Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Dear Mythology Kids,

HAPPY 4th TERM! Can you believe it? This is what you missed today in class! STOP MISSING CLASS!


Runes are the letters of the ancient Scandinavian people. According to myth, the Runes were created by Odin. In his quest to obtain more knowledge, he stabbed and then hanged himself from Yggdrasil. As he was hanging, and of course, bleeding to death, the weight of his body forced dead branches from Yggdrasil to land in Gunnungagap. The branches fell in unusual patterns, hence creating the Runes. Originally, eighteen Runes were created, but as the Scandinavian language changed, more letters were required.

Each Rune represents a letter, has a sound, name, and has magical powers associated with it. Odin touches each of the eighteen Runes, and therefore he is given knowledge that other characters in Norse Mythology do not have. For example, one of the Runes taught Odin how to return from the dead. Another teaches him how to woo women. One Rune gives him the power to read and write.....etc.

The Runes are placed around this rendering of Odin riding Sleipnir.

We covered an extensive amount of information today in class. We completed the back of your yellow sheet. YOU WILL HAVE A QUIZ ON FRIDAY covering our discussion today. If you complete your flashcards (28), you are welcome to use seven on your quiz. The following characters relate to your quiz:



Frigg (a)


























RUNES (and everything about them!)

1. I am Odin's "thought." _________________
2. I am Odin's "Memory." _________________
3. Mother to Balder; Friday; weaves the clouds ______________
4. Loves gold; hates war ____________________
5. Strong senses _________________
6. Trickster _______________
7. The end of the Norse World is called ______________
8. I have eight legs. _______________
9. Wednesday ______________
10. The "heaven" in the land of the gods is called ____________
11. Loki is our father 11.______________12.______________13.____________
14. I have a special hammer _______________
15. Apples are my favorite fruit. _________________
16. Collect the fallen warriors from battle ____________________ 
17. "Lord of the Gallows" ___________________
18. God of farmers __________________
19. One handed for sacrifice __________________
20.  Gods of War ____________________

I hope this helps!

1. Remember that the handout covering "your" particular god is due on WEDNESDAY. Please remember your "works cited" page!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Dear Mythology Kids,

STOP MISSING CLASS! If you are gone for legitimate reasons, as so many of you were today, then you still need to be prepared to submit your assignments (with coupon) upon your return. Many students missed class today, but they still managed to turn their work in prior to leaving.....ALL OF YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS!  DON'T ASSUME that because you are excused for class that your assignment(s) aren't due until you return. If you have PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of an assignment, then IT IS DUE on the ASSIGNED DUE DATE! FIGURE IT OUT, cute kids! YES, welcome to the world of "adulthood!"

What did I miss?
1. Journal #3 "Norse Review"
For those of you who missed class, you will need to attend Flex on Wednesday, at which time you can complete the journal. It involves looking at images via the projector; therefore, you must attend Flex to complete it.
2. Everyone submitted their annotations for the "Introductory" section in the text. We also discussed points of interest for those in attendance. Flashcards were checked off.
3. As a class, we read "The Creation" on page 3 of your text. If you were absent, please read this prior to returning on Tuesday.
4. We continued with our discussion of the Norse Cosmos. We returned to the storyboard and began completing information about Yggdrasil, the World Ash tree.

Yggdrasil is the "support system" for the Norse Cosmos. The tree has three primary roots, each root entering into a body of water, the water nourishes the tree and keeps it strong. The roots support three primary worlds; Asgard (world of the gods and elves), Midgard (world of humans, dwarfs, and giants), and finally Niflheim (world of the dead).  There is a section in your text called "Cosmology," which will enlighten you on the information we discussed today. Please read it or communicate with someone that was in class.

1. "Personalized Ithaca" due on Tuesday, the 19th. "What do you desire most?"
2. Quiz covering the introductory material discussed on Wednesday and today will take place on Thursday, the 21st.
3. Create flashcards for the characters, places, etc. discussed today.
Well of Urd
Well of Mimir
Well of Hvelgemir

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Dear Mythology Kids, 
STOP MISSING CLASS, and if you do miss class, then FIND OUT WHAT YOU MISSED. Focus on being PRO-ACTIVE!

This is what you missed today!

Norse Mythology are the stories of the Scandanavian people. The Norse were extremely skilled at sea faring; consequently, they were exposed to different cultures. The Norse came upon the Romans, who in turn, hired them as mercenaries. The Roman culture was extremely advanced; consequently, the Norseman adopted some of their belief system into their own culture. This is why when we start to read the myths you will note some strong similarities to Greek Mythology. Remember that the Romans stole their religion from the Greeks. Another important point that you need to know involves the conversion of the Romans to Christianity. The Norseman continued to be influenced by the Roman culture, and therefore they also adopted Christian influences into their mythology, as well.

