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Unit Plan: Homers The Odyssey

Tim Webster, 25 October 2015

Year 11, Level 6


Comment: Level 6 is the appropriate level as it is the lowest level at
which Classical studies is offered and the students/class targeted for the
Unit are themselves in Year 11 which most strongly corresponds with Level
6.]

Unit Duration: 13 lessons of 1.5 hours each


Learning Objectives:
Comment: As the New Zealand Curriculum does not have achievement
standards for Classical Studies, I am using Learning Objectives
developed by the Ministry of Education for Level 6, found on the TKI
website: .]

6.1 understand how social, political, artistic, and technological


aspects of the
classical world influenced the lives of Greeks and
Romans living in those
times

6.2 understand that ideas and values of the classical world


have influenced
other cultures, including New Zealand.

Key Aspects of Learning/Learning Intentions:


Comment: Drawn from Learning Objectives and Key Contexts, and
related to Key Concepts (TKI), Values and Key Competencies (both of the
NZ Curriculum) (see below):

Identifies how a classical literary work, namely The Odyssey,


depicts
human behaviour, including their relation with the
gods.

Places The Odyssey within the Western mythological and


religious
tradition.

Identifies Classical Greek conceptions of mythology and their


interplay with
geography and the environment using The
Odyssey.

Recognises Classical Greek archetypal motifs and social


themes in The
Odyssey, and applies them to modern life
and their own personal life
journeys.

Key Concepts:
Comment: These act as the basis for Contexts and Key Aspects of
Learning and are taken from the TKI website:
http://seniorsecondary.tki.org.nz/Social-sciences/Classical-studies/Keyconcepts. They are:

Culture and identity


Social conventions and values, role models, mythology, and belief
systems in relation to cultural and social identities, ranging from political
and religious to scientific and philosophical ideologies.

Heritage
How and why the ideas and values of the classical world have
influenced other cultures.

Art and aesthetics


The perception of beauty, ideals of harmony and balance, design,
creativity, and
invention; the influence of classical literature; how art,
literature and aesthetics
inform cultural values and traditions.

Conflict
The contesting relationships between individuals, groups, and ideas,
in both
historical and literary contexts and the way that conflict can
be a force for both
continuity and change.
Additionally, as background ideas and concepts less directly dealt with but
still present and thus reinforcing past Units and/or presaging future Units,
are:

Citizenship and society


The interaction of status, gender, family, rights, responsibilities, and
freedom and
their importance to wider society.

Empire and power


The rise and fall of individuals and groups; the reasons for cultural,
economic, and
political imperialism; the causes and consequences of
social and political change; the importance of place and environment to
individuals and societies.

Context Elaborations:
Comment: These contexts act as the basis of Key Aspects of
Learning/Learning Intentions (see above) and are taken either from a
couple of TKI Classical Studies webpages or adapted or formulated by
myself in collaboration with colleagues.

The Classical Studies webpages are the Learning Objectives pages at:
http://seniorsecondary.tki.org.nz/Social-sciences/Classicalstudies/Learning-objectives/LO-6-1. and LO-6-2., and the Classical Studies
Connections page at http://seniorsecondary.tki.org.nz/Socialsciences/Classical-studies/Connections. The Connections page
highlights how Classical Studies fits into the wider curriculum and how it
presents a strong example of how a cross-curricular and integrated
approach to learning can be achieved.
Key contexts I will focus on will be:

To analyse human behaviour in the context of a classical


literary work,
namely The Odyssey (with Psychology as
a part of the Social Sciences
Learning Area)

To place The Odyssey within the Western mythological


tradition (mine,
with Psychology and Sociology as a part of the
Social Sciences Learning
Area)

To use The Odyssey to interpret Classical Greek conceptions


of
mythology and its interplay with geography and the
environment (mine,
adapted from TKI Connections, with
Geography and Sociology as part of
the Social Sciences
Learning Area).

To use The Odyssey to recognise Classical Greek archetypal


motifs and
social themes, and to apply them to modern life
questions including through
autobiographical reflection (mine, with
the Personal Health and
Relationships strands of
the the Health and Physical Education Learning
Area)
secondary contexts, which are likely to be touched on (the latter only
lightly) in some lessons/actvities, will be:

Traditional religious beliefs, creation and foundation myths,


legends and
their resulting religious practices of prayer,
sacrifice, and divination, and
how these beliefs establish cultural
identity. (6.1)

Learning about the physical geography of the Classical World


by tracking
scholarly interpretations of where the locations of
Odysseus voyage may
have been situated on a modern map of the
Mediterranean region (with
Geography as a part of the
Social Sciences Learning Area).

