The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 5

Notes and Lesson Plans

Ancient Mythology: Greece
updated December 2, 2021

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your fifth grade year. Enjoy!

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Ancient Mythology: Greece
for Class 5

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Ancient Greece.

FREE eBooks at the Online Waldorf Library
Excellent resource! Published Waldorf curriculum books provided here in PDF format for you to download, keep, and read... for free!

Sample Lessons and Free Curriculum

Other Helpful Links

Books to Consider

Dorothy Harrer's Chapters from Ancient History is now available online for FREE at the Online Waldorf Library, so that makes it a budget-friendly option (and, happily, her volume includes Ancient Greek History for grade 6 as well as the Mythology for grade 5).

The D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths is a classic and most likely available at your public library.

I, however, didn't want to go as deeply as the D'Aulaire's book does because we were doing this in the shortened month of November, and then choosing our favorite myth to be the subject of our class play in December. That book is long enough for two blocks on Greek Mythology! We did that for Norse myths but we just didn't have time for that in grade 5.

So I chose instead the lovely Famous Myths of the Golden Age retold by Beatrice Alexander (1947).

Resources for Greek Mythology

D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
retold by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

    In Olden Times
    Gaea, Mother Earth
    The Titans
    Zeus and His Family
    Persephone and Demeter
    Minor Gods, Nymphs, Satyrs, and Centaurs
    Helios and PhaŽthon
    The Wild and Vulgar Centaurs
    The Nine Muses
    Mortal Descendents of Zeus
    Europa and Cadmus
    Tantalus and Pelops
    DanaŁs, Perseus, and the Gorgon
    Clever and Vainglorious Kings
    King Midas
    The Golden Fleece
    The Calydonian Boar Hunt
    The Apples of Love and the Apple of Discord
    Everything Must Come to an End

Famous Myths of the Golden Age
retold by Beatrice Alexander (1947)
short & sweet! our primary text for this block in November

    The Flame-Giver

    Pandora's Box

    The Gorgon's Head

    The Story of King Midas

    The Sun-God and the Mortal

    How Phaeton Drove the Horses of the Sun

    The Golden Fleece

    Cupid and Psyche

    The Labors of Hercules

    The Six Pomegranate Seeds

    The Wanderings of Ulysses

Pandora's Box
composed by Satoshi Yagisawa

Pandora's Box retold by Lisl Weil
beautiful! love this retelling

Pandora's Box (English & Arabic edition)

retold by Henriette Barkow


retold by Sally Pomme Clayton

The Odyssey for Boys and Girls (PDF)
retold by A.J. Church (1936)
our classroom read aloud after this block

    chapter 1 - The Cyclops

    chapter 2 - Of the Home of the Winds and of Circe

    chapter 3 - Of the Sirens and Other Wonders

    chapter 4 - Of What Happened in Ithaca

    chapter 5 - How Telemachus Went to Look for His Father

    chapter 6 - How Telemachus Saw Nestor

    chapter 7 - How Telemachus Came to Sparta

    chapter 8 - Menelaus's Story

    chapter 9 - How Ulysses Came to the Phaeacians

    chapter 10 - Nausicaa

    chapter 11 - Alcinous

    chapter 12 - Ulysses Among the Phaeacians

    chapter 13 - Ithaca

    chapter 14 - Eumaeus

    chapter 15 - Ulysses and His Son

    chapter 16 - Of the Dog Argus and Other Things

    chapter 17 - Of the Beggar Irus and Other Things

    chapter 18 - How Ulysses Was Made Known

    chapter 19 - The Trial of the Bow

    chapter 20 - The Slaying of the Suitors

    chapter 21 - At Last

    chapter 22 - Of Laertes

    chapter 23 - How There Was Peace Between Ulysses and His People

Resources for Greek History

It is almost impossible to separate out Greek Mythology from Greek History, but the idea is that the mythology is most suitable for 5th graders and the history is most suitable for 6th graders. Just in case you are combining them, especially so that you can cover other parts of the world in middle school and balance out the potentially Euro-centric curriculum, here are some resources for How They Lived (another option, of course, is a combined Greek & Roman History block in 6th grade).

What Life Was Like at the Dawn of Democracy: Classical Athens 525-322 BCE

by Time-Life Books

Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates

by M.D. Usher

Chapters from Ancient History by Dorothy Harrer

    The Greek Gods and the Beginning of All Things
    King Minos of Crete
    The Aegean Heroes
    Heinrich Schliemann
    The Twelve Labors of Heracles
    Olympic Games
    The Delphic Oracle
    The Hand of Greece
    Lycurgus of Sparta
    Education in Sparta
    Earliest Athens
    Solon of Athens
    The Tyrant, Pisistratus
    Education in Athens
    Priests of the Beautiful
    East and West
    The Birth of Philosophy
    After Pericles
    Philip of Macedon
    Alexander the Great

A Child's History of the World by V.M. Hillyer (1951)

    chapter 11 - Fairy-Tale Gods

    chapter 12 - A Fairy-Tale War

    chapter 14 - Hard as Nails

    chapter 15 - The Crown of Leaves

    chapter 21 - Rich Man, Poor Man

    chapter 23 - Greece vs. Persia

    chapter 24 - Fighting Mad

    chapter 25 - One Against a Thousand

    chapter 26 - The Golden Age

    chapter 27 - When Greek Meets Greek

    chapter 28 - Wise Men and Otherwise

    chapter 29 - A Boy King

My notes from teaching this during the 2021-2022 school year:

We would check versions of the myths from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths as part of the recall/summarize step, simply out of curiosity to compare them, but you could easily skip this.

