Spartan Twins - Lucy F. Perkins

Suggestions for Teachers

[Illustration] from Spartan Twins by Lucy F. Perkins

A study period for the working out of the pronunciation of the more difficult names and words will be the only preparation for reading The Spartan Twins needed by the average fifth grade class. The story can usually be read at sight in the sixth grade.

It will admirably supplement the study of Greek History in these grades. The essential thing is for the teacher to provide the proper background for the story. The value in the history of the Greeks lies in the lessons of bravery and of love of country that it brings us, and in the inspiration and beauty of the myths, dramas, poems, and orations, the statues and temples that survive to our time. The fundamental aim in its study in the fifth and sixth grades is not so much to store the child's mind with details as to make such impressions as will guide him to a later appreciation of why we remember the Greeks, and what we have learned from them.

In these days of a "new internationalism," the teacher's most immediate duty is to bring her pupils to a realization of what Americanism and democracy mean, and that each is a development from the past. To do this, she should explain that before there were immigrants, there were discoverers and colonists, from Spain, England, and France; and that these countries had their origin in colonies from Rome, herself a colony from Greece. The teacher should explain that the spirit in these ancient cities that inspired colonization, trade, and empire was the inherent and ineradicable desire of men, first, for the opportunity of ruling themselves, and then to establish bonds of union against foreign aggression. Children will then perceive that the ancient Greeks were men quite like ourselves; and that they began the ways of government which we have, and which our forefathers brought to America. So much for what we learned from the Greeks.

As to why we remember them, let the teacher recall the stories already familiar through supplementary reading in literature, the Golden Fleece, Hercules, the Siege of Troy, the Wanderings of Ulysses; let her point out Greek cities which still exist, Athens, Marseilles, Alexandria, Constantinople; let her tell the stories of Marathon, of Leonidas and Thermopylae, and of Salamis; let her show pictures of Athens, the most splendid city of ancient Greece, of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Venus of Milo, the Hermes of Praxiteles, the Discus Thrower, and so on.

This book affords opportunity to contrast the way in which children were brought up in Sparta with the way in which they were brought up in Athens. The ideals of these two city-states also may be contrasted. Although cities might have separate interests, it should be shown that throughout Greece there were interests in common, of which the people were reminded through the Olympic games.

The teacher is referred to the following volumes for further assistance in re-creating the atmosphere of ancient Greece:—

Tappan's The Story of the Greek People, Old World Hero Stories, and Our European Ancestors; Hawthorne's Wonder-Book and Tanglewood Tales; Peabody's Old Creek Folk Stories; Bryant's translation of the Odyssey and of the Iliad; Palmer's translation of the Odyssey; Hopkinson's Greek Leaders; Plutarch's Alexander the Great; Marden's Greece and the Aegean Islands; Hurll's Greek Sculpture and How to Show Pictures to Children; Masterpieces of Greek Literature.

Like all the other Volumes in the "Twins Series," The Spartan Twins furnishes ample subjects for dramatization. The unique illustrations should be of assistance, and other illustrations in most of the books referred to above also will help to show scenery, costumes, furniture, and utensils.

The story will suggest many topics for class discussion, and in addition such questions as the following will help the pupils to visualize the Greece of the past:—

1. Why would ancient Greece have been a pleasant country to live in?

2. How would it affect your home town if it were shut off from all others?

3. Judging from the Greek stories, what sort of men did they regard as heroes? What sort of men do we regard as heroes to-day?

4. In the stories of gods and heroes, are there scenes that would make good pictures?

5. Imagine you are Pericles, and make a speech telling the Athenians why they ought to beautify their city.

6. What could be done to beautify the place in which you live?

7. Which one of the Greeks or their heroes do you regard as the greatest man? Why?

8. What was good and what was not good in the training of the Spartan boys?

9. In what respects was the training of the Athenian boys better?

10. How do the ideas of one child become known to other children? How do the ideas of one country become known to other countries?

11. Had the Greeks good reasons for emigrating?

12. Imagine that you are an ancient Greek and tell why you became a colonist.