For nearly two years we've been active members of a local group. Though our size fluctuated we are a relatively small group who meet 12 weeks out of the semester so we try to keep things light and fun, but still informative. When it's my turn to teach I tend to stick to Art themes because it's what I'm comfortable with, but this semester I've branched out and let the kids decide. Much to my delight they chose a semester of Mythology!
Mythology can be so much fun and since it's a topic even public schools tackle I figured I'd find a ton of free projects and resources online...I was mistaken. While I did find many things few of them were free and even fewer were more than a retelling of the various stories. Thankfully I stumbled along MythWeb, in particular their MythWeb's Heroes Page. It's a simple enough page that provides a quick and easy reading of various myths and if you venture to their Teacher's page they have a listing of various lesson ideas.
Considering the trouble I had finding free ideas I thought I'd share what we came up with using this resource as well as one other. Here's the breakdown of our 3-part lesson on the 12 Labors of Hercules.
1. Read the story. We hooked the laptop to a tv and used the mythweb site but any book or reference could be used.
2. Discussion. Sometimes it's hard to know where to go with a discussion, especially when you have all ages. So I used the bullet points of this articles about the life lessons of Hercules as a starting place. Be sure to get the kids involved...it IS a discussion after all. Ask them leading questions. Do they have a similar experience they can relate it to? Do the ancient lessons still ring true today?
3. Older Group: Round Robin Writing Exercise. This is pretty self-explanatory, the older kids broke into groups of three and spent 15 minutes writing their own hero stories.
3. Younger Group: Grecian Urns. This is such an easy project while also giving the younger ones a chance to craft their own tales of heroism via the images they drew. Here's a quick run down of how to make your own Urn.
Fold a sheet of construction paper in half.
Draw the silhouette of your urn.
Cut out your urn. Be sure to make sure they're NOT cutting the folded side.
Use drawings to tell your own heroic tale or your favorite part of the Hercules myth.