Lesson 1

Lesson 1: 15th May 2019, 12.30-1.15 (Y5 x 14)

Lesson Objectives

To contextualise Ancient Greece and its language 

To learn the letters mu, sigma and upsilon

1. Welcome, settle, introductions

I made sure the pupils were all in pairs for pair work, and groups for collaborative group work.

2. TASK: What do you know about Ancient Greece? [10]

DETAILS: To gauge the level of knowledge in an unfamiliar classroom, I split the class into table teams. After three minutes of talking time, someone from each team had to fill their team’s box on the whiteboard with as many facts about Ancient Greece as possible. As the facts were being written down, I read them out to the class, who then had a chance to comment and add further knowledge.

OUTCOME: As well as establishing collaborative working in new teams, I was able to discover that the students in general had a very good background knowledge. Facts written on the board spanned mythology, epic, philosophers and language.

REFLECTION: This worked well as an ice breaker, and got the pupils talking, writing and moving.

3. ACTIVITY: ‘curiosity time’ with new books [5]

DETAILS: The text books were given out (each pair sharing one book), and three minutes were given for the class to flick through the book, look at the layout and format. After spending this time ‘getting to know’ the book, I asked each table group to come up with one thing they’d noticed about the book.

OUTCOME: The pupils noticed that the alphabet was set out at the bottom of every page, that each chapter was colour coded, and that some words contained both Greek and Roman alphabet letters.

REFLECTION: The children engaged enthusiastically with the books, and could have been left even longer to pore through them. I was very happy that they’d picked up on some of the key navigational/structural elements of the book, as this will help them as they progress through the course.

4. ACTIVITY: Story read-through pp.3-5 [10]

DETAILS: I asked for volunteers to read (each took a paragraph). I gave them all some time to ready through the text in their heads, and gave them an opportunity to ask about any uncertain pronunciation. When we reached the Greek scroll on p.4, I read out the visible text (with dramatic emphasis!). The students then picked up the reading on p.5. I pointed out that by the end of the book, where the scroll appears in full, they’d be able to both read and understand the Greek. This seemed to cause excitement!

OUTCOME: Nearly all the students were keen to read, and had no issue with the pronunciation of ‘Taurica’ and ‘batrakhos’. They listened very intently when I read out the scroll, even though it made no sense to them. There was a great deal of ‘table talk’, already trying to decode the scroll from the incidental pictures. The students instantly understood the use of Greek and transliteration into familiar Roman characters introduced on p.5. One student spontaneously worked out that ‘mikro’ means ‘small’ and ‘mega’ means big. I pointed out that we’d be looking at English derivatives from these words very shortly.

REFLECTION: The students are engaging actively with the text. I think it was important that they heard the letter being read out as they could start to engage with Ancient Greek as a (once, at least!) living language. Hearing the letter also fed nicely into section 6 of the lesson.

5. ACTIVITY: Crack the alphabet code (mu, upsilon, sigma) – read through and practice writing on whiteboards [5]

DETAILS: After reading the Crack The Alphabet Code panel on p.5 to the class, they practiced writing the letters on whiteboards. I walked the room, making sure the students understood the difference between the upper case and the lower case, and between the usage of the two different sigmas. Once they were all comfortable, I pointed out that the students could now wrte their first Ancient Greek word. I gave them a countdown from ten to write the Greek word μυς on their boards, holding up when we got to zero.

OUTCOME: All students could write μυς (one pupil wrote it in capitals).

REFLECTION: It was good to use whiteboard and marker here, rather than pen and paper, as it allowed for corrections and rubbing out, as well as holding up.

6. ACTIVITY: Story read-through pp.6-7 [10]

DETAILS: I asked for volunteers (who hadn’t already read) to be the characters and a narrator, and we read through the story out loud. Students were asked to see if they could work out/find out what οιμοι means. Once we’d established what it meant, we all had a good go at saying it out loud (dramatically!).

OUTCOME: I had to step in at ‘oimoi’ (p.7) as this hadn’t been covered and wasn’t glossed, so the student hesitated before reading it out loud.

REFLECTION: The text should contain a transliteration of oimoi, or else the teacher needs to flag this word (but not necessarily its meaning) before embarking on the read-through. The pupils had no issue in finding the clue for oimoi, or for simply inferring it from the context.

7. PLENARY: Exit tickets

DETAILS: Each pupil had to complete an exit ticket asking for their response to the lesson and to recall one thing they’d learned.

download icon BB exit ticket

OUTCOME: All tickets were completed, with most chosing ‘oimoi!’ and some ‘mus’ for their recall task.

lesson 1

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