Showing posts with label mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mythology. 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 

3.5.21

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! (And How to Download a FREEBIE from TpT)

Hi, Friends, and Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Share the Love

I know. I wrote that subject line with a lot of pride! But it's true. You guys buy stuff from my store because you must really love what I do with educational downloads. And that's the beauty of TpT. There are thousands of sellers on this site, and a part of you chose me. AWWWWWWW.

FREEBIE Creation Myth Individual Lesson Plan

Greek Mythology Series: The Orphic and Homeric Creation Myths
Access this Freebie on TpT

Get this freebie from my store -- it is now the featured free content I am showcasing. So download. And drop a like if you thought it was awesome. I created a lesson plan to teach Greek Creation myths. I hope you like it!

100+ Products and Counting

I recently topped over a hundred digital downloads on the Stones of Erasmus store. I am uber-proud and uber-excited to get more stuff rolled out soon. Currently, I am exhausting my creative output on Mythology.

Teaching Resources Based on Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

I am also making products related to Ibram Kendi's amazing book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You  a Young Adult non-fiction remix with author Jason Reynolds. So check that out, too!

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You — A Suite of Teaching Tools
A toolbox for Teachers to Use with Stamped

Love, Peace, and Harmony 

Greig from Stones of Erasmus

stonesoferasmus.com

PDF Copy for Printing

7.3.21

Subject: Hello, March! March is for Mars! And It's Springtime in TeacherLandia (And I Have a Freebie for You)

In this post, I talk about how I have been crazy obsessed with making mythology-related content for the middle and high school classroom.
Greig Roselli does a live video chat on WhatsApp
It's March, and I've been teaching 
either from home or in a classroom. Hey, Y'all!

March is For Mars, Right?

It's March. And what that means for me is that I get to ask my students, "What god from mythology is the month of March named for?" And, you know what? Don't feel bad if you can't immediately come up with the correct answer. It's one of those questions that is obvious once you know the answer. *Spoiler Alert*Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com for stonesoferasmus The Greek god Mars (Or Ares in Latin). And I have a lesson for you. I have a freebie that helps students build vocabulary through Greek and Roman mythology. Myth is to Language what Recipes are to Food! You cannot have one without the other.

FREEBIE!: All About Mythology for the Middle and High School Set

I guess I am obsessed with myth. It's probably because mythology is just really cool, and I am determined to not make learning about myths just a Percy Jackson thing. Myths are actually exquisite artifacts to teach in High School (even though they get relegated to elementary and early middle school curricula). I just made a ton of myth-related resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. And to celebrate March and Spring (and the god Mars), I made my dazzling lesson on Prometheus totally free. So you can see a sneak peek of what I am doing in the realm of educational digital resources for middle and high school students. Some of the best things I have made related to mythology are designed for the late middle and high school classrooms. And I think that's really cool. And oh, if you are more of an Amazon person, I have a store there too!

Prometheus Bound for the Classroom

Prometheus Middle and High School Classroom Lesson Plan

It's based on the story of Prometheus, the Titan who befriended Zeus. His name means “forethought,” which is kinda funny only when you realize his brother Epimetheus's name means “afterthought.” This gets even funnier when you realize that according to the myth, Prometheus had the forethought to warn his brother, "OK! Zeus is going to gift you with a beautiful woman named Pandora! Don't accept!" But since he was an afterthought  when the time came  Zeus said, "OK. Here is a gift for you, Epimetheus." And the rest is history!

And Why New Orleans is a Decent Inspiration for Mythology

I am originally from New Orleans. It’s where I got my first jolt of mythology because during Mardi Gras season — all the Krewes are made up of references to Greek mythology. You have the Krewe of Orpheus and the Mystic Krewe of Momus and Comus and Rex (Latin, not Greek, I know). And having read lots of William Faulkner, you know life in the south can mirror a Greek tragedy (or comedy!).

       How do I keep it woke? How do I make ancient Greek or Latin myths relevant to living in the Americas in 2021? Easy — lots and lots of text-to-text and text-to-world connections. Did you know that March is named after a god? It's because of Greek and Norse mythology that the days of the weeks are what they are? The more you know, right?

So keep a lookout for a new product I am creating based on New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Mythology!

Thanks for reading my blog. It's been a labor of love for over ten years. Can you believe it! XOXOXOXO

Greig Roselli (from Stones of Erasmus)



14.1.21

Aesthetic Thursday: Poussin’s Poetic Painting "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recently went to the Met — and I wandered the newly renovated European Paintings galleries and I fell in love with the French artist Poussin's painterly image of a wandering giant looking for the sun.
The painting "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun" is an oil painting on canvas by French artist Nicolas Poussin
Nicolas Poussin, French Les Andelys 1594-1665 Rom — "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun," 1658 (oil on canvas). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. 24.45.1 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently renovated its European Paintings galleries. The skylights have been fixed and apparently more artwork has been hung on the walls. I like to wander the galleries without a goal in mind — however, I lie just a bit, here. Because I did have a goal in my wanderings — mainly to find the Met's Caravaggio's. But it's always the serendipitous finds that stick with me. And Poussin's "Blind Orion" caught my attention. I know nothing of Poussin — so my interpretation of the painting is more of a first blush. But I am a lover of myth and poetry — and this painting draws you into a mythological world. At first I thought the giant figure carrying a man on his shoulders was Saint Christopher — the legendary boatsman who carried the Christ child on his shoulder crossing a river. But that is not the subject of this painting. It's a depiction of the blind giant Orion, who carries his guide Cedalion, as they look for the rising sun. The museum placard indicates that Diana, the moon goddess, who appears a diaphanous blue, stands watching in the clouds. It's a magical story; obviously one fit for myth — but the scene resonates with me because I think of myself as somewhat of a wanderer. And Orion is also the name of one of my favorite constellations. So it is befitting. Here's to searching. For the healing sun.

PDF for Printing

8.5.19

On the Imagination: Doors Are Indicators of Openings Into Other Worlds

The original Poltergeist movie (1982) perfectly utilizes the
ancient idea of a portal to another world.
I took a class in Graduate school on the Arthurian Legend. I wrote a paper on the duality of evil and good children in the myth - relating it to the Hollywood movies The Sixth Sense and The Good Son. Anyway. One thing I took away from that class was how the idea of doors as portals into other worlds is an old archetype located in the oldest myths and stories that have sprung from humankind's first stories. In the Hindu story of Krishna opening his mouth as a child to show his mother the universe, to the Celtic stories of fairy mounds and magical portals, to the Lady of the Lake breaking the surface of the water to reveal the legendary sword Excalibur. If you live in New York City, stepping into the underground concourse of subterranean subway tunnels is a daily excursion into the upside, downside aspect of city-living. The Netflix Television series Stranger Things is a recent foray into this genre. The show has created an entire mythology around this old concept in its imaginative world-building of the Upside Down. I like how Phillip Pullman in his fantasy series The Golden Compass has his hero wield a blade that cuts into the fabric of space and time, thus able to cross between worlds. Or, that famous image from the movie Poltergeist in which Carol Anne extends her hand toward the white, emanating glow of the television set. Portals can be sunken into the imagination of tales and storytelling told by the fire, but there is a truth in the telling. Fantasy fiction, as well as science fiction, uses portals and doorways. For example - Dr. Who's T.A.R.D.I.S. is the stuff of science fiction lore, but the idea of a quantum-powered engine that can skip across space and time seems plausible. And with images from astronomers showing us what Black Holes sort of look like, the idea of traversing across the universe through cosmic doorways seems real to me somehow. We (i.e., humans) just don't have the technology. Yet. I wonder if in the forthcoming centuries we humans will make the old legends true. We first have to figure out the problem of massive incoming changes in the earth's climate that is fastly becoming our next existential threat - but after that! - we have goals to tend to - ad astra!

I found this whimsical video on the video streaming app Tik Tok. I am not sure if this place actually exists - but if it does I want to go there! Video Source: @elliedothoe

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com
I sell lesson plans for the
English and Humanities crowd (and more!)

