Sophomores begin presentations on ‘The Odyssey’ Students learn the importance of ancient literature

In the midst of making his presentation, sophomore Louis Fernandez types jubilantly to fill his screen with powerful words that display his feelings toward “The Odyssey” with his group. Through this project, students are supposed to gain a better understanding of ancient text compared to modern text.. “I never liked Greek mythology, but this story has been interesting,” sophomore Louis Fernandez said. “It’s very engaging and I always wonder what will happen next.” Photo Credit: Louis Fernandez

To give students an in-depth opportunity to learn the intricate themes and lessons from “The Odyssey, English 10 teacher Cathy Sabol’s class presented a project.

“A cool story is a cool story,” Sabol said. “There is just a lot to love about [‘The Odyssey’], and chronologically, as we study ancient literature, I wanted to start with something very old, and then move forward.”

The presentations started on October 1 and tested the effectiveness of online collaboration among students. The students presented by utilizing platforms such as Google Slides.

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“Because of shortened classes and less time together in the classroom, I needed a way for us to know the whole story of ‘The Odyssey’ instead of an excerpt,” Sabol  said. “I also wanted to see if we could work effectively in group projects and presentations in this online set-up. So I thought that this would be a good way to give everyone the full story of ‘The Odyssey’, and to practice collaboration without it being something that goes on for too long.”

The project required students to summarize their assigned part of “The Odyssey,” which ranged from the story of cannibalistic giants, to six-headed sea monsters, and to describe the reaction, choices, and effects it has on Odysseus, the main character of the poem. 

“I think we pulled off the presentation pretty well,” sophomore Amir Rostamzadeh said. “We’ve gotten most of the information we needed, and we’ve also summarized our points perfectly. Our presentation was a bit bland, but it’s just the awkwardness that comes with presenting online. I think these presentations help us to better memorize and understand the poem as a whole, instead of in bits. These presentations force you to summarize and make concise points because you’re limited in space, so I feel like that is what I learned from the project that would help me the most in English.”

After this unit, Sabol plans to introduce students to the theme of “good against evil” in ancient literature. 

“After ‘The Odyssey’, we go to ‘Oedipus’ which is also ancient Greek, but more so current ancient Greek,” Sabol  said. “The next semester, we will move even further into the present with Holocaust literature. We look at the theme of good versus evil. And then we end the year by going back in time to ‘Romeo and Juliet.’”

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