Catching lightning in the classroom

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By Amy Wallot
amy.wallot@education.ky.gov

Wearing a crown and carrying a staff, both made of black construction paper, 4th-grade student James Smith brought Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, to life for his classmates.

The skit was part of a presentation in Lauren Coomes’ 4th-grade class at Estes Elementary School (Owensboro Independent). Her students were reading The Lightning Thief, the first novel in the popular Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, out loud in class together.

Coomes said the students were struggling with some of the terms mentioned in the book, like Achilles heel. And they didn’t have a lot of knowledge about the gods and goddesses mentioned in the book.

To fill in the knowledge gap, Coomes had her students work in groups of 2-3 and research a Greek god or goddess. They then had to give a short presentation to the class and were encouraged to include illustrations, costumes and skits.

“It’s been a fun thing, but it has also helped them out in understanding the references in The Lightning Thief,” she said.

Fourth-grade student James Smith played the role of Zeus during a presentation to his class during Lauren Coomes' class at Estes Elementary School (Owensboro Independent).  Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Fourth-grade student James Smith played the role of Zeus during a presentation to his class during Lauren Coomes’ class at Estes Elementary School (Owensboro Independent).
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Madison Veach, Kate Maine and Kiara Harris laugh during a presentation about Zeus.  Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Madison Veach, Kate Maine and Kiara Harris laugh during a presentation about Zeus.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Maddy Slaton and Marissa Sowders present on the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Athena.  Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Maddy Slaton and Marissa Sowders present on the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Athena.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Tobias Johnson laughs as his partner Trent Bryan displays the Poseidon mask they made for their presentation. Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Tobias Johnson laughs as his partner Trent Bryan displays the Poseidon mask they made for their presentation.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Students volunteer to go next during presentations on Greek mythology. Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Students volunteer to go next during presentations on Greek mythology.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Destiny Winstead and Abigail Wathen review their notes during their presentation on Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Destiny Winstead and Abigail Wathen review their notes during their presentation on Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Aiden McLaughlin, Andreanna Long and Kate Maine present on Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and forest.  Their teacher Lauren Coomes, right, encouraged costumes, drawings and skits. Aiden wore a crown to represent Zeus, Artemis' father. Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015
Aiden McLaughlin, Andreanna Long and Kate Maine present on Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and forest. Their teacher Lauren Coomes, right, encouraged costumes, drawings and skits. Aiden wore a crown to represent Zeus, Artemis’ father.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2015

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