Everyone of you should have a new textbook, and a "packet" of handouts that will be used during the next two weeks. Your homework assignments for FRIDAY. include the following:

1. Please read pages xiv-xx in the "Introduction" section of your book.
2. Create a list of 20 notations from the reading that you found interesting.
3. Don't forget that your "Monologue" and or "Date-line Troy" revisions is due on Friday.
4. Part 2 of "The Odyssey" exam is due on Friday.
5. Please make flashcards for the characters discussed today in class. 

Norse Mythology is difficult to fully explain in this forum, but I will do my best.......In the beginning, no formed matter exists. This enormous chasm of unorganized matter is called GUNNUNGAGAP! To the north of Gunnungagap is an immense area of frozen ice. This area is called NIFLHEIM.

To the south of Gunnungagap is an immense region of heat called MUSPELHEIM. Nothing exists but these two regions.
Suddenly these two regions begin to move closer together. The heat from Muspelheim causes the ice from Niflheim to melt and droplets of water land in Gunnungagap. Some how and I don't know exactly how this happens, and neither did the Nordic people, so you just have to accept it, two important beings are created at the same enormous man called Ymir, who is also called a "frost giant" and a cow whose name is Adumla. I know, it's a little unusual.

Ymir begins to suck on the teats of Audumla, so she is nourishing this evil frost giant, and then he begins to "give birth" to other frost giants. As he is sucking on the teats of the cow, Ymir begins to sweat and his sweat morphs into other giants. In the mean time, Audumla begins to lick some of the ice from Niflheim that did not melt when Muspelheim moved close to it. Every place her saliva touches a human form is created. You can see this depicted in the image above. The individual that is created from the saliva is known as BURI. He is entirely positive. He, in turn, gives birth to two individuals; their names are BOR and BESTLA. Bor is a male and Bestla is a famale. These two have three children whose names are Odin, Vili, and Ve. Odin becomes the king of the Norse Gods because he is recognized as the "first born."
Odin, Vili, and Ve recognize that Ymir is "birthing" evil frost giants, so they feel compelled to destory him. Upon his murder they take his body and use it to create the world of humans, giants, and dwarfs known as Midgard.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Dear Mythology Kids,

" Did I miss anything important?"
"No, we did nothing...nothing at all. In fact, we watched Hercules the entire period!"

If you missed class, visit with someone else prior to communicating with me, my young friends. If you know that you are going to miss class, then please communicate with me prior to your absence. 

1. Part 2 of "The Odyssey" exam was given to each student today. This is due on Friday. I have included it for you below. Please read your instructions, and then let me know if you have any questions. Cut and paste it as a word document, giving yourself ample room to record your answers.

The Odyssey Test
Part 2

Instructions: For each of the following excerpts from The Odyssey, please explain what is taking place.  In addition, identify a minimum of THREE LINES from each excerpt which prove your interpretation. In your explanation, make sure you fully explain the sections of text that you underlined. You may handwrite your responses to the right of each excerpt.

1. “…I thrust our stake in a bed of embers to make it red and hot and rallied all my comrades: “Courage—no panic, no one hand back now!”
….I dragged it from the flames, my men clustering around as some god breathed enormous courage into us. Hoisting high that olive stake with its stabbing pint straight into the monster eye they bore it hard.”

2. “Now with a sharp sword I sliced an ample wheel of wax into pieces, kneaded them in my strong hands and then five it to my comrades.
We were just off shore as far as a man’s shout will carry, scudding close, then I heard, “Come closer famous Odysseus-The Achean’s pride and glory-moor your sip-come closer! Never has a sailor passed our shores without becoming a wiser man!”
3. “The loyal shepherd led the way to the shelter, showed his guest inside and sat him down on a cot. Flinging over it the skin of a shaggy wild goat, broad and soft, the swine herd’s own good bedding. The king, delighted to be so well received, thanked the man at once:” My host-may Zeus and the offer gods five you your heart’s desire for the royal welcome you have shown me.”

 4. “A suitor would glance at his neighbor, jeering, taunting.
“Look at our connoisseur of bows!”
“Sly old fox—maybe he’s got bow’s like it, stored in his house.”

“Look how he twists and turns it in his hands!”
“The clever tramp means trouble.”
“I wish him luck in bending back that weapon!”
So they mocked!

5.”They rush and push me on, and I spin out my wiles. Athena inspired me to set up this loom in Odysseus’s royal hall. I shall lead them on”
“Young man, now that you believe Odysseus is no more go slowly, keen as you are to take his place, until I can complete Laertes web…so it won’t all fray and come to nothing.”

6. “You will find that the rocks lie lower, but they are so close together that there is not more than a bow—shot between them. A large fig tree full of leaf grows upon the rock, and under it the sucking whirlpool. Three times a day she vomits forth her waters, and three times a day she sucks them down again; see that your be not there when she is sucking, for if you are, Poseidon himself could not save you! Steer toward the other side, and drive by as fast as you can, for you had better lose six more than your whole crew.”
“Her sister is savage, extreme, rude cruel and invincible. There is no help for you and your men. Your best chance is to pass by her as quickly as you can, for if you linger about her rocks while you are putting on your armor, she will catch you with a cast of one of her heads, and snap up another five of your men.”

