If you are like me… you love new ideas and even more…enhancing old ones. A few weeks ago I happened upon a video from the Ron Clark Academy of Kim Bearden offering a lesson on Greek myths. The video was amazing and I thought, “Hmmm..I can do this, too!” Now, as you may have already guessed if you are also a trier, doer, and seeker.. real life never goes quite the same as the picture perfect version. There were some stumbling blocks and frustrating moments, but overall I definitely love the end product and I would do this project again.
So, I am here to make your life a little easier and tell you the nitty gritty of this lesson.
- For students to close read a Greek myth from a choice of twelve.
- Students must discuss and summarize the story of their choice in groups. Then, decide which one they would like to act out and rewrite as a narrative.
- Students will assign each other parts from the Greek myth and then dress as a Greek God, Goddess, or other supporting character.
- Students will pre-write six scenes with the narrative writing below each sketch together (but every student must create his own copy). This must be completed BEFORE they are allowed to act the scenes out and dress up for pictures.
- Students must have their pre-writing reviewed by the teacher and then put their names on the board to have their pictures taken based on the scenes they created on their paper storyboards.
- The teacher will take the pictures. I took one group shot and then six additional shots (one per scene). I only gave them about five minutes once they were dressed in their costumes. They had to be prepared. Then, email the pictures to the group leader who can then share the pictures with the rest of the group.
- Once the students have their pictures, they can download them and create their storyboards using Google Slides. We are a Google district and Google Slides is an excellent and free tool to use for this lesson.
- One student needs to open the Google slide presentation and then share it with the other group members (that way ALL the students can work on the storyboard at the same time.) For example, one student can work on the pictures and graphics, while another works on the narrative story.
- As the teacher, you must continually check on the students for their quality of writing. They can not get so carried away with the graphics that the writing fails to be excellent.
- The students had to include figurative elements such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, similes, metaphors. I also wanted them utilizing active verbs and adjectives.
- Then, the students had to present their storyboards once completed. They were given feedback on the development of the story and the presentation. I call it “two stars” and a “wish”.
- Finally, the students had to fix areas of need for their final graded submissions.
- Overall, expect this to take an entire week (depending on time). My students and I took about thirty to forty minutes of class time each day on the project. This was all to support our reading of The Lightning Thief, so we were also reading the novel as well.
Greek wardrobes: I made sure that I had enough for every member. That was usually four per group. I went to Goodwill and found curtains for $1.00 each that matched the coloring of regular Greek costumes. I washed them and then cut holes for the head to go through, and then I cut the red curtain into long strips to serve as the sash. I also cut some rope that I had to belts. I did go to Party City and I bought the Greek headpieces. Those were the most expensive at about $5.00 each. I bought two. I also bought a couple $1.00 plastic hats that were gold for the boys. All other items I had on hand from my house of three active kids or from the Dollar Tree.
Camera: I did use my Iphone for the pictures because it was easier. I tried to chromebook camera, but it is hard to navigate and the picture quality was not as good.
Paper Copies of a Storyboard Template: I just googled this and easily found one that I liked for free. I made a copy for every student. Storyboard Template
Greek Myths: Finding Greek myths that were appropriate for 12 year olds and user friendly to read and access was the most time consuming and difficult to find. It is helpful for students to have an understanding of the myths because the novel characters and conflicts are based on Greek myths. For this, I bought a set on Teacher Pay Teachers for $6.00. The stories were for sixth graders and they were no more than two pages long. In addition, they were appropriate for the students to read. Many Greek myths are pretty out there and I worried about finding the right fit for my students. This was a great purchase. Greek Mythology Stories
Chromebooks/Desktop Computers: I wanted the students to take this activity a step further and not just create a paper sketch with the story written underneath. Also, I did not want to utilize programs such as StoryboardThat which creates animated storyboards (often I’ve found that student writing is fairly shallow with this program). I decided that Google Slides would be best because the writing could be stretched and they could also add original pictures with graphics. You could also use Powerpoint as well.
As far as rubrics.. I will leave that to you on how you want to assess this project. You could use a rubric or checklist. I used a checklist of what had to be in the project for the students and then a rubric to grade the presentation itself.
Tips: BE PATIENT. Make sure the students realize creativity takes discipline. It’s not all about the fun, the content and quality has to shine through. The writing must be excellent as well as the presentation. In that sense, it creates relevance for real life. One day, on the job, students will need to be creative–but also disciplined enough to create a quality product.
Here is an example that you can use and share with your students as a model. I always love a visual!
I hope you decide to give this project a try!!