Showing posts with label classroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroom. Show all posts

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 

8.1.21

A Fourth Grader's Optimism: Who Needs Some Inspiration? (Especially After the Tumultuous Events in Washington, D.C. this Week!)

Feeling the need to be inspired, I found this post-it note on a bulletin board at the school where I am a high school English teacher. I teach in a K-12 school in the New York City borough of Queens. 

Changing the world isn't easy, but anyone can.
Julian in Fourth Grade doles out a massive dose of encouragement. 

Needing Positivity this Week (For Sure!)

I am usually the teacher who brings positivity to the classroom. But lately I have been feeling down-and-out. Maybe it's the global pandemic that has swept the world, or maybe it's the attack on our democratic institutions on Wednesday that threw the nation's Capitol building in lockdown when a large group of Trump-inspired far-right rioters breached security protocol and entered the federal building, breaking glass, vandalizing the Speaker of the House's office, and even infiltrating the Senate chambers — where just an hour before, legislators had convened to accept certified electoral college votes from the states — to follow through with the Constitutional process to de facto validate the election of the next President of the United States, Mr. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Inspiring Note from a Fourth Grader

And I saw this note from a Fourth grader. Kids at this age have an optimism and clarity for both big-spectacled dreams as well as practical sense. Who doesn't want the world changed for the better. But I love how he admits it is a challenge. And kudos for his marvelous grammatical construction — "Changing the world isn't easy, but anyone can."

PDF Copy for Printing  

24.4.10

Found Art: A Kid's Doodle of their Messy Teacher Found in a Notebook

So one of my students drew a picture of me and I found it in their notebook.

Some doodles found in a student's class notebook - can be fun - or, just shows you how much kids notice. They do see you everyday cuz you're always the front and center of the class. Duh.

19.4.10

Photograph & Rant: "Sharpen Your Mind!"

In this post, I supply a photograph I took of a battered pencil sharpener along with a short quip on a sharpener's importance in a teacher's classroom.
An orange beat-up pencil sharpener is affixed to a wall.
An orange, beat-up pencil sharpener is affixed to a wall.
Even in the age of computers, it is still nice to know pencil sharpeners have a use. Any classroom teacher will tell you that one of the more valuable objects in their possession is the pencil sharpener — many are affixed to the wall so no one will take it away.
image credit: Greig Roselli © 2010

7.2.10

Re:”What Makes a Great Teacher”


An article in the latest issue of Atlantic Monthly on what makes great teachers revived my spirit a bit.     After reading the article, I realized that growing up I thought of my best teachers as magical beings, as if they had possessed something we didn’t and they were willing to pass that magic on to us. I know. I had a heavy infatuation with teachers as a kid. So I am biased. And now, I am a high school English teacher. So there is that.
Obviously, good teachers are not superheroes.
     They have foibles just like the rest of us. But, we have to stop thinking that “good teaching” is some mystery that lies in the realm of the unknown. As if the skill of teaching is an intangible thing that cannot be taught. There are qualities that one can detect in a teacher. When you meet a good teacher you realize they are never satisfied. Good teachers say stuff like this to visitors to their classroom: "' You’re welcome to come, but I have to warn you — I am in the middle of just blowing up my classroom structure and changing my reading workshop because I think it’s not working as well as it could.'" Good teachers are constantly re-evaluating their methods and constantly looking for ways to make the learning environment better.
  • Good teachers “avidly recruit students and other teachers into the process.” I know this to be true. Good teachers create a vibe that sends the message: “let’s be a part of this.”
  • Good teachers maintain focus and ensure that everything they do in the classroom contributes to the learning process. I chuckle at this sign of a good teacher because it reminds me of a teacher I had who would always use every opportunity as a learning moment, to such an extent that we as students were not always aware of it. We might be collecting cool quotes to put into our notebooks, not realizing he was teaching us how to be better researchers.
  • Good teachers plan exhaustively and purposefully, planning backward from the desired goal. Yes, I agree this is a good sign of a great teacher. They have broad goals they want their students to reach and make sure every lesson somehow inches toward that goal. The work is in the details. It takes a mammoth amount of creative energy to accomplish this feat.
  • Good teachers seem not to complain about the system, but work relentlessly despite the combined efforts of budget, poverty, and budgetary shortcomings. The converse of this is those good teachers often are ground down by bureaucracy and quit due to burnout.
In a nutshell: Good teachers have grit.
      Here is a different video than what I originally had seen on the Atlantic's web site on the "Manager Teacher" (a model I would like to emulate). The original video was taken down and I cannot find it, but this video is sufficient for what I want to showcase. Notice two things: how the teacher has the students' full attention (that did not come out of thin air) and how from the beginning she demands from students to illustrate their understanding of what they need to do. But she is concise and she uses "economy of language" — and then the students get to work!

29.1.10

Poem: "apple-faced kids"


when the clock sounds
the apple-faced kids
rush to class
not to learn
but to whiz in their heads
the wonders of the world

22.10.09

When a Classroom Lesson Does Not Go As Planned: Where the Wild Things Are


Notes from my teacher diary on a lesson that went south:
Human nature is funky. Take Max, from the Sendak story: brazen and ferocious, ruler over the beasts. Example: stretch your brain and your brain bleeds. The kids become restless. The Wild Things pervade. I forgot to get the book to read to my students and therefore the entire lesson faltered a bit. I wonder sometimes if words can ever be restored; can a word marry itself with unadulterated passion? Can Max ever reconcile the beast-logic with home?