and received a 2018 President's Award.
The structure of the mythology group is a weekly group offered to 4th and 5th graders during their lunch period. The weekly meetings begin in late November and end sometime after April vacation. My schedule has allowed for me to have an open block of time that coincides with the grades’ lunchtime. The students bring their lunch to the library and we spend the time learning about Greek Mythology through reading aloud, watching videos and group discussions on the week’s topic. Afterwards, the students can choose to read on their own from our many mythology titles. We also have an assortment of mythology-based games and activities that enhance our exploration of the myths.
During my first year, my relatively limited knowledge of Greek Mythology gave the students permission to often be the experts. At first, they would gently correct my pronunciation of the Gods and Goddesses and patiently explain the complex familial relationships. We soon went beyond memorizing each god and goddess and their corresponding symbols. As we learned together, the group began to further explore the myths in order to gain more meaning from them.
One example of a lunchtime group discussion revolved around the myth of Pandora’s box. After reading the myth, one student asked the rest of the students, “What evil would you try to contain in Pandora’s box?“ This question sparked a lively yet thought provoking conversation. Our weekly meetings became a highlight of the week for me as well as the students. My interest in Greek mythology grew as I learned alongside my students.
So how did my mythology group lead to this photo of me in front of the Parthenon?
The course is open to educators with an interest in Greece who want to bring Greek history or mythology into their schools. After hearing about the program, I immediately applied for the following year. The online course began in January and went through May with the ten-day trip to Greece occurring over April school vacation. The online webinars, readings, and lectures were supplemented by the reading of ancient texts including The Odyssey and The Iliad. We studied Greek history, art, and culture in preparation for our trip to Greece.
The trip was an incredible opportunity to explore an amazing country with 30 fellow educators. Our group included classroom teachers, literacy specialists and library teachers from all grade levels. The ten days we travelled together provided endless chances to collaborate with peers. Hours on the bus would find us sharing our teaching backgrounds and brainstorming how we could incorporate what we were experiencing into our curriculums. The connections made while travelling and learning together were as impactful as viewing the historic sites we visited.
Going to Greece brought my learning and teaching full circle and I have returned with an energized interest and a greatly enhanced knowledge of the subject matter. As I prepare for this year’s mythology group, I am excited to share with my students not only my extensive photographs of Greece but also all that I have learned about Greek Mythology.