Sunday, February 15, 2015

Covering Subjects in a Non-Traditional Way (Part the Third): Percy Jackson Read Aloud

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.

When I talk about teaching subjects in non-traditional ways, what I mean is that most of our curriculum is talking.

A recent example is the read-aloud Ramona and I just finished, Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief. 

Topics discussed (if you haven't read the book, skip this post to avoid spoilers!)

  • Greek mythology, obviously, and we'll delve further into this 
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Talents that don't translate to a classroom setting
  • Greek currency
  • Dreams and their meaning
  • St. Louis arch
  • Sisyphean tasks
  • Why Riordan chose Los Angeles as the entrance to the Underworld (side discussion: Stephen King/Las Vegas as headquarters for the demonic Walking Man)
  • Ethical situations/choices: Percy's mom, Sally (staying in an abusive relationship in order to protect Percy?!), Sally's decision to use a weapon (of sorts) on her husband, Gabe
  • Comparisons: afterlife/Underworld vs. our beliefs in heaven, hell, purgatory
  • Vocabulary: I point out new words, show Ramona the visual on spelling, etc., stop to define a word, if necessary 

That's a quick summary of the practical application. All of the above can be categorized under various subjects, from history and social studies, to literature and language arts, to faith. Reading aloud -- and talking, talking, talking! -- teaches so much. And inspires great jokes:

Near the end of the book (again, avert your eyes if you haven't read it and don't want spoilers!), Percy has to make an end-of-summer decision. Should he stay at Camp Half Blood all year and continue learning to fight monsters? Or should he go back to New York City for 7th grade?

Ramona's response: "Maybe 7th grade is the monster."

More fodder for discussion!


Faith said...

This inspires me to write a comparable post but base it off how much my boys learned from video games. Thanks for writing this series, Karen. Very helpful!

Karen Edmisten said...

Faith, I would love to read that. Please do write it! My girls haven't ever been very into video games, but recently, two of them discovered Minecraft, and I love the creativity of it!

Amy said...

This is so much like our house. Maybe not as much this year, for whatever reason. Different dynamics, the kids are more eager to just finish and run off...(and play minecraft, LOL)

Karen Edmisten said...

Ah, Minecraft! Stuff to be learned from that, too! Ramona is newly initiated, only since about last November. I love the creativity of it!

Karen Edmisten said...

Oops, I realize I just said that to Faith. :)