Beacon Lesson Plan Library

You G.O.T. It!

Lisa Ove Gibson
Bay District Schools


Using a graphic organizer, students synthesize and separate collected information. G.O.T. stands for Graphic Organization using a T-chart.


The student compiles information using graphic organizers (for example, timelines, circle diagrams).


-At least 2 sheets of chart paper
-Student journals
-T-chart (see associated file)
-Transparency of 2nd T-chart (Associated File)


1. Provide mini-lesson on main topics and supporting details in a reading selection.
2. Provide the graphic organizer (one is attached).
3. For students who do not have prior knowledge of Hercules, supplement this lesson with a short story involving Hercules.
4. Create overhead transparency of the second T-chart.


1. Write the name Hercules on chart paper (#1).

2. Ask students - Do you know anything about Hercules? Have you seen the Disney movie titled Hercules?

3. Ask students what character traits they would use to describe Hercules (he is blonde/brunette, he is strong/weak, etc.).

4. Lead students in a verbal discussion about Hercules' character traits. Prepare a list of Hercules' character traits in case students do not have background knowledge.

5. Record student's verbal responses on chart paper #1 (try to generate as many character traits as you can from students and question them further if they appear to be stuck).

6. Ask students who have not heard of Hercules to ask questions about him so that they would be able to know him better. (The teacher can use these questions as an opportunity to create more character traits, if another student in the room knows the answer to any of the questions.)

7. Teacher and students observe the compiled list of Hercules' character traits.

8. Write on the chalkboard: From the list of Hercules' character traits that we have created, we are selecting the 3 most important traits. Which 3 traits would you select as the most important and explain why you decided to choose those particular ones?

9. Students respond to the question in their journals.

10. Ask several students to share their ideas of the 3 most important traits and record these ideas on chart paper #2. Each item that is placed on chart paper #2 must be crossed off #1.

11. Ask students to observe chart paper #2 and decide what factors these items have in common. Some possible student observations could be: All of these traits were important; These traits helped to create a visual picture of Hercules; These traits better defined Hercules' personality; These ideas give a distinct impression of Hercules; etc.

12. Ask students to observe chart #1. Look at the items that did not make it to the -most important- list. What do these items seem to have in common? Some possible student observations could be: These items seemed insignificant when compared to the items that made it to the -most important- list; These items did not say much about Hercules by themselves. These traits were dependent on another bigger idea (Example- Hercules was one of the strongest mortal men in Greek mythology, and Hercules completed 12 near-impossible tasks with his super human strength. The fact that Hercules was one of the strongest mortal men in Greek mythology seems like the bigger picture when compared to the fact he completed 12 intensive labors with super human strength). Hercules as one of the strongest men is the main topic; and 1 example or supporting detail is that he completed 12 intensive labors with super human strength. The supporting detail paints a more intricate or vivid picture of Hercules.

13. Explain that all of the character traits are about Hercules and are important pieces of information, however certain traits seemed more important than others did.

14. Remind students how main topics and supporting details are related to one another (provide mini-lesson if needed).

15. Ask students to compare chart #1 to chart #2 and decide which list of traits would be the main topics and which would be better described as supporting details.

16. Students record on their paper the elements from chart #1 and chart #2. This is necessary to complete the homework assignment.

17. Model at least 1 example of a main topic and 2 supporting details from Hercules' discussion on the T-chart for all students to see. While explaining the T-chart, be sure to give examples of the types of sentences that explain the purpose of the main idea and supporting details (see associated file).

18. Students use a T-chart to record the main topics in the first column and supporting details in the second column (see associated file) for homework. Students write a summary statement about each column of information that they created. Make sure that students understand that the summaries should be observation statements about what is a main topic and what is a supporting detail. These observation statements are recorded at the bottom of the T-chart.

19. Collect the practice T-charts tomorrow and use the observation statements as the formative assessment.


Using a graphic organizer, T-chart, students synthesize and separate collected information. Students complete the T-chart for homework recording the main topics and supporting details from the class discussion. Students write an observation statement about main topics and a separate statement about supporting details. Make sure that student observation statements are on target. (Associated File). The observation statements serve as the formative assessment for this lesson.


(A) Student must have prior knowledge of main topics, supporting details, how to use a T-chart, character traits, and an ability to draw comparisons.
(B) This is the first lesson in a mini-unit titled Mythology in the Middle.
(C) Find a short story about Hercules that identifies several of his character traits for students who do not have prior knowledge.

Web Links

Web supplement for You G.O.T. it!

Web supplement for You G.O.T. it!

Web supplement for You G.O.T. it!

Web supplement for You G.O.T. it!
Bulfinch's Mythology

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