28.7.21

Stones of Erasmus Teacher's Planner: Teach the Mythology of the Titan Gods and Goddesses with Middle and High School Students (Or, How to Make Mythology Relevant for Adolescent English Language Arts Students)

In this post, I briefly outline why it is both a challenge and a reward to teach mythology as a unit in a middle and high school classroom!

Aditya Kapoor sits in Mr. Roselli's class at Garden School in Queens.
Last year my students sat at desks with
plexiglass screens, but we were still
able to engage in meaningful conversations
(including the meaning of myth). #thumbsup
Introducing the Topic of Myth to Students

Mythology is a powerful topic to introduce to adolescent learners in a Language Arts or Humanities classroom. But, there's a catch. You don't want to present mythology as "kids' stuff" — and you definitely want to have a conversation about how students were first introduced to mythology — via Disney's Hercules or from a children's book, or a trip to the library, or not at all! The aura of myth is everywhere. And myths originate from all the world's societies — from the moment the first human could speak, myths have been told.

State and reiterate to students that mythology is a wide-reaching topic, and in every culture and civilization, there is a mythology — the stuff of narrative that sticks, that is universal, and tells a human story. Greek mythology is a standard go-to when teaching myth. It's standard fodder in schools today — especially because of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Edith Hamilton's Mythology. But don't just stick with the Greeks — provide a variety of mythic stories and see how they are parallel, and share common patterns.

Finding Patterns in Myth and Identifying Tropes

A cosplayer performs the part of Spider-man.
Believe it or not — characters like
Spider-man, from Marvel comics and movies
— are just modern-day iterations of myth.
What god would Spider-man be? Anansi?
Arachne? Perhaps!

In a middle or high school setting, it's important to contextualize myth and to make it relevant for today's learners. How do you do that successfully? The best way to do it is to show how patterns in myth crop up in our everyday world. Perhaps your students are not worried about finding a nymph on the sidewalk, or striding a bull that turns into a God — but, mythology is all around us. I love to use the website TV Tropes — it organizes common tropes found in literature, movies, television, and video games to show how popular allusions form and where they can be found! One good place to start is to show students how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just another version of mythology, re-packaged for the new media set.

The difficulty with teaching myth to students is just simply the gulf of content that is out there. It can be overwhelming. But less is more. The goal of teaching mythology is to have students make connections. Also, older students can learn about the discrepancies found in myths, and chart out and graph those inconsistencies — such as why the stories from ancient sources change, are adapted, and evolve over time. There is no universal text when it comes to these stories — and prepare to leverage this reality to your advantage. Create group work that has students investigate the differences and similarities found in myth. And make sure to record and document what you find.

Teach a Three-Day Lesson on the Titan Gods and Goddesses

Where to start on a myth unit for middle and high school students? You can start with a lesson on creation myths, but don't forget the Titans. The Titans are the "old gods," and their stories are filled with violence, wonder, intrigue, rebellion, and the rise of the new gods, the Olympians. Learn with your students as you traverse stories that include a father castrated by his son; a wise, compassionate one who attempts to save humankind, and how a jar (or, is it a box?) unleashes mayhem onto the world!

Cover Art for a Three-Day Lesson Plan on the Titan Gods of Creation Created and Made with Love by Stones of Erasmus
Use a three-day lesson plan digital download from
Stones of Erasmus. Adolescents will love the messiness
and insanity of the old gods, the Titans. 

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Engage Secondary English Language Arts students with the story of the Titans, the second-generation gods, and goddesses of Greek Mythology. Learn each Titan's backstory, where they came from, and their relationship to the Giants, and the Olympians. There is a clash of the Titans, that's for sure. Hesiod called it the Titanomachy. Use this fully packed three-day lesson plan, designed especially for students aged 13-17 years old.

  • 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 good and bad parenting skills, cursed families, sins of the fathers, the role of women in myth, power, and the clash of the Titans! So I have loaded this resource with TEN reading cards and a set of THIRTY questions that will get your students talking, writing, and wondering!

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 origin story of the Titans with high school students. Start with background knowledge, places, and geography, engage students in group reading with custom-made reading cards, and quiz your class with trivia-style questions. Cap the lesson off with a creative writing activity.

  • 10 Art + Literature Reading Cards
    • Included in this resource are ten reading cards that cover the lives, misdeeds, and fates of all the Titans and Titanesses:
      • Kronos (Saturn), Rhea, Crius, Coeus (Koios), Ocean (Oceanus), Tethys, Hyperion, Leto, Mnemosyne, Themis, Hecate, Phoebe, Iapetus, Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, the Giants, the Curedes, and the Dactyls!

