In a windowless classroom in Algiers, Gary Briggs Jr.’s sixth-grade students were reading a Greek myth out loud. Phaethon, trembling, stepped up to Apollo, the father he had never known, to ask if he could drive the sun.
“Louder,” Briggs said, pacing. “When you speak I want to hear your ‘Throw me somethin’, mister’ voice.”
The student got into it. “He began to think that his dreams might be very real,” she read.
“I loved this when I learned this in sixth grade,” Briggs said. The Greeks wanted their stories to last. “They’re doing pretty well because we’re reading them today in 2015.” The students expressed their enthusiasm with vigorous finger-snaps. Reading myths, you “see how another culture thinks,” he told them. “We are looking for attempts to explain the way things are in the world.”
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