Sayings and Phrases
The sayings this month are When in Rome do as the Romans do and The show must go on. In the accompanying lessons, students are asked to find solutions to problems concerning social conventions and to suggest ways to guarantee that a performance will go on as scheduled. The lessons may be used at any time during the month and in any order.
Stories from Greek and Roman mythology are continued. The Aesop fable "Androcles and the Lion" and the story of Damon and Pythias are included. Background is provided for the Sword of Damocles and the story of Horatius at the bridge over the Tiber River.
Discussions are a part of each lesson and the story of Horatius is tied to the Art lesson on Trajan's Column. No particular order is required for the use of these stories and legends.
Third Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - The show must go on
Explain the meaning of the saying.
Brainstorm ways to avoid the problems that keep a show from going on.
Copy of the saying, The show must go on, on sentence strip or chart paper
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
An explanation of the saying and a scenario are included on page 64.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.
An explanation of the saying is included on page 4.
Write the following sentence on the board: "We saw a show on Saturday." Invite several students to read the sentence. Ask for volunteers to explain what the word "show means in this sentence. As students give their responses, web them on the board. Possible answers are: a movie, a play, a puppet show, the circus, a fashion show, an ice skating performance, a music performance, a dance performance, an opera, a television program, etc.
Ask students to explain why they think the word "show" is used to mean so many different events. (Answers will vary, but should include some reference to these events as performances that we see. Show comes from the English word showen which means "to look at.") Point out that when we are talking about the noun "show" we use the articles a or the before it (a show, the show).
Write the word "canceled" on the board and ask a student to read it. Ask for a volunteer to tell what it means (a planned event will not take place). Then ask students if they have ever heard of a show being canceled. Have them tell the kind of show and explain why it was canceled. Possible reasons are a performer became ill, the weather was too severe, not enough tickets were sold, etc.
Tell the students that there is a saying about shows taking place. Display the saying The show must go on. Point out that the word "must" indicates that the show is going to happen. Must doesn't mean maybe or perhaps, it means that it definitely will. Tell the students that we aren't exactly sure how this saying started. Some say that people who performed in stage shows in the 1920s and 1930s said this to mean that no matter what happened they would still perform. Other people say that it started with circus performers who said the show would go on even after an accident occurred with one of the acts (perhaps an animal act or an aerial act).
Ask students if they have ever heard the saying before and if so, when and where. Explain that sometimes people use this saying to mean that others are counting on them and in spite of any problems they won't disappoint these other people. Give your own scenarios as examples or tell the students the following:
"We'll have to start all over again," Robert complained, sadly shaking his head.
"Come on, let's get started, it won't take as long this time," Sandra said. "We promised we would do this and we can't let Mrs. Foster, the principal, down. The show must go on."
"Don't worry," Ms. Leonard told her. "We'll have everyone wear brightly
colored clothes. We can't give up. The show must go on."
Have students recall the kinds of shows mentioned at the beginning of the lesson (circus; theater; television; dance, ice skating or music performances, etc.). Ask the students to brainstorm all the reasons that a show could not go on and list these on the board. (Possible responses are listed below.)
A main actor or actress was ill
The weather was so bad that no one could get out to the performance
The musicians couldn't get to the show to play the music
The costumes were lost
Not enough tickets were sold for the performance
After there are several problems listed, challenge the students to come up with possible solutions. You may have them work as partners, or in groups, or you may wish to work with the entire class. Possible solutions to the problems are listed below. Be sure that students understand each one.
Each main actor and actress has an understudy
The performance is planned for a time of year when the weather is good
Tape recordings are made before the day of the show to be used just in case
The costumes are made or purchased well ahead of time and stored for the show
There is a lot of advertising done and tickets are sold well ahead of time
Third Grade - Literature - Sayings and Phrases - When in Rome do as the Romans do
Describe solutions for a number of scenarios.
Write versions of the saying, inserting the names of various cities,
states and countries.
Copy of the saying When in Rome do as the Romans do on sentence strip or chart paper
A copy of the worksheet "What Would YOU Do?" (attached) for each student or group of students or for transparency
Classroom-size world map
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1993.
An explanation of the saying and scenario are included on p. 86.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. An explanation can be found on page 5.
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995. The explanation used in this lesson
can be found on page 1149.
The opening activity using the worksheet "What Would YOU Do?" may be
done by individuals or in groups. You may also make a transparency of the
worksheet and present the situations one at a time.
Distribute (or display) the worksheet "What Would YOU Do?" (See Teacher Note) and allow a few minutes for students to work. After they have completed their discussions and decided on responses, take time to read each scenario and allow students to respond. Invite a volunteer to describe which response would be appropriate for all situations (watch the people around you and do what they do).
