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Acting out Ancient Greece proves to be big fun

Sonora Elementary sixth-graders make their ancient civilization history lessons come alive.

April 23, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com
  • Andrew Vaca, 12, JJ Arce, 11, and Jesus Gomez, 12, all sixth-grade students from Sonora Elementary School celebrate the end of their Greek studies by acting out ancient Greek dramas at their school on Friday.
Andrew Vaca, 12, JJ Arce, 11, and Jesus Gomez, 12, all sixth-grade… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

COSTA MESA — Sixth-grade student Diana Goodling portrayed the story of one of the most hideous characters in Ancient Greek history in a way that was not only cute, but made the audience laugh.

The 11-year-old acted as the title character in a short play about Medusa, a Gorgon with snakes for hair and the ability to turn onlookers to stone, in a student-made production that mixed in lines that would have done "Clueless" proud.

"I'm so pretty that when you look at me you'll fall in love with me, like, for sure," Diana said, acting as Medusa.

At Sonora Elementary School on Friday afternoon, students in Debra Muniz's class put on several short plays they wrote, memorized and acted. They were based on the Greek myths they were assigned to, and were the culmination of their studies of Ancient Greece.

The activity allows the integration of the arts, literature and history into one activity — and the students seem to really love it, Muniz said.

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"I feel like bringing history alive to kids through hands-on activities is really important," she said.

The sixth-graders have been studying ancient civilizations dating from 10 B.C. to 1000 A.D., with an emphasis on the Ancient Greeks, who thrived because of democracy and their strong emphasis on literature and art, Muniz said.

The plays have really brought what they have been learning in class to life, Diana said, adding that Medusa was the character she was most fascinated by.

As her team's leader, it was also a chance for her to try her leadership skills for the first time, which was both challenging and fun, she said.

"I learned that if I want to become something of myself, I have to work hard and practice," she said.

Muniz said she rotates leaders to give all students a chance to be a positive role model and learn how to give clear directions. This in turn helps them take direction better and be positive sports, she said.

"I think this really helps establish what it takes to be a leader," Muniz said.

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