research that is available. Assign different sources to students and organize presentations where learning can go deeper into this popular love myth.
  • Answer Keys for all student-facing documents
    • Teachers always ask for answer keys for my products so I made sure I gave you plenty of guidance on what to expect from students in their written and oral responses.

I created this resource with middle school students in mind. It is designed for an English Language Arts Mythology unit —

  • On characteristics of the tragic hero (and as a pre-lesson on the hero’s journey).
  • Use it also in a genre unit on love tales or stories of star-crossed lovers!
  • Use this resource as a stand-alone lesson or, pair it with a larger unit on Myth, HadestownPercy Jackson and the Lightning ThiefRobert Graves’s Greek Myths, or Edith Hamilton’s Mythologyor Parallel Myths.