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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Gilgamesh, Here We Go!

 

I'll level with you:  I don't like the story of Gilgamesh.  I know, I know, it's history, and it's our first known fairy tale, and it covers this interesting tale of platonic friendship and the search for immortality.  But I don't like it.

 I'm just one of those peeps who likes my fairy tales to follow this established model:  a clearly outlined bad guy, a clearly outlined good guy and the bad guy "gets his" in the end with some clearly delineated justice.  No wonder I teach small children:  they love justice, too.  


I wasn't looking forward to Chapter 8 in Story of the World, which covers the Epic of Gilgamesh.  And so, my mind automatically went the way it usually does in this kind of situation.  I thought: "I'm probably not the only one out there who has trouble with coming up with extra stuff for this one!"  


So I decided to attempt to do something to make it more interesting for me.  Because the truth is that if you are interested in what you are teaching, you will inadvertently pass that love on to the kids you teach.  I decided it was time to draw and make something {AWESOME} to color.



So, this post is to introduce our latest History Activity, a mini Graphic Novel that distills the Epic of Gilgamesh for younger children.


With three illustrated comic book style pages and one extra page, this will supply a fun activity for you and your child to do together as an extra or supplemental activity.  The "graphic novel pages" cover an introduction to our main character, the tyrant Gilgamesh, and the gods' displeasure with him.  In retaliation to his cruelty to the weak, the gods make Enkidu, a wild man, to be the enemy of Gilgamesh.  The two end up fighting an epic battle and decide to be friends rather than enemies.  I was going to end our little graphic novel there.



But then, I got to thinking.  Some kids who are studying Gilgamesh may be ready for something a bit more challenging and fun.  So I drew one more page, that takes the Epic to its next chapter.  This page has text, and empty cells.

 For the artistic child, I decided to offer this additional activity where they can draw the images for the story themselves.  What fun, huh?  To practice being a comic book illustrator?  I would have loved that when I was in middle school.

But here is how we used this product in our classical homeschooling study:


 First, I stapled together all the printed out pages above, just like a comic book might be.  Next, we read Chapter 8, and when we got to the Story of Gilgamesh, I handed my son this mini comic so he would have pictures to look at during the story.


Next, we started coloring it, using our colored pencils.  I was allowed to color some, too, since there was a lot to color.  We also read through our comic book version of the story, which just slightly differs from the version in Story of the World.


I think the real victory of learning accomplished is witnessed from my son's question once he was done for the day:  "Mommy, can I put this in my bookshelf in my room?"

Absolutely, Kiddo.  Absolutely.



And that, my friends, is a successful study of Gilgamesh.  Here's the link to this super mini graphic novel in our store. 

Now for those of you who are teachers in a middle school set-up, how would you use this with older kids?  What are some great ideas for using the graphic novel in a Ancient Mesopotamia Unit Study?  Please share your ideas in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy one of our post from Ancient Egypt about How to Eat Like an Egyptian.


8 comments:

  1. What a great resource. Did you create the art yourself? Is this story part of the US curriculum? I am from New Zealand and have never heard of Gilgamesh!

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    1. Thanks for asking! Yes, I did do all the art for this graphic novel and felt so impowered by it that I'm in process on another! Here in the states, Gilgamesh is sometimes taught in an Early Mesapotamian Unit for World History. And many homeschool parents who teach their children a Classical History program (like Story of the World) run into this one too. :)

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  2. Fabulous! For older kids, I may have an extra page with the drawings and blank text boxes, so students can make inferences from the drawings and write in their own text. Or have a page where they write a sequel or turn the story into a poem.

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    1. What delightful ideas, Cheryl, thank you for sharing. I really am liking the idea of teaching inference from the drawings: that is fun stuff, right there.

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  3. What a fun way to take a less desirable topic and turn it into fun. Thank you for sharing.

    Cheers,
    DocRunning

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  4. What a great way to get kids into historical figures and stories! You should do an entire series!

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    1. Oooooo, great suggestion! As a matter of fact, I found a delightful tale from Ancient India that I am in the middle of converting to another (longer) graphic novel!

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