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Teaching Activities: Return From Troy, Episode 12

Starting points

  • The words of Tiresias: Think back. Is there something which Tiresias told Odysseus to do, but which he has not yet done? Can you remember what it is? (Travel to the mainland and head far inland to a place where people had never seen an oar.)

  • Weapons: They are important in this episode and will be used in two different ways. Use information books to find out about the kinds of weapons used in Greece at this time. Look at all the illustrations we have seen. Now can we picture the weapons in our mind’s eye, when we hear about them in the story?

  • Home: We have been sharing the journey of Odysseus to find his home. What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? In this episode we learn what the word ‘home’ really means to Odysseus. Listen hard to find out.

  • What will happen?: What do you hope will happen? How do you feel about the story coming to an end?


This episode

  • Key moments: This episode is the climax to the whole story. (Ask learners to think about key moments and explain how they reacted.) Was there a moment when you wanted to cheer? (When the arrow hit Antinous in the throat?) or thought ‘Oh no!’ (When Penelope said she could not sleep with Odysseus?), or wanted to cry? When were you puzzled? When worried things wouldn’t turn out? When surprised, bored, angry, feeling sorry for someone, wishing you were there, thinking it was just too gory?

  • The illustration Odysseus slaughters the suitors: How does this fit with the pictures in your head?

  • Quiz questions: You will need to add questions based on this episode.


  • How did you enjoy listening to a story being told? (Express views and evaluate how the storytelling was effective.) How does listening compare with reading? Did the two storytellers, Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton, tell stories in different ways? If so, how? We listened to a recording, so we could not see their faces. How did you imagine them? If we had them telling the story live before us, we could have seen their faces, their expressions, their gestures and they could have looked us in the eye. Sometimes the story was told in role, sometimes not. What was the effect of this? Listen to all or parts of the interview with the storytellers to hear their views.

Return from Troy: Recall, Reflect and Reminisce

  • Return from Troy Awards: Nominations in different categories: most exciting adventure; most scary beast; best minor role; place you would most like to visit; person you would most like to be; favourite picture etc. Give evidence to support nominations and have secret voting for the winner. Winning names in envelopes, of course. Acceptance speeches?

  • Blurb for a book: What would you write on the back cover to describe and encourage people to read the book of Return from Troy?

  • Picture gallery: Illustrate different stories and hang in a gallery. Beside each picture display the text section to match it or challenge them to work out what the illustration is about and where it belongs.

  • Episode titles, track titles, story summaries: Put them on cards and sequence them.

  • Book review: Write a review of the story for others your own age.

  • Character and place cards: Invent and play sorting and matching games in pairs or groups.

  • Quiz questions: Hold quizzes; use them in pairs or small groups and invent your own games and rules.

Further activities

Our own Odyssey storytelling competition: This activity results in organising a storytelling competition and telling the stories of The Odyssey in public to pass them on to others.

Give some background about Homer, his poems and the competitive recitals held in ancient Greece. Hold a story-telling competition for the learners to pass on the stories they have heard. Let the children decide for themselves what sort of competition they want. (Use talk to organise roles and action.) Will it be compulsory? Where and when will they hold it? Who will the audience be? What rules, time limits, judges, prizes? Consider whether storytellers should use written notes. Should they link the stories to the objects in the story chest? Finally everyone needs to draw up and agree a list of criteria for judging. (Prepare stories for performance identifying appropriate expression, tone and tell stories using voice effectively.)

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