- Sponsorship -

Myths and fables, modernized in skits, videos and puppets

When tasked with creating his own modern-day take on god and goddess myths, Mason Clark came up with Electro, god of electricity. Electro is famous for saving a town from a giant, Mason explained, and his power is “shooting electricity out of his hands.”

Classmate Vivian LaMange has a pet vizsla at home she is rather fond of, so her 21st century woman to worship is Valda, goddess of the gentle, yet energetic Hungarian dog breed.

Teacher Larry Frazier clearly enjoys his students’ creativity

All of Larry Frazier’s sixth-grade social studies students got to conceive of their own gods and goddesses during a recent four-week unit on ancient Greece. They also studied  myths and fables — which they acted out via group puppet shows, videos and live skits — and made flip-books for various gods/goddesses from the cultures of Greece and Rome, Egypt and the Norse.

Puppet shows and skits came with timeless morals, such as “A small gain is better than a large promise,” “If you seek to do harm, harm will come to you,” and “Appearances can be deceiving.”

“They have come up with amazingly creative myths over the years, and I’ve seen some tremendous artists really enjoy the chance to use their talents in a new avenue of expression,” Frazier said.

Ronen Dujovny with the puppet for his group’s skit

Enduring Themes

Frazier, who is in his his 42nd and final year of teaching, said he has done the unit “for many years, but can’t put a number on it.”

“I’m always surprised how reflective the students’ work is of our modern culture, just as this material reflected the ancient cultures,” he said. “The students deal with the expected technology, games and modern products, but many of them also deal with social issues such as divorce, families, heroes and good deeds, among others.”

He said students also see connections to the past in ways they hadn’t previously thought about, by recognizing enduring themes in product advertisements, the solar system, words in our language (“cereal” comes from Ceres, the goddess of agriculture), fantasy literature, movies and games.

Frazier said uses an interdisciplinary approach to social studies whenever possible.

“This format touches on so many more skills than traditional lessons would: skills such as writing, research, use of technology, visual artistry and creativity, public speaking and group work. It really enhances student interest and has, I feel, a very positive impact on their learning.”

Extra Credit Myth: The god of Google Fights Fake News by Sawyer Bouwkamp 

- Sponsorship -
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Short stories, tall tales

A collection of short stories by Mark Pullen’s fourth-graders at Lakeside Elementary shows what they have learned in their realistic fiction writing unit...

Bringing ‘positive intent’ to work every day

Heather McKinney-Rewa is the new East Grand Rapids Middle School assistant principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet the Principal...

Fifth-graders find beauty in science by dissecting marigolds

One teacher used readily available nature just outside school to introduce this year’s science unit, as well as flowers from home to study the parts of plants...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU