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Greek Mythology Like Never Before

67a1408b76d203375d97ad21f6a535a9.jpgMy fourth grade students have been studying Greek Mythology over the past few weeks, and it’s been so much fun. I’ve taught this content before, of course, but never quite this in depth, and never with some of the techniques we’ve been using. Boy, what a difference!

Some of the changes this time around:

  • more versions of the same myth (in particular Hercules’ Quest: when we view the Disney film it will be the fourth version we’ll examine)
  • more myths (Psyche & Eros, Arachne, Medusa, and others)
  • incorporating drama into our study (tableaux of various scenes, forcing students to deeply explore the characters’ feelings and actions)
  • incorporating more art into our study (resulting in some wonderful projects)
  • allowing students to not only choose various ways of expressing their learning, but letting them create the various choices (and they were so much more engaged in the activities they designed themselves)

Just spending more time in Ancient Greece has been so beneficial to the students. They’re seeing recurring themes including jealousy, vanity, bravery, and sacrifice. They’re drawing parallels between characters and stories and they’re becoming quite knowledgable.

As an added bonus, the Rick Riordan books (the Percy Jackson series) have been flying off the library shelves, as have the other mythology books. The students are excited!

I’m so pleased with their enthusiasm and their level of commitment to their work. I believe we’re building a strong foundation for future learning as they’re developing a love of these ancient tales. I don’t know if this work will show up in the form of growth on their end of year standardized tests, but I know it’s beneficial. For that reason, I’m feeling successful and yes, a little bit proud. I can’t help but feel a bit like Zeus on Mt. Olympus, looking down at the mortals with affection and feeling pleased with their successes.


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Procrastination Strikes Again

procrastinator.jpgHere it is, Sunday night, the night that teachers around the world (or at least my world) dread.

Once again the weekend slipped by too quickly and all the things I PLANNED to do are still undone. All the work things, anyway.

Oh, there isn’t that much, only a couple of hours worth.

What? You don’t have a couple of hours of work to do on the weekend? Lucky you.

No worries, though, I’ll get the most critical stuff done and work my way through the rest of it during the week. You see, I’m that kind of teacher. The kind that stays late most nights. The kind that stays up too late so I can enjoy my family. The kind that agonizes over exactly how much detail I’m going to require on a particular assignment. Basically, the average teacher.

This average teacher, however, is a terrible procrastinator, which is why I need to log off of here and go get my work done. After all, school starts in less than twelve hours! Have a good week, everyone.


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My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

A while back I wrote a back-to-school blogpost that was later modified and run by Scary Mommy. Scary Mommy is a huge website full of content for moms who may sometimes feel like they’re hanging on by the skin of their teeth. I can relate.

Well, that article generated quite a buzz, and it ended up being shared several times, on several different websites internationally. It was particularly popular in Greece, for some reason. I’m not really sure why, and I wouldn’t even know whom to ask.

The reason I bring it up is that someone visited the blog recently through the Scary Mommy link. Hooray! I was able to see what they saw, and came across my author page along with the article. I was so glad, because I thought I lost that link forever.

In case you’re interested, here it is: 10 Back to School Supplies Money Can’t Buy . I know it’s the wrong time of year, but what do you think? The article generated a huge positive response, but there were a few angry comments saying I had no business telling people what to do. My intent was never to scold or come across as all knowing. I know parenting is difficult. I also know, from years of experience working with hundreds (thousands?) of kids that so often what they need most from their parents are things money can’t buy.

It was nice to see that old article again. It reminded me of my fifteen minutes in the spotlight, and it gave me hope that maybe somewhere somebody was taking my words to heart and spending a little extra time loving on their kids.