Salisbury Academy students learn about Ancient Greece during festival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SALISBURY – Cheers of a crowd with Olympic-style enthusiasm, smells of Tzatziki sauce, waving of torches and javelin throwing filled Salisbury Academy during the school’s Ancient Greece Festival.
“It’s a real life application of a trip back into history,” said second grade teacher Mary Lou Williams.
After three weeks of integrated study, students, clad in togas and tunics, participated in a festival that included presentations, activities, authentic Greek food and a mini-Olympic games.
The school provides such experiential learning opportunities as part of the Core Knowledge curriculum, which is based in the philosophy that skills should be taught through the systematic framework of solid, academic content. As part of this philosophy, students learn a broad base of knowledge filled with rich vocabulary needed for reading achievement and hands-on learning opportunities.
Second-grade students learned about ancient Greece through math and reading lessons, as well as lessons in art and physical education. Assistant Teacher Jessica Goodman incorporated the classroom’s SMART Board and utilized the computer lab to teach lessons such as map skills, study Alexander the Great and explore pictures of gods and goddesses.
Williams noted that by incorporating lessons of ancient Greece across the curriculum, students learn to apply knowledge instead of memorizing it.
Students in the sixth grade also studied ancient Greece in their Social Studies and Language Arts classes. They studied the Iliad and Odyssey and the history of Ancient Greece.
They also presented projects on Greek gods and goddesses, as well as, historical figures to the second grade. In Art class students made Greek pottery. “The whole idea is to approach the material from several different angles so it really resonates with the students,” said sixth grade language arts and history teacher Pat Foley.
“One of the many things we do well here is pair different grade levels together,” said Williams. She noted how much her class learned from the sixth grade students presenting their projects about Greek leaders and culture.
Students enjoyed pita bread and Tzatzkiki sauce, hummus and Greek salad, provided by a parent. They participated in centers including word activities and craft projects. In the gym, physical education Teacher Tommy Wilson lead students in a mini-Olympic games including a foam javelin throw and chariot races on tricycles.
Goodman noted that as part of the Core Knowledge curriculum, students learn about ancient Greece in the second grade as a foundation for future lessons on the subject. “It is activating that prior knowledge to help them build on it for the future so that they may have a deeper understanding of what they learn.”