A New York Odyssey!
To begin, go to Google Maps and map out the route between Troy, NY and Ithaca, NY. Examine the map for neighboring towns and cities where you—like Odysseus—might have gotten side-tracked on your way from Troy to Ithaca. Odysseus was waylaid by a storm sent by Zeus, and then had to take a long route home, having many adventures along the way. Because he was thrown off-course, he ended up in places such as The Island of the Lotus Eaters, Polyphemus’ island, facing the Laestregonians, being enticed by both Circe and Calypso, and other adventures.
Outlining the Project: each group must:
– Choose a group leader (an “Odysseus-figure”) who will be the only one to make it to Ithaca, NY. The entire journal will be told from the Odysseus-figure’s point of view, so remember that when you begin writing;
– Once you have your group leader, determine what kind of a group you are (rock band, dodge ball team, detective agency, etc);
– Work together to create a story of why your group is in Troy, New York and why you need to get to Ithaca, New York;
– Work together to determine why and how you must leave Troy;
– EACH INDIVIDUAL (including the Odysseus-figure) WILL THEN:
- Select ONE of Odysseus’ adventures to use as a model;
- Choose any New York State city or town;
- Re-write that adventure using the NYS city/town as the setting
– REMEMBER to speak with your other group members, especially those whose stories come before and immediately after the one you are writing—you must be sure to create a smooth transition from one place to the next
– ALSO REMEMBER to speak to one another about storyline continuity! A team member cannot die in Watertown, NY and then suddenly reappear in Dansville (unless, of course, Dansville represents The Land of the Dead…)
– The final episode takes place once the Odysseus-figure returns to Ithaca, so everyone works together to finalize the journal.
Putting it all together:
Create a journal or other some such creative representation of your journey from Troy to Ithaca, New York. Each member selects a town or city where the group may have been waylaid (REAL NY towns on the map) and each member will then mirror one of Odysseus’ adventures in The Odyssey taking place in that town. When you choose a town or city, you MUST do some research online about specific places IN that town where you may have ended up (stick to New York State only). Also, each adventure that you have in these towns must mirror adventures that Odysseus had on his own journey.
For example: We know that, after Zeus sent a storm, Odysseus ended up on the Island of the Lotus Eaters, and some of his men ate the lotus flowers and forgot all about home. They had to be rescued by crew members who had not eaten the flowers, and the moral of that story was “Don’t Do Drugs”. So, mirroring that story, let’s pretend that you were somehow thrown off course from Troy, NY (come up with some logical explanation how) and managed to end up on Lyell Avenue in Rochester, NY. Your task would be to create an incident on Lyell Ave. similar to that of Odysseus and his men with the Lotus Eaters. Perhaps you send a friend inside a convenient store to get directions, and your friend doesn’t come out after half an hour. You decide to go inside the store to find out what’s taking so long and you discover your friend hanging out in a corner of the store drinking Four Loko with a couple of guys. What do you do? (Get the idea?)
BE CREATIVE! All projects (including journals) must include pictures and maps as well as a fully descriptive tale of each place visited.
An EPIC Performance!! Each group will share an oral performance of their New York Odysseys! In the tradition of Homer, students will tell the tales of their group’s woes on the road, one at a time. The Odysseus-figure will introduce him/herself and his/her crew, and then describe what kind of a group they are, and explain what they are doing in Troy, NY. Group members will each pick up the telling of the tale as it is reflected in their group travel journal.
Samples from Student Journals
From Hades’ Ladies, the winners of a Battle of the Bands contest
A group of homeless Hobos makes its way from soup kitchen to soup kitchen in their attempt to reach their hometown of Ithaca
We had a couple of Detective Agencies…
A band of Groupies…
A troupe of Adrenaline Junkies…
and there were others as well!!