24.2.19

Icarus Falls to his Death; a Cautionary Tale from Greek Mythology

"Icarus", Henri Matisse
How many stories exist about a father who loses his son? How many stories are there of a son who fell away from his father? How many stories are there about a father, a flawed father, whose ambition causes him to lose sight of what’s closest to him? Of a son whose first taste of freedom is so great, he cannot contain it?
Visualizing the Story of Icarus in Art
Image source: Icarus (from the Four Disgracers) Hendrick Goltzius, 1588.

The story of Daedalus and Icarus is one such story. It’s a cautionary tale that originates from the Grecian isle of Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Ovid and Apollodorus are the writers we have to thank for not allowing the tale to extinguish into non-existence. I prefer Ovid’s telling of the story. But both writers tell the basic plot. It’s not spoiling it to say that Icarus dies at the end. It’s the part of the story most mentioned and memorialized in commentary and in art.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, one can see Hendrick Goltzius’s engraving of the tale (from an ignominiously titled series “The Four Disgracers”). Goltzius’s Icarus depicts a monstrous-looking body plummeting to its death (which the viewer witnesses in a neat trick of visual toe-on perspective). This Icarus looks up at the sun, his hair blown wild, and his face a contorted mix of rage and regret. His body is massive, too much weight to bear in the air. His rage is palpable - directed towards the sun as if the sun is a villain. Yet looking closely at the details of the engraving, the viewer sees Icarus forever fixed in this position, as if he is similar to Sisyphus who rolls the rock to the mountaintop only for it to fall back down again. We see Sisyphus at the top, almost there, almost victorious, and we freeze the frame. Goltzius does the same. We can almost imagine Icarus is victorious in his flight. But there is a clue to the tragedy of the tale. Daedalus is drawn into the image, placed visibly far way, and the shape of his body shows that he remains in flight, while his son, too brazen, will be banished by the sun’s blazing glory.

In Célestin Nanteuil’s depiction, and perhaps many like it, Icarus is a stretched-out angel, his body perfect and unscathed, but his wings are broken. Icarus lies dead on the craggy rock. The setting of the scene is the sea and not the sky. Icarus’s body looks dainty as if he were never meant to fly. Nanteuil’s print reminds me of a video game incarnation of Icarus.

Kid Icarus from Nintendo

As a kid, before I knew anything substantial about Greek myths, or ancient gods and goddesses, my brothers and I played Kid Icarus, a 1986 Nintendo gaming system title that featured a boy angel named Pit; he had wings, but he couldn’t fly (or had lost the ability). He looked more like Cupid, the baby child of Aphrodite, the goddess of Love; than the tragic son of Daedalus, the ambitious inventor of Crete. In the video game, Pit had agency despite his clipped wings; he carried with him a bow and a plentiful armory of arrows. The game was a side-scrolling 2D affair; the player collected hearts and I believe, if my memory serves me correct, there was a princess. And the goal was to regain Pit’s ability to fly. I think. Yet. It’s funny because the game actually has no link to the original myth at all - except for the wings. And in the myth, unlike the game, Icarus has no agency. Like most children, he is limited by the agency of his parents. And, in fact, the myth of Icarus really is about the limitations of parenting, and the sometimes destructive relationships that can arise out of dysfunctional family dynamics.
The Origin Story of Daedalus Foreshadows the Fate of Icarus
Film still from Jim Henson's "Storyteller" version of the Icarus Myth
Some sources say that Daedalus, Icarus’s father, was born in Athens. He fled to Crete after accidentally killing his nephew (yet Apollodorus’s account of the story suggest foul play). In the Jim Henson Storyteller version of the myth, this event is connected with Icarus’s later death. Daedalus’s nephew was amenable to learning and generously caught on to the craft of possibly building a machine that could fly; this may have caused Daedalus to have envy and it is this envy that arose in Daedalus a moment of insanity when he lifted the boy up to fly at the top of the Acropolis and he tragically fell off the roof to his death.