The role of leaders, notably Odysseus, and how important


leadership is in
the context of group struggle and challenge (6.1)

Heroism as defined by the actions of Odysseus, and how that


heroism is
important to Classical Greek culture and identity.
(6.1)

The Classical Greek conception of the underworld compared


with modern
cultural beliefs about life after death, such as
Mori ancestors, Pasifika
myths and legends, Christian

notions heaven and hell: what possibilities are


there for life after
death? (6.2)

Literary conventions such as the use of language and


imagery, for example,
Homeric similes: what makes a good story?
(6.1)

use The Odyssey to understand the conventions of epic


poetry (with the
English Learning Area).

explore the ideas of character, theme, and setting in The


Odyssey (with
the English Learning Area).

Key competencies:
Comment: The aim is for all Key Competencies to be practiced and
strengthened through the course of the Unit, in the following ways:
thinking: making sense of information, experiences and ideas; thinking
critically about sources; constructing knowledge; making decisions;
developing curiosity; exploring new ideas; reflecting on own experiences
and personal knowledge; challenging assumptions about our own culture.
using language, symbols and texts: reading and one of the earliest
examples of Western literature, The Odyssey; interpreting stories as
representations of religious beliefs, and elements of stories as
representations of classical societal expectations as well as similes for
universal struggles;
managing self: engaging with the text themselves; planning reading and
preparing for assessments; also looking at and learning about life
challenges faced by characters in myth, by people in classical times as
well as looking at ones own personal struggles in a wider modern social
context and learning ways to deal with them today and tomorrow.
relating to others: interacting with classmates in discussing the text and
each others personal challenges; participating actively and working
together in group activities and group presentations; recognising
difference - in terms of skills and experience - and learning from it as well
as working with it.
participating and contributing: learning about social norms, such as
justice, communityin a classical context and comparing it with
expectations, pressures and opportunities in our modern community
contexts;

Values:
Comment: As taken and adapted from the NZ Curriculum, pg. 10.,
notably:


difficulties

creatively,

heritages

excellence by aiming high and persevering in the face of


innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically,
and
reflectively
diversity, as found in our different cultures, languages, and
equity, through fairness and social justice

to be:

encouraged through the students approach to the material


and the
activities,

modelled both by myself as their teacher and by the


students to each other
and to me, and

explored both through the process of learning, but also


specifically
through the subject of the lessons and the Unit
themselves, the Odyssey,
which through the trials, struggle and
efforts of Odysseus to return to
Ithaca, depicts excellence,
innovation, inquiry and curiosity upon the part of
Odysseus and
some of his men, as well as their opposites both in himself and
many of his men. The story also depicts Classical Greek approaches
to
different cultures and compels students to look at Greek
cultural norms
around fairness and justice (including
revenge) and their perception of
equity as compared to
modern Western and modern Pacific culture.

Assessment:
Conditions of Assessment:
This assessment activity takes place over four weeks of in- and out-ofclass time, with

participation in class including individual and group activities,


and a visit to
the Wellingtons rocky southern coast (Not
Achieved or Achieved)

a group presentation halfway through the Unit depicting the


events and
trials of a particular chapter and the themes
therein, assessing visual impact,
verbal clarity and knowledge of
detail (NA,A,M,or E);

a personal journal of the narrative of the Odyssey and its


themes
(NA,A,M,or E);

an open book exam at the end of the Unit. (NA,A,M,or E)


Summative assessment:
Summative assessment will focus on:


a personal journal summarising the narrative text of the
Odyssey, notably,
but not limited to, Odysseus trials;
identifying key archetypal motifs and
social themes; the role of
the gods in Classical Greek perceptions; the role of
geography and
environment in helping to form these ideas; and some of
their modern equivalents

an open book essay relating the themes of the Odyssey to the


modern world
challenges on the personal and societal level.
Criteria:
Achieved:

Identified how The Odyssey depicts human behaviour,


including their
relation to the gods.

Placed The Odyssey within the Western mythological and


religious
tradition.

Identified how Classical Greek conceptions of mythology were


influenced
by geography and the environment.

Recognised Classical Greek social themes in The Odyssey,


and identified
how these themes are seen in modern life and in
their own personal life
journeys.
Merit:

Identified how The Odyssey depicts human behaviour,


including their
relation to the gods using contrasting examples.

Placed The Odyssey within the Western mythological and


religious
tradition identifying common key themes.

Identified how Classical Greek conceptions of mythology were


influenced
by geography and the environment, using specific
contrasting examples
from The Odyssey.

Recognised Classical Greek archetypal motifs and social


themes in The
Odyssey, and describedihow they are
present in modern life and in their
own personal life journeys.
Excellence:

Evaluates the way The Odyssey depicts human behaviour


the way it does,
including their relation to the gods using
contrasting examples.

