Ancient Greek mythologies have passed the test of time as they continue to excite people thousands of years past their origins. Modern movies, television and literature have all integrated elements from Greek mythology. Many middle school students have probably seen "Clash of the Titans" or read "The Lightning Thief." Writing about Greek mythology does not have to be left to Hollywood and professional writers. You can incorporate Greek mythology into your class's writing activities with a few simple prompts.
Present the scenario to your students that several of the Greek gods, goddess, heroes and villains have resigned from their positions. Instruct your students to choose the position for which they would like to apply. They will then write cover letters and resumes trying to sell themselves to Zeus, the hiring manager.
Ask your students to consider how the Greek pantheon would fair in today's world. Instruct your students to choose their favorite characters from the Greek mythologies and write a story about them living in today's time. They should consider how those characters might react to current events. For example, how would Gaia, the goddess of Earth, think about the environmental issues we are facing today?
The origins of many English words and phrases can be traced to Greek mythology. For example, "Achilles' heel" refers to a person's weak spot; the word "atlas," a book of maps, stems from Atlas , the Titan who held up the heavens. Assign such a word or phrase to each of your students, or to a small group of students, and instruct them to research the origin and write about it. Have them present their findings to the class.
Create Classroom Myths
Ancient mythologies were most often used to teach a lesson or to explain a phenomenon. Emotions and personalities were often personified. Ask your students to create their own myths centered on their current environments. Their myths might answer questions such as "Why should we do our homework?" or "What is the origin of the Tuesday Surprise in the cafeteria?" Create a book to include everyone's myths.
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