For Teachers

Teachers have the hardest job in the world & need all the support we can give them. I’ve taught junior high for over 15 years and have a wealth of lesson plans and tips for teaching teens. My goal for this page is to make the best of my work available to you. Enjoy!

SOME QUICK ANCIENT EPIC LESSONS

THE PROLOGOMENA-AN INVOCATION FOR BEGINNINGS
Artists take great pains in the beginnings of things, and Homer was no exception. To bring success to their endeavors, help from the gods was called upon at the very beginning of any recitation of these stories. These invocations are called the prologomena and they were in standard use in ancient literature, oral and written.

• From The Iliad: “Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilleus and its devastation, which puts pains thousandfold upon the Achaeans.”
• From The Odyssey: “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story.”
• From The Aeneid: “I sing of arms and of a man.”

ACTIVITY—Write your own prologomena that you can say before starting your school day.

THE ARISTEIA-AN INVOCATION FOR BATTLE
Another special point in a work of ancient literature is known as the aristeia. It means literally “glory day on the battlefield” and describes the exact preparations a warrior takes before going into battle. You will naturally find oodles of aristeia in The Iliad because of its many battle scenes.

• From The Iliad: “First he placed upon his legs the intricate greaves which fastened about themselves with silver links to them at the ankles.”

ACTIVITY—Write your own aristeia on your preparing for an important event.

THE EPITHET
To better remember the story, a great many lines are repeated. It helped poets who recited these stories to audiences for entertainment. Characters were given epithets to recall the storyline while also serving to remind the listener of character attributes.

• From The Iliad: “Helen of the light foot”
• From The Odyssey: “Penelope, shining among women”
• From The Aeneid: “Aeneas, the great of heart“

ACTIVITY—write your own epithet that describes you as a person. Notice that some epithets are physical descriptions, while others praise some virtue in the character’s personality. For example: Mrs. Smith, keeper of the school bell and shining among teachers.

INTERESTING ENDINGS
Another name for Troy is Ilium. So, by changing the ending of the proper noun, the poem of Troy becomes “The Iliad”, the poem of Odysseus becomes “The Odyssey”, and the poem of Aeneas becomes “The Aeneid”.

ACTIVITY—What would the poem, or story, of your life be called? A story about a boy named Grant would be “The Granteid”. A story about a boy named David could be “The Davidiad”. A story about a boy named Garren could be “The Garrenessey”. What would the poem of the Battle of Gettysburg be called? (“The Gettysburgiad”)! Write your own titles by substituting “iad”, “ey”, or “eid”. Add extra letters to make it sound smooth.

EXTENSION ACTIVITIES FOR THE ILIAD & THE ODYSSEY

FAMILY PORTRAITS
Inside decorative portrait frames, draw a picture of: the King & Queen of Sparta; the King & Queen of Mycenae; the Trojan royal family; the King & Queen of Ithaka and their son, Telemachus; and the Olympians.

DIORAMAS
I can’t think of a more exciting project for kids than to imagine and create Circe’s garden and palace! Assign dioramas to your students and watch the scenes take shape in miniature. To encourage them, give the students free reign for this project and see the magnificent things they create. When they are due, you can have groups get together and put their boxes in sequence, then the whole class can figure out how to put all of them in sequence around the room. And don’t miss the opportunity to spread the word: Ask the librarian if you can put the top dioramas on display in the library.

On the top of the shoebox, have students attach an index card that includes this information: student’s name, scene title, and a “what is happening here? sequence of events.

DIRECTIONS TO STUDENTS:
• Cut out and paste info card on top of box.
• No pre-made objects like toys, Legos™, dolls, etc. Be imaginative! We want to see your creation!
• No sugar cubes (they attract ants)!
• Do it yourself!
• Give it your best effort!

COMIC STRIPS
This activity will help your students keep in mind the sequence of events. It can be used for any work of literature under study and is of tremendous benefit to visual learners.
DIRECTIONS:
• Brainstorm scenes from the play (can be from vase activity).
• Divide a piece of construction paper into that many cells plus two extra.
• In the first cell, write the name of the work and the author.
• Illustrate with colors and provide captions for each scene.
• In the last cell, write some facts you have learned.

VENN DIAGRAMS
Use Venn diagrams to compare and contrast heroes, gods, and goddesses of ancient myth and legend.

CHARACTER TRADING CARDS
Use simple index cards and design character trading cards representing the heroes, gods, goddesses, and mythological creatures from ancient Greek or Roman times.

DIRECTIONS:
• Choose your characters.
• Complete the front of each trading card.
In bold letters, write the character’s name at the top.
Give that character a motto and write it on the bottom line.
Draw a picture of the character inside of a decorative portrait frame.
• Complete the back of each trading card.
In bold letters, write the character’s name at the top.
Draw the outline of an ancient vase that takes up the entire card area.
Write 5 major facts about this character inside the vase outline.
At the base of the vase, draw a symbol that represents the character.

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