  • 1 Key Characters and Places Worksheet
    • Orient your learners by identifying the key characters and the geographical location of the story.

  • A Bank of 30 Trivia-style Questions about the Titans
    • After your students engage in the reading cards, test their knowledge with a custom-made question set.

  • 10 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, Greek and Latin roots, and challenging words (as well as contextual entries fit to the story).

  • Half-Sheet 3-2-1 Exit Ticket
    • 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 took away from reading and discussing the myth.

  • Essay Writing Activity (with two visual starters and prompts)
    • Cap off this three-day lesson with a creative essay prompt to get students to make text-to-world connections.

  • 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 the stories of the Titans.

  • 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.

  • Bonus: 3-Box Notetaking Template — Embed accountability into the lesson by having students annotate the text cards with notes, questions, and a summary of what they've read and comprehended.

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

  • For any myth-related unit!
  • On the Clash of the Titans!
  • Use this resource as a stand-alone lesson or, pair it with a larger unit on Myth, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, The Theogony of HesiodRobert Graves's Greek Myths, or Edith Hamilton's Mythologyor Parallel Myths by J.F. Bierlein.

For resources similar to this one see my:

You can purchase this three-day lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers, Amazon Ignite, Made By Teachers, and The Wheel Education!

PDF Copy for Printing 

26.7.21

I Go Walking Often in New York City: Tunnel Portals and Asian Comfort Food

In this blog post, I reflect on the relationship between walking and wandering in the city. And how I found the East River tunnel portals in Queens.

Greig Roselli stands and poses inside the Hunter's Point Avenue station in Long Island City, Queens.
Standing in the Hunter's Point Avenue Subway station in Long Island City, Queens

New York City is a town made for walkers. Maybe I’ve said that before — I can’t remember. But it’s what I lean on most for support — a good, healthy walk. 
Depicts grade level commuter rail tracks that carry Long Island Railroad trains to Long Island City in Queens
In Hunter’s Point Avenue in Queens, many grungy industrial fabrications are revamped into chic habitations for the young and trendy set. Getting out of the subway, I marvel at how often I take the 7 train but never get off here. A guy compliments my glasses. “They’re from Warby Parker,” I say. “You can order them online.” I still feel like I’m in high school whenever an attractive man compliments me. After a bit of stumbling around — passing loads of runners and dog walkers — I find what I’m looking for — yay! 
The East River tunnel carries Amtrak and Long Island Railroad trains from Penn Station into Queens — there are four tracks to the tunnel and each track has a tunnel portal.
One of the tunnel portals that @Amtrak and @LIRR use to go under the East River. It’s a complex network of trains and track interlocking in this area. It’s a rail fan’s compulsory visit. We ride subways and trains every day, oblivious to the painstaking labor and deliberation it takes to run everything smoothly. A job I don’t have the constitution for because I’m too much of a dreamer. The air feels crisp tonight, and I don’t feel anxious. It feels good to meander and poke about a city I’ve lived in for ten years and still find something new and unexpected. Tip — @yumpling on Vernon Boulevard is good (stupid good). 
Wire fencing keeps folks from entering the active Long Island Railroad grade-level tracks in Long Island City, Queens.

10.7.21

Teacher's Summer Diary #2398: On the Tedium of Making Educational Digital Content (And Why a Walk, a Stretch, and a Sip of Water is Essential)

In this post, I talk about making educational resources for the middle and high school classroom and why distraction is my friendly passenger (although they don't always feel so friendly).

Author as a Gif
As per my last email (don't you hate it when you receive a message that begins that way) — or, shall I say, post — I've learned some new tips. First — there is beauty in
"Wish You Were Here  B.O.B.B.Y" Spray-painted on the side of a freight train car (pictured somewhere in Queens, New York
A message spray-painted on a side of
a train car.

small details. But my iPhone finds it challenging to capture the subtle beauty, so you'll have to contend with the bigger picture.

I read a quote today that I like — about achievement — "Before the gates of excellence, the high gods have placed sweat.”

I'm attempting to complete a monumental task this week, and I feel overwhelmed. I want to expand the teaching resources I created under my @stonesoferasmus brand — I have to go and proofread my inventory of 137 digital downloads I've created. I like the “making part” of the process — using design skills and creating incredible resources that middle and high school students can use. It's just very time-consuming. So to inspire me, I take long walks — hence the photos you see — and eat healthy — and stretch. Also — I got a bigger monitor for my computer. OMG. Having a large screen to work on makes a huge difference when creating digital stuff. OMG.