Placed The Odyssey within the Western mythological and


religious
tradition identifying common key themes.

Evaluate the Classical Greek conceptions of mythology were


influenced by
geography and the environment, using specific
contrasting examples
fromThe Odyssey and a similar
works.

Identified and evaluated Classical Greek archetypal motifs and


social
themes in The Odyssey, and explains why they

are present in modern life,


how they can bee seen in their own
personal life journeys, and whether the
study has helped them put
their own challenges in a better perspective.

Vocabulary:
hero, heroism, deity, deities, family, geneaology, custom, etiquette,
archetype, choice, freedom, fate, odyssey, struggle, trial, myth, legend,
fable, leadership, strength, weakness, addiction, strategy, justice,
revenge, desire, fear

Literacy issues:
Reading and writing literacy varies within the target class, with two
students at Level 3-4 for reading and writing, and one student at probably
level 6-7 for reading but level 5 for writing. I will make sure that those
student thats require it are given a some extra help with reading and
writing where needed to ensure that there is progress, while not expecting
them to demonstrate anything more than small improvements above their
prior base-line in their written work.
The Unit gives a good opportunity to extend student awareness and use of
some relatively unused vocabulary, enabling them to put the ideas behind
these words in context, use them in context and discuss their underlying
and variable meanings. Most notable words would be: freedom, fate,
choice, justice archetype, etiquette, and custom.
Assessment in this unit will focus heavily on writing, including a formal
essay at the end. This is appropriate for the target students. But ample
room for other forms of presentation will be given, including flexible use of
visuals and/or diagrams in the journal, group presentations (which can be
dramatic, verbal and artistic.

Learning Outcomes/Actvities:
Comment: Individual lessons and activities have been formulated with
the express purpose to follow the Teaching as Inquiry process, which in
my mind - if done well - works from and involves all the elements of
effective pedagogy as defined on pp.34-35 of the NZ Curriculum. These
can viewed in, and carried out in, a cyclical process, perhaps in the
following order:

creating a supportive learning environment;


ensuring the relevance of learning;
tying learning in with past experience;
providing varying opportunities to learn.

facilitating shared learning;


encouraging student reflection;

Learning Outcome: To identify what students know about


Classical Greek mythology

Activity: brain storm student ideas about Greek Mythology

Activity: Jigsaw the greek gods, their attributes and


genealogy

Activity: compare with other gods and the pantheons of gods


in Maori,
Pacific, Asian or European mythology and culture

Homework Activity: find images of The Odyssey on line or


in books

Activity: Ask what figures in modern culture might have the


same attributes
of these gods and find visual comparisons
Learning Outcome: To identify what students know about The
Odyssey

Activity: brain storm student ideas about Epics in many


cultures

Homework Activity: find images of The Odyssey on line or


in books and
different edited versions (or graphic novels)of the
Odyssey

Activity: view short clips of video or movie versions the


Odyssey e.g.
Learning Outcome: To engage with the text of the Odyssey

Activity: read aloud sections as teacher

Activity: class-time and homework time to read chapters

Activity: select students to read sections aloud

Activity: write up a couple of chapter summaries with a focus


on themes

Activity: identify key events and themes in each chapter of


the Odyssey and
record in a journal.

Actvity: view Oh Brother, Where Art Thou modern version


of the
Odyssey by the Coen brothers.

Key Assessed Activity: Group work on presenting the


chapters to the class
through visual, verbal or dramatic
presentations.
Learning Outcome: To identify social themes in the Odyssey and
the Classical Greek world

Activity: brain storm social themes from the text and find
some modern
equivalents.

Learning Outcome: To identify the geography and environment of


the Odyssey and the Greek world

Activity: brain storm geographic features from the text


Activity: field trip to Wellingtons rocky southern coast

Learning Outcome: To identify modern equivalents to the themes


of the Odyssey

Activity: brain storm student ideas about modern equivalents

Activity: group work in chapter presentation groups on


modern equivalents
of the theme in the chapter.
Learning Outcome: To identify personal equivalents to the themes
of the Odyssey

Activity: Teacher presentation of one of his own personal


struggles/odysseys as a prompt for student reflection

Actvity: small group work on students sharing their personal


struggles/odysseys in their lives so far, or
examples of others

Activity: presentation, dramatic or otherwise of , the personal


struggles of
their own or others they know using images and
themes noted in The
Odyssey.
Learning Outcome: To practice writing an essay relating the
events and themes in the Odyssey to the modern world challenges
on the personal and societal level
Activity: in class time and homework - using personal journal
and the outcomes of the activities above engaging with the
text of the Odyssey - selecting key events in the text and the
themes they depict and exploring modern equivalents.
Activity: practice writing about these events, themes and
modern equivalents.