In Crete, Daedalus starts a new life in Crete. It is during this time that Icarus is born (most likely the result of a relationship between Daedalus and a Cretan slave named Naucrate). After the events of the minotaur, Icarus is confined to a cave with his father, held there by the mighty king Minos, who, after Daedalus had constructed a miraculous maze to entrap his son, the half-man, half-bull Minotaur, kept him in Crete on indefinite retainer. Reading the original sources, the story of the Minotaur, of Theseus, the hero who slays the creature, Minos, the king, and Daedalus the inventor are very much tightly knit together. It is Icarus and Daedalus who lead Theseus out of the labyrinth, with Ariadne to freedom. Yet that’s another story (for another blog post). Myth has a tendency to radiate out into different spokes. But for this story, the story of Icarus and Daedalus, the central conflict is played out between father and son. Imagine Icarus grew up amazed and bewildered by his father’s inventions, but as he grew older, and approached adolescence, he grew cagey and restless. In the Jim Henson version (which I love) Icarus is portrayed as fragile and clumsy, almost incompetent and difficult to love. Icarus had lived his entire life constrained, so when his father drew up a plan to build him wings so they both could escape Minos’s grasp, the news must have felt like a dream and a relief. But if you grow up never experiencing even a little bit of freedom, once freedom is granted, it’s like how first-year, coddled college freshman feels after being raised by careful, plodding helicopter parents. You’re going to break bad fast. And that’s exactly what happened to Icarus. Tasting the salt in his mouth and feeling the tang of the ocean air, once he was aloft in the mechanical wings his father had constructed for him, the exhilaration was too intense. Icarus had tasted freedom, and like an addictive drug, he wanted more. Daedalus had warned him: “Fly too low to the sea and the saltwater will saturate your feathers weighing you back to the earth. Fly too high, close to the sun the warmth will melt the wax that keeps your wing enclosure intact. It will fall apart”. Icarus most likely replied, “Yes, father” and flew off. Teaching restraint to a teenage boy is like asking a child to not eat the chocolate ice cream or giving him an iPhone loaded with video games and telling him to do his homework.
What is the Moral Message of this Greek Myth?
Traditionally, the story ends with a cautionary warning that those who do well to refuse to listen carefully to their totally well-meaning father will find peril and destruction. He should have listened. Why didn’t he listen? To return to the Jim Henson version of the story (which I love!) the connection is made to the beginning when Daedalus killed Talos, which in turn killed something inside of Daedalus which was also unconsciously transmitted to his son. When Talos fell, so did Daedalus and Icarus fall. That’s some deep generational toxicity. Should the son pay the sins of the father? It reminds me of another ancient tale, of Abraham and Isaac. While Abraham doesn’t slay his own son, he is about to do it (when at the last moment the angel stays his hand). There is something electric in the concept of the “sins of the father” - of this idea that the father’s downfall sets the stage for the son’s eventual demise. Is there a way to break the chain? I think this why this story resonates so strongly. We want Icarus to fly and survive, to thrive. No one wishes, deep down, that Icarus dies. We want an alternative narrative. We want to see a story where Icarus and Daedalus live happily ever after. In this story, however, things would have had to have been different from the get-go. Icarus would not have grown up in the shadow of his father’s guilt. He would not have felt so constrained. What would this Icarus look like? It is a good question because so often I see the Icarus-effect. And as a son myself, I see how we as men are often tied up to our fathers (even when we do not consciously recognize it).
The Story of Icarus Resonates With Me Personally
Cultivating agency is the stuff of adulthood. To go away from Icarus and to become something different, something alive and thriving is hard. To fly away from the comfort of the nest. How does the expression go? He flew the coop. I do think of another story of fathers and sons - which comes from the Christian New Testament Greek writings. Jesus talks about a son who flies the coop; he leaves the nest and squanders his father’s inheritance; yet, he comes back poor and laid low. The father forgives him and takes him back. His sins are forgiven. At any stage of life, I feel like, one is between this prodigal son feeling and the need (and want) for redemption and the fear that I can be burnt up by the sun if I fly too far.

