New Ideas for Teaching Myths and Legends

Mythology could be considered the starting point of today’s literature. The voyage of Odysseus, the fighting of the Hydra or a dragon can also be the focal points of activities to try in the classroom.

Writing

The teacher can tell the children the premise of a myth, just an overview. He or she should not give any details. Then ask the students what they think is going to happen in the myth and how the tale is going to unfold. These ideas can be written in a classroom story, including illustrations, or each student, or group of students, can write their own version. It is interesting when the lesson is done to compare the students’ myths with the actual one.

Another activity to try before reading the story is to give an overview of one of the characters, good or evil, and then have the students write a sketch, both in words and with pictures, of it. See if their ideas of the character change after reading the myth in class.

Mythology is also a great platform for students to express opinions in the form of essays. After reading about a place, such as the home of the gods, Mt. Olympus, the students can write their view on what this mountain would be like. They can decide if it is right that mortals not be allowed there. Or with King Midas, the children can write an opinion essay on Tantalus and the judgment they believed should be given to him for stealing the gods’ nectar.

Letters

Mythology can be the basis of learning how to write different types of letters. For example they can write a letter of application to take the place of one of their favorite mythological characters. Perhaps they would like to take the place of Mercury; they could then tell what characteristics they hold that would make them ideal to take his place. Each letter will be different and interesting as the children envision themselves as that character.

The students can also imagine that they are going on a great trek, such as the one Odysseus took. They will need to plan the supplies they would need so they can write a requisition letter. The teacher can create a reasonable address for the letter, such as Olympus Supplies, 3 Mount Drive, Mount Olympus.

The students also can write postcards from one of the journeys taken in a myth. They can take a card, cut from cardstock, draw a picture on the one side and then write a tidbit on the other. Remind them to address and stamp the card so it will be delivered correctly.

They could also be on the other end of the journey, where they are the friend or loved one at home. Write a letter helping the character by either offering support or guidance as they travel along. Or they could respond to some plight that has fallen onto the traveler. This could be in the line of advice or concern. This can be applied to many different myths and those that are traveling.

The ideas for teaching mythology are only as limited as the educator’s imagination. If they let their mind go and dream about possibilities, the students will enjoy the theme immensely.