We kicked off our last mythology class by reading aloud the bio-poems that the students had written for last week's homework. All students presented poems and generally followed the bio-poem prompts. All were well-written and a few were extraordinary. Nice work, team!
We then spent considerable time analyzing and discussing the themes within The Odyssey, particularly revolving around the so-called "Search for Odysseus." We touched on ideas and concepts such as self-doubt, negativity, identity, and traditional vs. modern parent-child roles and relationships. Good stuff, no? The students never fail to impress us with their maturity and insight on these topics and Susan and I have very much enjoyed this time spent in "free discussion."
Following on our poetry theme from last week, we tied three modern poetry pieces to The Odyssey: "Penelope" by Dorothy Parker, "Ithaka" by Constantine Cavafy, and "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I attempted to read some rather poignant material to the students along with the poem, "Ithaka," but failed miserably in that attempt, and was thankfully rescued by Mrs. Martz. I copy the poem here, along with some of the background text, as it expresses to all of you what's in my heart as I leave my New Jersey home behind.
Excerpt from "Ithaka" by Constantine P. Cavafy
As you set out for Ithaka
We closed our wonderful class with a final reading of "Searching for Odysseus." The students continue to make progress in many areas including, expression, diction and movement. Next week, Hamlet!
For homework, students will go on a Shakespeare Web Quest to find out some basic background information on The Bard before diving into Hamlet. Handouts with instructions were given to visit three different web-sites. Go to each site when instructed and read the information given in that site. Then, answer the questions asked. You many need to go beyond the first page of a site to find the information.
Next week, I will be passing on Susan's reflections from class and posting the homework assignment (I'm sure the students are glad I will still be available for that task :>).