Searching for Odysseus
This week we began a new readers theater script which picked up our story of The Odyssey at the point where Odysseus' son, Telemachus, begins his search for his long-lost father.
The students are doing a much better job of delivering their lines with an understanding of how the text should be read by following the directions indicated in the script (angrily, sarcastically, etc.), so kudos!
We paused at various moments to discuss some interesting themes that seem to re-occur within the story. Susan and I always enjoy these discussions, as they typically reveal our student's deeper understanding of many of these concepts. As a whole, the group still thinks in very concrete terms, which as I told them yesterday is not necessarily a bad thing. Thinking a bit more abstractly is something we would eventually like to see them explore a little more.
To that end, we are taking some time to look at poetry, since The Odyssey is, in fact, a poem. Yesterday we read two poems about Helen of Troy -- one by Edgar Allan Poe, the other by H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). Written about 100 years apart, the poems showcase two different styles with two completely different meanings, which were not immediately obvious to the class. This type of poetry "investigation" will prepare them for tackling Shakespearian language. Next week we will continue the poetry theme by looking at additional "Odyssey" related poems, penned by writers such as Dorothy Parker, Constantine Cavafy, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
For homework students will write some poetry of their own! Instructions were given to write a Bio-Poem using several prompts. They will likely need to conduct some additional at-home research on their character of choice in order to complete it.
Next week, we'll discuss and analyze more deeply the themes within the latter part of The Odyssey, share our bio-poems, and perform "Searching for Odysseus" for the final time. On April 1, we move on to Shakespeare and Hamlet -- no fooling! :)