What’s your most embarrassing teacher moment? Take a second to get a good visual.
When my son was in 5th grade, he had to record himself demonstrating how to do something. He chose how to throw a football.
Now this was way back in the days before smartphones. So most students just reused a VHS tape from home and recorded over old content. Took it into school and they shared the video in class. Super fun.
Well, that is until one boy showed his video about how to play a saxophone. He did a great job according to my son. That is until the saxophone lesson segued into, shall we say, mom and dad mature video content.
Now that’s a teacher moment. She closed down the video in a hurry, but do you think anyone raved about the sax performance?
TEACHER RULE #1 – NEVER show a video, play a song, or let students research on the internet without fully previewing the websites and material in advance. NEVER!!
Teaching Ancient Mythology to Middle Schoolers
So what does this have to do with teaching ancient mythology to middle schoolers?
Well, my students loved the ancient mythology in their video games and literature. Ancient gods and goddesses look cool and have cool powers. What’s not to like?
Bringing that excitement into the classroom seemed like a great idea.
But when I started researching ancient mythology, I was blown away by the mature themes.
Have you read about Osiris, Egypt’s god of fertility, agriculture, and the afterlife? His jealous brother Seth chopped him into 14 pieces which were distributed around Egypt. Isis, sister-wife of Osiris (that’s a whole other issue) found 13 of the pieces and reassembled them.
Now any good teacher like yourself is going to encourage students to solve the mystery of the missing piece. Just saying, it’s that fertility connection and it will definitely make its way to tonight’s dinner table conversation!
TEACHER RULE #2 – NEVER assign student research on a topic of which you don’t already have a fairly good depth of knowledge. You need to know what surprises and pitfalls your students will uncover.
Making my own Teaching Materials – Again!!
So anyway, I decided that the best, although certainly not the easiest, way to safely introduce my students to ancient deities was to write my own materials with adult themes edited out and inappropriate pictures photoshopped for middle school.
I developed a fun format of 1/2 page full-color cards for each major deity. I wove creation stories and intrigue through the cards.
I made a 1/2 page folded booklet to record comprehension information about each deity.
Right away my students were intrigued by the break from our normal 8.5 x 11 format!
Since we used binders for organization, booklets were 3-hole punched and the deity cards were clipped to the booklets with a binder clip.
Implementing “god booklets”
“God booklets” are flexible. You can print enough sets of “god cards” for individual students to use or just enough for group sharing. You can also upload full-color, full-screen cards to your Google Classroom.
Plan for 3-4 days for completion, including 1 full day of in-class work. Completing “god booklets” was go-to morning work for those few days. My early finishers had a built in activity. And, if I had a sub – lesson plan done!
I spent 1-2 days for an in-class fast paced review. We went through each deity and students took turns offering information from their completed booklets. Students made corrections as needed.
That made grading a total breeze. Each “god” was worth 2-3 points. Because we reviewed the booklets in class, all I had to do was look through each booklet to make sure they were complete. Took maybe 2 minutes per student!!
And I loved the impact these “god booklets” had for student grades. Students were so engaged that even my strugglers dove in with both feet and did a terrific job.
I was so excited to hear from teacher Chelsea C about her classroom experience.
“I recently purchased this resource and I’m thrilled with it!
The content is expertly organized, visually appealing, and incredibly adaptable to my teaching style and my students’ needs.
The assessment tools are comprehensive, and the creator’s support is commendable.
This resource has undeniably elevated my teaching experience, and I highly recommend it to fellow educators looking for a valuable addition to their toolkit.”
Need I Say More?
If you’re wanting to add ancient mythology into your classroom without the adult theme pitfalls, then these Middle School Appropriate “god cards and booklets” are your definite go to!
Your students will thank you. Your parents won’t be sending problem emails. You won’t spend hours researching and editing!
*** NOTE: I have introduced the word deity into my resources to lessen the discomfort that some families may have referring to ancient deities as gods ***