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Mythological Characters


One of the most successful projects I've used to teach world literature and expand students' knowledge involves characters from Greek and Roman mythology. I ask students to choose one character from an indexed list. Our librarians pull every book connected with Greek and Roman mythology from the shelves and reserve them for our use. When we go to the library, students write a biography of that character, find a myth, retell it to the class, and dress in costume or create a poster to symbolize their character. I make the due date October 31 and photograph each student's oral presentation. They love performing, dressing in costume, being photographed, and telling the story of their character. When I asked students to rate this project in terms of difficulty and enjoyment, they rated it moderately difficult (finding information on the more obscure characters was not easy) and high in personal enjoyment. I was especially pleased that many of the students could connect vocabulary words such as narcissistic, insomnia, cereal and tantalize with the Greek and Roman mythological figures. I also feel that I have given them exposure to the stories that should be a part of their literary and cultural heritage. Now, when we talk about allusions in literature, they know the myths which inspired them.

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