7. “He reached his dear dwelling, at last after twenty years. As he did, his old companion lifted his head and pricked his ears. The moment his master appeared he knew him, but he had no strength to drag himself even a little toward him. Odysseus knew him, and brushed away a tear. He dared not go to him for fear of arousing suspicion, and as he turned away that moment the old companion died.

2. Each student received his/her "Date-line Troy" or Monologue back from the peer evaluator. Please revise your assignment for FRIDAY.  

3. "Personal Odyssey" is due on TUESDAY, MARCH 19th. Please see the assignment explanation below. Stop by the room so you can see previous student's examples.

Ithaca:” Personalized
Due Date________________________

Introduction: The purpose of this assignment is to help you see yourself in the mirror that mythology hold up top each of us. Times have changed and so has the pace of your lives; yet, you are confronted with the same choices today as when Homer decided to put the story of the wanderings, tribulations, and homecoming of Odysseus into his own words. I expect you to identify with Odysseus by using his hero's journey as a paradigm for exploring the meaning of your own lives.

Catalyst: The following poem, Ithaca, by Constantine Cavafy is the catalyst for your assignment. Let me share it with you, prior to explaining your assignment more fully.

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

            This poem is about knowing oneself in victory and adversity, and recognizing that the moments of adversity are merely stepping stones to the final destination.....Ithaca. The wisdom you obtain with each step reveals the destination's true meaning.
           So, what does your assignment entail? I am asking you to write your own Ithaca; yes, a poem where you identify your Ithaca, along with the Poseidons that thwart your path, and the Athenas that help bring you home. I will give you a list of required elements. Let me share a previous example with you.
           The following example was written by Ryan Bailey, a former student, who graduated in 2000.

Nimble Fingers
By Ryan Bailey

I am Ryan of the nimble fingers.
Oh Muse, guide and inspire me
to invoke tears like Orpheus.
The ebony and ivory jewels
will inspire friends and foes alike.
This is my Ithaca, to amuse, mesmerize and
create melodious sounds with my nimble fingers.

Oh Muse, guide me through the
rough seas of  competition. I will place wax
in my ears, never to hear the Siren's song tempting me to doubt myself.  I hear them luring me. Their deadly sweet voices singing that I must give up, that I must jump to them, that my Ithaca is only a dream, never realized.   Their voices must be resisted, or the desire will perish within me.

Oh, Muse, grant me the power to avoid the temptation of the Lotus. It comes in the form of fleeting urges that give me dreams of euphoria; yet, when I awake from the television, video games, and films, I am reminded that so much time has been lost.
Avoidance of such temptation must occur, or Ithaca will never come to be.

Oh Muse, protect me from the angry Poseidon, who takes the form of my father. He rears his head in the form of disappointment.  I remind him, that he, too, once had a father who disapproved of his Ithaca, play professional tennis.  Athena comes to my aide in the form of my mother, who reminds me that my Ithaca is attainable! Listen, she says. Prepare, she reminds. Practice, she rehearses. Always followed with the welcoming arms of a loved one not seen in many years.

Oh, Muse, grant me the power to never allow discouragement to defeat my purpose. The voyage is long, full of obstacles, but I am Ryan, of the nimble fingers, assured, bold, aware, and ready
for the journey.
1. Your Ithaca must begin with an epithet.
What is an epithet, Crampton?
Ino, of the slim ankles is an epithet. Zeus, the Thunderer is an epithet. Poseidon, the Earthshaker is an epithet. Athena, of the gray eyes is an epithet. An epithet is a descriptive word or descriptive phrase.

Your epithet may pertain to an intrinsic characteristic or an extrinsic characteristic.

2. Your poem needs to be a minimum of four stanzas. More is acceptable.

3. Your must relate your own obstacles to TWO of those faced by Odysseus.

4. You must identify your Ithaca in the first stanza.

5. You must identify your Athenas (those that assist you in reaching your Ithaca.)

6. You must identify your Poseidons (those that attempt to thwart your goal.)

7. You must reference other Greek characters and connect them to your subject matter.

8. You must include at least one allusion within the poem. The allusion can relate to any aspect of your Ithaca. For example, Ryan Bailey uses the allusion, ebony and ivory jewels to indicate the piano keys. He also alludes to Penelope embracing Odysseus in association to the love received by his supportive mother.

9. Each of the above requirements must be indicated using BOLD TYPE in your poem

10. Give your piece an appropriate title based on content.

11. Your poem must be typed, 12-16 point font, submitted in a fashion that is aesthetically pleasing and illustrates your Ithaca. I will share some previous examples to assist you with this part of the assignment

Please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
May the power of Athena be with you!

NOTE: Homework Coupons are due on Tuesday, the 19th! If you have a any missing assignments, please decide which one will benefit you the most and then submit the coupon with the assignment on the 19th.