A blog following teacher Aaron Jura as he plans engaging, yet relevant English Language Arts content for High School students in New Orleans, LA.
Well, we just finished up reading The Odyssey,
The students really seemed to enjoy it. I think what made it successful was that we led into the reading with a full reading of a bunch of Greek mythology. The Greek mythology we read helped students to contextually be better able to comprehend the allusions in The Odyssey.
Secondly, breaking up the book with high-engagement project work helped to keep student's attention during our 4-week long reading of the story. Students completed presentations with a partner on the structural elements of the Hero's Journey. They applied their analysis of the structure of this storytelling structure to a film of their choice and then presented to the class. The final project they did was a "mannequin challenge" project where students recreated scenes from The Odyssey in tableau set to music.
Breaking up a dense work like The Odyssey with managable, highly-engaging projects seems to be the best way to get it done.
Greek and Roman mythology is all around us and is heavily represented thematically and symbolically in literature.
I have always enjoyed teaching mythology because I find that it ignites a sense of wonder in often even the most reluctant learner. Simply the gore element alone in Greek myth will hook some students.
I am using this year's unit as a bridge into our study of Homer's epic The Odyssey. In planning the unit, I couldn't visualize how students would be able to fully contextually understand the work without a general working knowledge of the stories of Greek mythology.
Of the resources I have found I am most happy with the content in this resource and this resource. I also must say that the Coursera Greek and Roman Mythology course and Edith Hamilton's Mythology book.
I'm excited to get started. This week we will begin with cultural references and a jigsaw activity on creation mythology. Then we will move into the Greek stories of creation with the story of Uranus and Gaia. Students will take notes on the types of mythos and also on the variety of interpretations of myth. At the end of the week, we will work in groups to design paper mache masks of a variety of the creatures from Greek and Roman mythology.
Mr. J is a high school teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. J believes in the power of educators to help children and families achieve. Follow his blog for tips and techniques to keep engagement high and student achievement at the forefront.