Invite students to share any other situations that would fit this response. Ask: Have you ever been in a situation where you watched the people around you in order to know what to do? (Students who have visited foreign countries or are recent immigrants to the U.S. may have experiences to share.)
Tell the students that there is a saying that fits the solution they suggested and display the saying When in Rome do as the Romans do. Ask students to think about how that saying might have originated and allow them to share their ideas. Congratulate thoughtful responses and explain that it is believed to have come from the response of St. Ambrose when he was asked about the difference in the rules for fasting in Milan and Rome. He said that when he was in Milan he would follow those rules, and when in Rome he would do as the people there do. Tell students that while the scenarios they considered really had to do with manners more than anything else, there are times when we follow the customs of a region as well. Provide examples of these customs, such as in parts of the Middle East, women are expected to keep their hair and faces covered and women visiting there cover their heads as well, or in certain segments of the Jewish religion, men wear yarmulkes (skullcaps) in synagogue and men of other faiths who visit also wear them as a sign of respect.
Remind the students that Rome is a city, then ask them to think about how the saying would be said if the city of Baltimore was substituted for Rome (When in Baltimore, do as the Baltimoreans do). Ask: How would the saying sound if were about our state? (When in Maryland, do as the Marylanders do) Tell the students that you are going to challenge them to restate the saying with some other cities, states and countries. (If possible, use this part of the lesson as a geography review as well by challenging students to tell whether a city, state or country is being used and then point out its location on the map.)
Write the name of each location on the board and ask students to tell
whether it is a city, state or country; point it out on the map and name
the people who live there as they restate the saying: "When in <location>
do as the <inhabitants> do."
Add other locations that your students will know.
End the lesson by asking someone to explain in his or her own words, what the saying When in Rome do as the Romans do, means.
Invite the students to consider this saying used to include places referenced in literature. Challenge them to come up with imaginary places and names of their inhabitants. For example: When in Oz do as the Ozians do
When in Wonderland do as the Wonderlanders do
When in Olympia do as the Olympians do
When in Asgard do as the Asgardians do
Ask students to think about how the saying would be used if there was life on the other planets in the Solar System.
When on Mercury do as the Mercutians do
When on Mars do as the Martians do
When on Venus do as the Venetians do
When on Jupiter do as the Jupiterians do
When on Saturn do as the Saturnians do
When on Uranus do as the Uranusians do
When on Neptune do as the Neptuners do
When on Pluto do as the Plutosians do
What Would YOU Do?
1.You go with a friend to a service at his church. You have never been
to this church before. How will you know when to stand and when to sit?
2. You have been invited to dinner at a fancy restaurant. When you look
at the way the table is set it seems that there are more pieces of silverware
than you have ever seen. How will you know which utensil to use and when
to use it?
3. You have been invited to the theater. The play is really good, but
you're not sure when to clap and when not to. What should you do?
4. You have been invited to a big family dinner at a friend's
house. The food that is served could be picked up and eaten using your
fingers or using a fork and knife. Your friend is seated at the other end
of the table so you can't ask her what to do. How will you know what to
Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome
You will note the absence of a selection of read aloud books for the Sword of Damocles and Horatius at the Bridge. Because of this, you will need to tell each of the associated stories to your students. Be sure to read the note linking artwork in the Horatius lesson, to the Art lesson (#26) on Trajan's Column.
The story of "Androcles and the Lion" may already be familiar to the
students as they have read other Aesop's fables in First Grade. The story
of Damon and Pythias is the final legend to which students are introduced
The Sword of Damocles (DAM-uh-kleez)
Explain the meaning of the saying "The Sword of Damocles."
Identify situations that present imminent danger.
Tell the students the following:
Greek legend says that Damocles frequently spoke to others about the luxuries and pleasantries that the ruler enjoyed. He felt that being the ruler must be very nice indeed. The king Dionysius (405-367 B.C.) heard of Damocles's comments and became angry. He gave a wonderful dinner and invited many people, including Damocles. At the feast Dionysius (di-uh-NISH-uhs) seated Damocles under a sword hanging by a single hair (thread). Damocles was horribly uncomfortable and could not eat because he was so afraid that the sword would fall.
Dionysius wanted to remind Damocles of the perils of a ruler's life--being king was an uncertain and insecure position.
Remind the students that at that time kings or rulers could be overthrown by others. Another kingdom or country might choose to attack, or the king's life could be taken by others in his country who wanted to be in charge.
After telling the story to the students, ask and discuss the following:
Did Damocles think that being the ruler was a stressful job? How do you know?
