1. Nature of Mythology
Before I start reading myths with my students, I ask them: What are myths? Who wrote myths? Why were myths written? Why were they important? Who were the myths about?
I want to establish that myths were the result of beliefs. We may read them as stories, as literature, but that they were believed by the people who told them.
I want to establish the universality of myths, that many groups of ancient and not so ancient people had mythology. We don’t know all of them because they were not all written down and a lot were destroyed. These myths that we do know give us clues to ancient civilizations. We learn more about who they were and what they were like. The beliefs of these peoples were often reflected in their art, architecture and behavior.
Then the students would read the Mayan Myth,
. I would read the myth with the class until the destruction of the wooden men. I would discuss the actions of the gods. What are they looking for? What do they want from their creations? What do they expect from their people?
Next I would either tell or read to the students about the exploits and adventures of the Hero Twins and I would show the film of the Popol Vuh to the students.
I would finish with the creation of the corn people, the creation of the first women, and the rising of the Hero Twins as the first sun and moon. Discussion would also focus on the dissatisfaction of the gods. They were never satisfied. Why is that? What could this lead to?
Writing: Students could try a myth at this point. I would suggest a further adventure of the Hero Twins. Before they arose to the heavens, what else could they do? They could have an adventure on earth or in the underworld. I would encourage my student to illustrate their stories with pictures of what they thought the Hero Twins looked like.