Showing posts with label middle school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label middle school. Show all posts


Unveiling Mythology to Teens: Insights from the Humanities Classroom

In this post, I talk about simple ways teachers in a middle or high school humanities classroom can explore the vast richness of a diverse set of myths.
Storm-Tossed and Star Crossed: Paris and Helen's Epic Journey to Troy
In this captivating illustration, Paris and Helen, the ill-fated lovers, braved a tempestuous sea to reach the legendary city of Troy. The turbulent waves and dark skies mirror the tumultuous fate that awaited them. Meanwhile, Cassandra, the prophetess cursed with foresight, stands witness to their arrival, her eyes carrying the weight of the tragedies to come. This vivid scene captures the essence of their epic tale, where love and destiny collide amidst the fury of nature.

Along with the stories from the Trojan War, embrace a rich trove of mythology resources that comprise a range of digital resources, ideal for middle and high school students. I understand the breadth of mythology can be overwhelming, with countless tales and myriad versions.


Throwback Thursday: Flour Babies

Back in the mid-nineties - hell, it probably still happens - our public middle school in Saint Tammany Parish Louisiana conducted a program meant to curb teenage pregnancy.
The program was called Flour Babies. Every kid in our Seventh Grade class bought a six-pound bag of flour from the grocery store, we dressed it up to look like a boy or a girl and propped a head on it. I guess we gave it a name.

We carried the flour baby with us everywhere we went. We took it to class, brought it home with us, and made sure we didn't leave it behind.

Leaving behind your flour baby was tantamount to committing childhood neglect - I think kids who left it on the bus or in homeroom had to endure after school suspension. Or maybe they were told, "Don't have kids."

Here are two photos from my flour baby days:
I hold onto my flour baby like it's my own dear baby, baby.
Younger brother and Mom pose with the flour baby.
Did you have a flour baby growing up? I'd love to hear about it.


Report from the Schoolyard: Joy to the World the Teacher's Dead

The Hidden Banter of the Schoolyard
    Inside the inner circle of school-talk lies an entire world closed off – for the most part – to the outside, adult world. In elementary school, we used to say that if we could find the person who invented school, “we’d kill ‘em.” At recess, huddled in our peer circles, after gossiping, the banter became indictment of school in all of its ugly designs. That’s what we thought. Partly because that is the way school children are supposed to think about school, at least amongst themselves. Adults were horrified when they caught us singing the maladaptation of the Christmas carol "Joy to the World."
Joy to the world!
The teacher's dead!
We bar-b-que'd her head.
What happened to her body?
We flushed it down the potty!
Heaven and nature sing!
Heaven and nature sing!
Magistricide Horrors
    Adults were horrified that we would fantasize about magistricide.
    Now that I am a teacher myself I understand the latent aggression towards teachers (and how it sometimes flare up and becomes less than latent).
    Students respond to their teachers as figures of authorities. As a student there is a low level of power; at every level there is someone in a higher position, a pecking order. Teachers represent the upper echelon of the order (even though we don't get paid much).

To fantasize about killing your teacher is a fantasy about control.    We sang the song because we wanted to hold onto some sense of control. In middle school, a child is at the mercy of bigger kids, janitors with mops, nasty lunch ladies, assistant principals, bullies, school food, bus drivers: there is seldom a moment of absolute freedom from authority.
    Except at recess. And that is where we sang our lilting dirge.
Joy to the world the teacher's dead.
    I don't think we meant that literally. If our teacher did, in fact die, I am sure we would have felt guilty. Just like the little kid who wishes privately his parents were dead — and they do in fact die — has to go through a lot of therapy afterward.
    Perhaps what underlies all of this is the education of power. Is growing up the education of using and balancing power?
    Even as middle-schoolers we understood power structures even though we had never picked up Michel Foucault's book Discipline and Punish.