Why do you think Dionysius decided to "show" rather than just tell Damocles about his life as the ruler?
How did Damocles feel sitting under the sword? Do you think he felt differently about being the ruler after that day?
Write the words "The Sword of Damocles" on the board and tell
the students that today people understand "The Sword of Damocles" to mean
any imminent danger. Explain that a volcano in danger of erupting could
be described this way. Ask students to think of other examples (a shark
suddenly appearing near divers, a brush or forest fire impinging on a town
or city, an avalanche, days of rain about to produce flooding etc.) Discuss
how each one presents an immediate threat.
Third Grade - Literature - Stories - Myths of Ancient Greece and Rome
Damon and Pythias
Identify qualities of friendship.
Explain why the actions of Damon and Pythias were so impressive to others.
DeSpain, Pleasant. Thirty-three Multicultural Tales to Tell. Little Rock: August House, 1993.
San Souci, Robert. The Faithful Friend. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.
Set in the French West Indies, this story tells of the friendship of Clement and Hippolyte.
Begin the lesson by asking the students to brainstorm the qualities of friendship. Ask them to think about all the things friends do for one another (cheer up each other, help get chores done, help with homework, share belongings, defend, etc.). Discuss the value of each of the actions the students suggest, then tell them that they are about to hear about two friends named Damon (DA-muhn) and Pythias (PITH-ee-uhs). Tell the students to listen to discover how these men proved their friendship. Read or tell the story of Damon and Pythias.
Legend tells that Damon and Pythias were devoted friends. So great in fact was their friendship, that when Pythias was condemned to death and asked for time to put his affairs in order before his execution day, his friend Damon offered to wait in his place. Damon agreed that if Pythias didn't return he would be executed instead. The day of the execution arrived and Pythias had still not returned. Damon prepared to die but at the last moment Pythias returned. The allegiance and devotion of the two men so impressed others that Pythias was pardoned and both men were set free.
After reading or telling the legend, ask the students to describe the behaviors of the two men. Ask: Do you think that Damon and Pythias were brave or foolish? Would you have trusted a friend to return to receive his punishment as Damon believed Pythias would do? Would you have returned if you had been Pythias? Finally ask the students why they think the two men were rewarded in the manner that they were.
Tell students that there is a saying A friend in need is a friend indeed. Write it on the board. Ask: Was Damon a friend to Pythias in his time of need? (yes) Was he a true friend? (yes) Do you think it is reasonable to expect a friend to be willing to give his life for you? Allow discussion, as answers will surely vary.
Read the book The Faithful Friend by Robert San Souci to the
class and have them compare and contrast it to the story of Damon and Pythias.
Androcles and the Lion
Identify "Androcles and the Lion" as a fable.
Relate the moral to other stories where acts of kindness are repaid.
Paxton, Tom. Androcles and the Lion. New York: Morrow, 1991.
This collection includes ten of Aesop's tales told in rhyme. The tale of Androcles is neatly told in forty-eight lines.
Russell, William. Classics to Read Aloud to Children. New York: Crown, 1984.
"Androcles and the Lion" can be found on pp. 19-21.
Stevens, Janet. Androcles and the Lion. New York: Holiday House, 1989.
This version is visually appealing, but greatly stylized. Androcles is portrayed as a friend to all animals and the lion is shown much as a caricature.
Tell the students that Androcles (AN-druh-cleez) and the Lion is one of Aesop's fables. Remind them of other fables they have heard (First Grade- The Milkmaid and her Pail, The Boy who Cried Wolf, The Dog in the Manger, The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, The Fox and the Grapes, The Goose and the Golden Eggs). Remind them that Aesop is believed to have been a slave who was freed because his owner was so impressed with his knowledge and wisdom. Read the fable from one of the Suggested Books or tell the following:
Androcles was a slave who had escaped from his master. His only thought was to stay out of sight and get away. As he climbed through the underbrush he heard a crying sound and looking through the bushes, spied a lion with a large thorn stuck deep in his paw. Overcoming his fear and forgetting about his own safety, Androcles removed the thorn from the lion's foot. Before Androcles could turn and run away, he and the lion were captured. Androcles knew that they would both end up as entertainment for the crowds in the Coliseum. (Remind the students that people battling wild beasts were one of the "acts" that took place there.)
He was right and days later Androcles was thrown into the ring to wait his fate. On the other side of the circle he saw a lion released. He knew the lion would have been starved so that its hunger would force it to attack immediately. As Androcles saw the lion bounding toward him, he closed his eyes expecting pain and death to follow. Instead, Androcles felt the lion lick him and opened his eyes to see the lion from whose paw he had removed the thorn. Androcles was amazed that the lion had remembered him. The emperor was amazed too and had Androcles brought before him to explain. When Androcles had completed telling his tale, he and the lion were released because a story such as theirs had never been told before.
