Thursday, August 13, 2020

Carmel Academy fifth grader Atara Loewenberg gives her parents a thumbs-up when they answered a trivia question about Greek culture correctly during the grade’s Greek Symposium.(Credit: Carmel Academy)

Carmel Academy fifth graders Lily Braun and Alex Young work together to answer a question about Greek culture during a student-created trivia game.(Credit: Carmel Academy)


Wearing Greek togas and laurel head wreaths, Carmel Academy’s fifth graders took their parents back in time to Ancient Greece as they led an exciting Greek symposium.

The symposium was the culmination of the students’ integrated study of ancient Greek civilization—a time period considered to be the foundation of modern Western culture. Carmel’s students delved into topics such as architecture, geography, drama, myths, government and sports, and provided their parents an exciting window into their learning.

“Integrating the curriculum ensured that the lessons were not compartmentalized, but rather fully encompassed all aspects of the students’ learning to ensure that it came alive for them,” said fifth grade teacher Daneet Brill.

Prior to the symposium, students furthered their learning by incorporating research into their studies. In collaborative research groups they studied different aspects that defined ancient Greek civilization. Through their studies they created questions for an interactive trivia game show, which they played with their parents during the symposium. Hints to the trivia game’s answers were provided to the audience through entertaining rap songs and skits that the students created and videotaped.

“The students really created everything—from the questions for the game show to the musical raps, which gave them so much pride when they shared it with their parents,” said fifth grade teacher Toby Ring.

“It felt amazing teaching my parents something new,” said fifth grader Yishama Orlow.

On display were Greek myths that the students wrote and illustrated, and beautiful red clay amphoras (Greek vases) that the students created in art class.

“It was like being in Ancient Greece, but better because we were there with our family and friends,” said Carmel fifth grader Lily Braun.

Rounding out their learning, the students connected their studies about ancient Greek civilization to the story of Chanukah, and performed a beautiful rendition of Maoz Tzur, a traditional Chanukah song whose lyrics talk about the interaction between the Jews and Greeks.

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