Wednesday, Nov 3

Monday, Nov 8

    recall story of Prometheus, add to MLB

    read "Prometheus" from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, p.72

    read chapter 2, "Pandora's Box" from Famous Myths of the Golden Age

    begin to brainstorm ideas for the Class Play ("Three Vignettes from Greek Mythology") which will include Echo & Narcissus, Pandora's Box, and The Six Pomegranate Seeds

Tuesday, Nov 9

Wednesday, Nov 10

Thursday, Nov 11

    recall story of Midas, add to MLB

Monday, Nov 15

Tuesday, Nov 16

Wednesday, Nov 17

Thursday, Nov 18

    recall story of Jason, add to MLB

Monday, Nov 29

Tuesday, Nov 30

Wednesday, Dec 1

    recall story of Hercules, add to MLB

    read "Heracles" from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, p.132

    read chapter 10, "The Six Pomegranate Seeds" from Famous Myths of the Golden Age

    cut apart and taste whole pomegranate

    homeschool co-op play planning meeting - make initial decisions about

      three vignettes - Echo and Narcissus, Pandora's Box, The Six Pomegranate Seeds

      co-directors - which of the three older students will "adopt" and help with planning each vignette

      programs - paper programs will be handed out at the reception so as not to spoil any surprises, the parents of the three older students will each receive a sealed envelope when they are seated, when it is time for each vignette to begin the family of the child who helped co-direct it will open the envelope and look at the enclosed needle felted tapestry and guess what the myth will be


      cast - which child will play each character


        Echo (voice)





        Hope (voice)







      set pieces - blue table in front of the office supply closet will be used in all three stories, first with a mirror on it as Narcissus stares at his reflection in the lake, then covered with a brown cloth to be the table on which Pandora sets her box, then covered with a black cloth to be the dining room table in Hades' palace in the Underworld where he tries to tempt Persephone to eat

      stage - how we will organize the space, library as main performance space with audience seating along N wall, W wall as Mount Olympus, S wall as Earth (Echo will be out of sight and up the steps), E wall as the Underworld (where the narrator will sit until it is revealed she has been Hades the whole time!)

      backdrops - we use inexpensive garment racks and paint cotton sheets and drape them over the racks for scenery, three panels of black cloth for the Underworld, one panel with grass and sky painted for Earth (also, an assortment of potted plants in front of library window to be the area of growing things which Demeter tends when her back is to Persephone and she is taken), two panels with Mount Olympus painted on them (in front of this will be a large chair with arms to be the throne for Zeus with great heaps of wool around his throne to be the clouds)

      keyboard for musical accompaniment will stand behind panels for Mt. Olympus (beautiful music as Pandora is being created, suspenseful/discordant music as she opens the box and all of the evils of the world fly out)

      other areas - laundry room as off stage area / dressing room, art room as reception area with paper programs and an assortment of Ancient Greek foods (student who is doing the "Foods of the World" project will present these)

      decide jobs besides co-director - Reception Hostess, Costume & Prop Manager, Musical Accompaniment

      props - what props we will need (mirror, Pandora's box, beautiful marble to be Hope, flowers for Persephone to gather, plate and silverware and golden goblet)

      prop storage - mirror will stay on blue table and be covered by successive layers of cloth, Pandora's box will under Zeus's throne, flowers and place setting for the final vignette will be under the blue table (when the table is carried from Earth to the Underworld during the scene change we will bring them out from under the table)

Thursday, Dec 2

    recall story of Persephone, add to MLB

    read "Echo" from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, p.92

    read additional picture book versions of the story you are co-directing (Pandora's Box, The Six Pomegranate Seeds)

    class play planning - look at inside of book jacket "how the illustrations were created" for The Secret Subway, use our books of Greek Myths to research costumes for the vignette you are co-directing, think about color swatches, consider whether you want to use masks

    daffodil mask hidden under blue table and Narcissus can just reach down and put it on

    narcissus plants on reception table?

    draft plan for costumes -

      Narcissus - clothing in fresh green, yellow mask with orange felt petals

      Zeus - clothing in grey, cardboard lightning bolt

      Pandora - clothing in pink, barrette in hair

      Hermes - clothing in blue, golden winged sandals, staff

      Demeter - reversible cloak (blue with green flowers on one side, grey on the other), clothing in dark geen or brown

      Persephone - clothing in white, gold headband, necklace of flowers

      Hades - clothing in black, black cape with hood, put hood up when changing from narrator to Hades

    read chapter 12, "A Fairy-Tale War" from A Child's History of the World

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