Classroom Transformation: 12 Labors of Hercules
Classroom Transformation: 12 Labors of Hercules 2.0!
2019 was my third year transforming a space into Mount Olympus and assigning the 12 Labors of Hercules to my students. From my first classroom transformation, I knew which stations I wanted to leave unchanged and which stations could be improved.
Labors I left the same:
The Nemean Lion
Cattle of Geryon
Golden Apples of Hesperides
These labors received both my stamp of approval and my students’. They are colorful, engaging, and timed perfectly to allow flow throughout the stations.
That leaves four labors which required improvement.
Horses of Diomedes
Belt of Hippolyte
When it comes to designing labors for this particular classroom transformation, I put a few limitations on myself. I know I want each labor to be completed within 3-4 minutes, and a friendly balance of fun-to-grammar ratio.
The boar labor was easy, because cloze readings are awesome, I rarely do them in class (so they don’t seem mundane), and they can be used to reinforce noun, endings, verb endings, parts of speech, etc.
The stables labor is one I might continue to improve. This year we re-used a word scramble, but decorated the labor so that the students were cleaning stables (see pictures below).
For the belt of Hippolyte, we made an easy decision to invest in a plastic WWE belt (why do these run for $15+??) and decorated it with familiar scenes to have the students practice composing familiar Latin sentences.
At this point, our ratio of Physical Labors to Latin Labors is about 3 to 8 and so we decided to make the Horses of Diomedes Labor into a bowling challenge. If they could bowl a strike while wearing a horse head (harder than it looks due to lack of visibility), they became man-eating horses and received a cookie with the face of a man (of the Keebler elf variety).
Ultimately, this Mount Olympus Day classroom transformation will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first classroom transformation I ever tried. It taught me that putting in dozens of hours for something my students will enjoy does not drain my energy, but gives me more energy! It’s unique among my classroom transformations because it is the only one that does not take place inside my classroom, and it demonstrates how refreshing it can be to step into a complete different (and larger!) decorated space. As my third year, this also became the quickest setup for this particular classroom transformation, and the tarps went up before 3pm on a Friday afternoon. At the end of each year, I ask my students to reflect on their favorite days of class and what they would like more of next year, and this always ranks at the top of their list!
If you’d like a pre-made set of labors, I’ve bundled them here.