My goal is to have 200 products reviewed and created by the end of Summer. And on top of that, I'm taking a class on Special Education and Differentiation at Hunter College. The course is good — it solidifies some things I already knew about teaching and has already given me good ideas to move forward. Next year I'm teaching a section of Eighth Grade English, a World Religions class, a New York City history class — paired with Tenth and Eleventh graders in a combined section. Whew. I better get to planning. But. Oh. I see a bird in a tree. Ohh. Let me check this out. *Loses thirty minutes*. By the way, @kfs0520, is the last picture in this post an excellent example of Nantucket Red? Inquiring minds want to know.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

6.7.21

Brief Philosophical Thought: On Everydayness and How to Live One's Life to the Zaniest

In this post, I tussle with Martin Heidegger's concept of "everydayness," — all the while having fun in the town of Catskill, New York (Why, not?!).

Yellow Legs
Put your feet in the air!

Wag your tongue.
Martin Heidegger has this idea he calls everydayness. It’s a complex idea to explain, but somehow it has been on my mind. Everydayness is a condition of being in the world — with its routines, habits, conventions, etc. Let’s call them societal norms. And let’s further say societal norms were constructed to form a modicum of order and stability in living with others. Please don’t take my fish sticks, or I’ll murder you and all your kin. No one has time for that foolishness. So everydayness has its merits. But, then, it’s a tricky business when those same societal norms constructed to protect and carve out stability can also have the light effect of destroying freedom of self. Everydayness is being in a world where one is so caught up in the mundane busyness of living that one forgets how to live. For me — I feel a break from everydayness when I travel. When I’m not plugged into the typical 9 to 5 life. But something is terrifying about breaking away from everydayness. Because to break away from everydayness is to be authentic. And authenticity is most terrifying for one when one doesn’t know how to live outside the habits and conventions laid out for one. To wake up with nothing on one’s schedule, no one calling, no emails to answer, nothing demanding conformity — what’s left is the empty well of the self where authenticity is carved out. So I stick out my tongue. Get caught in the rain. Sit by the river. And feel the ache. The terror of being alive. Because life is so damn limited. A quick breath of air. Poof. You’re gone. What am I to do? And no — the answer is not in any advice or life coach’s guidance. I don’t know the answer. But at least let’s try.

Siamese Cat Sculpture in Catskill, New York
Catskill, New York populates its street corners with quirky cat sculptures.

Cosmic Cat Sculpture in Catskill, New York
Cosmic Cat

Two Kissing Dogs with Santa Hats in Catskill, New York
Kiss me, Kate!

3.7.21

A Visit to Chicago, Illinois and a Brief Re-Encounter with a Favorite Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago

In this post, I finish a voyage on Amtrak's Empire Builder route, and stopover in Chicago for a spell where I re-encounter one of my favorite paintings of all time!

Chicago's Millenium Park Near Sunset
Greig Roselli wears a surgical mask while traveling on public transit in Chicago, Illinois
All masked up in Chicago, Illinois
I’m in Chicago for a brief stopover (to visit @artinstitutechi to see my favorite painting, Georges Seurat’s “Sunday on La Grande Jatte”). I’ve been traveling this month — seeing America on the backend of a global virus outbreak that shook the economy, health, and morale of people. 3.97 million people have died worldwide. On the street, people don’t wear masks, and restaurants and shops have signs that read “If you’re fully vaxxed — no mask,” and a woman on my train a couple of mornings ago wore a tee that reads “Vaccinated AF.” In museums and on buses and trains and in the post office — people don their masks. But I had breakfast this morning — and maybe 5 out of 100 people wore face coverings. And lo did I behold a ginormous pump bucket of hand sanitizer.

A Chicago straphanger rides a Red Line train
People seem ready to move and socialize. Bars and clubs have swung open their doors. Streets are closed off for pedestrian use only. Summer is in the air. A young man seated next to me on the train from Seattle tells me it’s the first time he’s left his Lincoln Park neighborhood since February of last year. But the guy is moving out big — bought himself an @amtrak USA rail pass. That ticket gets you ten legs of a 30-day journey for like four hundred bucks. Coach class, only. He grins. And shows me his itinerary. It feels good to share train travel camaraderie. And I start to dream of journeys I have yet to take. Is the Ethan Allen Express to Vermont open? When will the train travel to Canada?


One of the Art Institute's Lions
Checking Out "Sunday Afternoon"
A Red Line train approaches
the station in Chicago.

I’m also worried about @britneyspears, and I hope she and her lawyers can roll back the strictures placed on her by her conservatorship. Leave Britney alone!

Bonus points — name as many Chicago locations as you can find in my post. Go! The winner receives a free digital download about Mythology from @stonesoferasmus

PDF Copy for Printing