Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ancient Greece: Favorite Reads

In our study of Ancient Greece, we spent most of our time reading the following books then doing an activity to reinforce the lesson: book report, narration page, a coloring page, mind map of what we learned, etc.

The research guide from Mary Pope Osborne and Natalia Pope Boyce was our spine for the study. I liked how they divided up the information, so it was a perfect point of departure for the day's learning. For example, we would read about Greek clothing, then dig into our DK Eyewitness book or other resource book to learn more about the day's theme.

I also wrote a very short reading comprehension quiz for the book. If you'd like it, drop me a line. I'll email it to you. It's just a simple Word document.

This book filled in the day's theme for us. It's visually appealing and informative. We'd also use it for short reports. For example, I'd ask Essie to write three or four sentences about a topic. She would dig in and practice her copy work. (Be sure to differentiate copy work versus reporting.)

This book made me the coolest teacher in school. Also divided into themes, the book offered crafts to accompany the day's learning.

Tip: Do the craft yourself first, maybe a day or two before you plan to work on it with your students. Sometimes, a few "easy" ones are not. And it's good to know beforehand what you're going to get yourself into.

This book is a simple read, but it goes along with the above-mentioned research guide. You can skip it for older student and just use the research guide.

informative and engaging overview of daily life in Ancient Greece

There's so much to discuss in this treasure of a book. We skipped around in it to stories that were meatier and provided good thoughts to digest. My children really liked the stories, were puzzled by a few, and then laughed aloud with others.

Younger students can color pictures of what struck them about the story. Older ones can rewrite the story they heard in their own words. More adventurous writers can write their own story.

We also found this place to
download Aesop's fables audio recordings for free.

We picked up various versions of The Odyssey, but some of it was just too gruesome for my little ones. We eventually stumbled across this series by Mary Pope Osborne about the Odyssey. (And, no, she did not pay me for all the advertising for her in this blog post. It just seems so.)

My children absolutely loved it.

I'll post the series here for you ..

the last book in the series

This was another informative resource for us and narration pages, etc.

This picture book is absolutely gorgeous, with its vivid golds and reds. My children must have had read this countless times. The story is pure gold. For fun, your older child/reader can also read
The Chocolate Touch, which is a modernized version of it with a kid and chocolate.

This is a child-friendly adaption of Greek myths, without destroying the actual story. I've found that many Greek mythology books right now seem to ruin the original story. The writers modernize the tales by adding today's mores and sensibilities to the stories. In this book, Mary Pope Osborne does not do that. It's an awesome read.

We love Sam, Fred and Joe. If my children could choose someone to adopt them, it would be Jon Sciekszka. This is a fun read with history sprinkled throughout it. There's also an animated version of it, too.

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