Monday, September 24, 2012

Ancient Rome - The Story of Romulus and Remus

In order to introduce this story, there are a number of resources one can use.  We read a "cartoon" or "graphic novel" (well, - short story) version from the book, "Roman Myths" by David West and Ross Watton.  We also read the story version provided online to us by k12 (you must be enrolled with k12 to access this version), but there are other versions online.  A very short version is provided by Ancient Rome for Kids.  There is also a longer, more detailed version at Ready to Go Books with illustrations and of course a number of versions with a more medium length.  A few of these versions online are listed below.  Of course there are animated versions on Youtube.  We watched the one linked in this paragraph, but I have another, wordless version and a few others also linked below.  Whatever version you decide upon, take your time reading the story with young kids (for other topics and resources regarding Ancient Rome click here). 

Discuss as you go and ask them questions as well.  What do they think?  How should the boys decide what to call their city?  Can your kids think of any other stories where a child or children floated down a river because they were supposed to be killed, but survived?  Can they think of any other stories with which they are familiar where a character was raised by wild creatures?  What inspired each character to make their decisions as they did?  Should Faustulus have taken the children from the she wolf?  Should Romulus have been rewarded with the title of king and later made a god? . . .  If you need to be more formal in assessing understanding than a simple discussion, there are any number of options to assess your child's comprehension of the story. 

For Alice, we used her felt board and she retold the story moving her felt board pieces around.  She simply reused some of the Greek outfits I had made during our unit on Ancient Greece, the big bad wolf character for the she wolf, and various other items for her retelling.  You could have your child do basically the same thing with puppets or dolls,  him or herself and a few friends acting out the parts, or have your child simply retell the story in words, writing or pictures.

Multi-tasking your history and language arts objectives can be a great way to keep it a little more real for the kids.  Why not use this story to teach them the difference between real and unreal (Kindergarten), Legend and Myth (various grades), or even different classic archetypes of literature (Middle and High school).  Perhaps you'd like to use it to teach character, setting and/or plot.  Teach the kids the basics and then use the story as an assessment of their understanding.  Can they identify or pick apart the story in the appropriate way for your objectives and their age?


Written Versions:

Animated Versions:

NatGeo's Take on How Rome Began:

This movie mentions Romulus and Remus, but discusses the realities of what we know about how Rome really grew.  It is part of the "When Rome Ruled" Series and is a nice contrast to the myth if you are really doing a comprehensive study of Ancient Rome.

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