I say “I” because of the story of Icarus, of the Prodigal Son, and other stories of freeing oneself from the nest is a powerful one. I can relate to it and I am sure many can. I think about my own upbringing, and how I grew up; I learned from my parents how to live in the world, for better or for worst, and then at High School graduation I was thrust into the world. I had a second upbringing. Then I graduated from college; lived in a monastery for a while; then, I left and became a school teacher! I look at the successes of my adult life, my teaching, my career, projects I have completed and articles and stories I have written and I compare those things to how I was as a kid. Did one lead from another? Is it possible to trace who I am now from who I was then? The line is not continuous; there are broken lines; new lines drawn over old ones; and lines that are going in opposite directions. That’s probably why, as a teacher, I have gravitated to teaching this story a lot in my career. I have taught it to Sixth Graders, and to Ninth Graders. Kids like the story, and they are appalled by the tragedy. But they all say they would never fly too close to the sun. Or, they remind me, “Mr. Roselli, why didn’t Icarus just use better glue?!” Good point!
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com Teaching the Myth of Icarus to your Students in a Middle or High School Classroom
The story of Icarus and Daedalus is a powerful one. So, I put together a simple 3-day lesson plan that teachers can implement in their classroom with kids (preferably Middle or High School students). There are a ton of books that have reprinted the myth and there are a ton of artistic representations. I like using Edith Hamilton’s Mythology by the book Parallel Myths is my favorite. There is a gorgeous children’s book version of the Icarus myth that is fabulous because the illustrations are evocative. Use my lesson plan with any text of the story and guide your students through this remarkable tale.

30.5.16

Icarus, the Sun, and Why June is a Nostalgic Time

Icarus, from the Four Disgracers, Hendrick Goltzius, 1588
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a drawing by Hendrick Goltzius that depicts the horror of Icarus's recklessness. The drawing reminds me of a story.

25.4.13

Sharing The Myth of Sisyphus With Kids: The Original Rolling Stone

I’ve been teaching Greek myth to a class of 8-12-year-olds since February, and it’s been so much fun, hearing what the kids have to say about myths when they process the psychological insights that I’m able to share with them. One of the primary themes of our class has been how and why the myth is still relevant today, thousands of years after these stories were first told. A particularly useful recent lesson was on the myth of Sisyphus, which is such a great metaphor for human struggle.
A Detail of an Ancient Greek Vase Depicts the Story of the Trickster Hero Sisyphus Who was Punished by the gods for Attempting to Cheat Death
The Myth of Sisyphus
Sisyphus was a Greek king, in the evil trickster mold, who found trouble with Zeus when he traded his knowledge of where Zeus was cavorting with a river nymph to her father, in exchange for a spring of pure water for the people of his kingdom. In anger, Zeus had Sisyphus carried away to the underworld, but once there, Sisyphus tricked Death into wearing his chains. No one could die until Ares released Death and gave Sisyphus to him.

Sisyphus tricked Death once again (Death must not have been the brightest guy), persuading him that since his (Sisyphus’) wife hadn’t performed the proper funeral rites, he must return to the upper world to correct the situation. Once there, of course, he lived happily for another 50 years or so.
For his offenses against the honor of the gods, Sisyphus is punished by being forced to push a large rock up a steep hill, only to see it roll back down again. He must trek down to the bottom of the mountain and start pushing still.

French-Algerian Writer Albert Camus Reinvents the Myth of Sisyphus for Modern Readers
Camus writes about this myth in his seminal essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, arguing that Sisyphus’ fate is the fate of every human. Every day we must do the same tasks over and over; going to work, cleaning our homes, making our meals. We roll the rock up the hill; each day, it rolls back down, and we must start again.

However, Camus argues, Sisyphus is not truly cursed, because he isn’t unhappy with his fate. The gods can force him to repeat this task over and over, but they can’t force him to hate it. He is content, and therefore Zeus’ punishment has failed.

Teaching the Myth to My Kids in the Classroom
When I explained all of this to my kids, it was refreshing because they asked brilliant questions. They always want to know why the characters in Greek myths didn’t make different, better choices. One question that came up: why doesn’t Sisyphus chip away at the rock to make it smaller, make it easier for himself? I compared that to working less hard on studying for an exam and getting a “C” instead of an “A”. You can always take steps to make things easier for yourself, but you’d be cheating yourself at the same time. They got it, and it was really cool to see them getting it.