Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Greek Week! (and-a-half)

We've just completed a wonderful multi-grade interdisciplinary unit on ancient Greece.  We worked with the sixth grade to study the literature, language, mathematics, and culture of the ancient Greeks.  Students met daily to discuss and review Greek allusions that they began to notice as they became more aware of all the gifts the ancient Greeks have given us.

Students noticed that there is an Atlas moving company, both Goodyear Tires and FTD florists use the winged sandals of Hermes as a logo, Mobile gas uses Pegasus as a logo, Nike was the goddess of victory and close companion of Athena, an arachnid is so called after Arachne - the vainglorious girl who refused to give Athena her due, the Castleton Spartans are well named, the Titanic was not well named, and the Barre Montpelier Times Argus has lots of eyes so as to better see and report all the news!

We studied myths, legends, and fables.  We ate pomegranates.  We learned to recognize the letters of the Greek alphabet and can now sing the alphabet song in Greek.  ("I've got to have more cowbell!")  We studied many of the English words we use which have Greek roots.  We learned that "logo" is actually a Greek word.  We learned about Pythagoras and his famous Pythagorean Theorem.  Did you know that he was a vegetarian but he did not like beans or eat them?  He certainly was an amazing mathematician though!

We studied several of Aesop's fables and learned that many of the morals found in these fables have found their way into our everyday language.  One student went skiing over the weekend and recognized the moral of "The Fox and the Goat" on a warning sign along one of the trails which warned, "Look before you leap!"  We discovered a wonderful website - or app if you prefer - from the Library of Congress, Aesop's Fables Interactive Book.

We learned the difference between a myth and a legend and we studied several of the legendary heroes including Heracles and Theseus.  Did you know that although there are not too many female heroes, there is at least one, Atalanta?

Small groups of students closely studied specific myths and learned them well enough to re-enact their myths for their classmates at our felicitous finale, the Greek Feast and Drama Festival.

We would like to thank the many parents who came in to help serve and clean up or who cooked, sent in cheese, olives, beverages, and paper products.  You all are wonderful cooks and helped make our Greek Feast a glorious event.  Yummy!  Spanikopita!  Melopita!  Baklava!  Moussaka!  Keftedes!  Tzatziki!

Please visit our downstairs hallway which is now decorated with twenty-four life-sized Greek gods and goddesses.  They are quite a sight to behold!

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