To introduce students to the concept of symbolism, as a class we reviewed the power point listed in the resources. We discussed the effectiveness of “light vs dark,” “fire vs ice,” “water vs desert,” and numerous other symbols. Students related these symbols to prior knowledge relating it to movies, video games, and other media with which they are familiar.
At this point, we had already read two of the myths that are listed on the worksheet - "Daedalus and Icarus" and "Phaethon". Students were also familiar with the two fairy tales - "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Cinderella". This provided a starting point for a class discussion about symbolism within these texts.
As a whole class, we began with "Daedalus and Icarus." The discuss focused upon the "wings" and what do we think of literally when speaking of "wings." As we progressed to the symbolism of wings in the myth, students had difficulty identifying the abstract idea of "freedom". They easily said that the wings allowed the characters to fly. It took some class discussion to develop from escaping the island to the concept of "freedom."
In their small groups, I asked them to analyze "Phaethon" and the meaning of "gold."
Finally, individually, students analyzed the fairy tales. After each step, we discussed text as a whole group.
The other two myths were saved until we read the myths in class within the next two weeks.