Ask the students to describe the emotions Androcles must have felt from the time he escaped from his master until the time he was released from the Coliseum. List their suggestions on the board, asking them to reference the emotion with the event in the story. For example: Androcles felt relief when he escaped from his master; He was frightened as he hid from the men searching for him; He was surprised and curious when he heard the lion crying in pain; He felt compassion for the injured animal; He was disappointed, angry, terrified when he was captured; etc.
Tell the students to think about when Androcles saw the lion. Ask them to think about why he might have been so sympathetic to the lion's problem. Ask: Had there been a time when Androcles needed someone to help him? (when he was imprisoned as a slave) Do you think that Androcles ever expected to see the lion again after he removed the thorn from its paw?
Have the students consider the proverb associated with the fable and
discuss the impact of kind deeds. Have them consider the affect a kind
deed may have on our lives and also consider how an unkind deed might later
affect us. (You may wish to remind students of the reward Nyasha received
for her kindnesses in Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
or of Beauty's reward for her kindness to the Beast.)
Horatius at the Bridge
Note: The story of Horatius Cocles should be told before Art Lesson 26 on Trajan's Column because Horatius's actions are used as the basis of a narrative scroll that students create in the lesson.
Sequence the events in the story of Horatius at the bridge over the Tiber River.
Identify character traits for Horatius.
Classroom-size map of Italy or of the world
Drawing paper, crayons (optional)
Burrell, Roy. The Romans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Pp. 18 & 19 provide lines from the poem about Horatius written by T. B. Macaulay. Students may enjoy seeing the accompanying illustrations and hearing the lines.
Usher, Kerry. Heroes, Gods and Emperors from Roman Mythology. New York: Schocken Books, 1984. Page 108 tells the story of how Horatius Cocles held off the Etruscans at the bridge across the Tiber leading to Rome.
Have a student come up to the map and locate the country of Italy and the city of Rome. (If a map of Italy is available, have the students locate the Tiber River.) Remind students that in order for the Roman empire to grow, the Romans had to conquer the surrounding areas. Some of these conquests were easily won and some were more difficult. Sometimes neighboring people tried to attack the Romans as well. The Roman army had to know both how to attack and to defend.
Explain that many years ago Rome was attacked by the Etruscans who were the people who lived in an area close by and were enemies of the Romans. In order to reach the city of Rome the Etruscans had to cross a bridge over the Tiber River. The bridge stretched across the river. Ask: How could the Romans use the bridge as a protection for their empire? (They could keep people from crossing it; limit the number who crossed it; stop them as they reached the Roman end.)
Tell the students that as the Etruscans approached, the Romans realized that this would be a terrible battle. There were many Etruscans and the Romans were afraid that they might not win a battle with them. The Romans decided to cut the bridge but they had to hurry because the Etruscans were advancing fast. A soldier named Horatius Cocles (ho-RA-shuhs) and two of his companions volunteered to hold back the Etruscans while the bridge was being destroyed. They fought bravely until the final moment when the bridge was to be cut. The two other Romans crossed to safety but Horatius did not follow quickly enough. The bridge was cut. Horatius was trapped, his only hope for saving his life was to dive into the Tiber River and swim across. Horatius jumped in full armor and at first it seemed that the water had pulled him under when suddenly his head appeared. He fought the current and swam across the river. His fellow soldiers pulled him to safety on the other side. Horatius was a hero. He was rewarded with a gift of land--all that he could plow around in a day became his.
Ask the students to describe Horatius's behavior. If they do not mention it, remind them that he was not only brave but he believed that it was his responsibility to defend Rome. He was even willing to give his life for his country. Other descriptions include fearless, leader, protector, courageous, and selfless.
Tell the students that you would like to sequence the events in the story you have just told and you would like their help. Write the events on chart paper. (These will be used with Art Lesson 26.) Ask them to tell where the story begins. 1- (the city of Rome) Ask the students to tell who was protecting Rome. 2- (soldiers) Remind the students that the soldiers wore helmets and breastplates and used shields and swords. Ask the students to tell who was attacking Rome in this story. 3- (the Etruscans) Ask: What kept the Etruscans from entering Rome? 4- (the bridge) Ask the students to identify the soldier who held back the Etruscans. 5- (Horatius) Ask: What happened next? 6- (The bridge was cut.) Ask: Who was left to fight the Etruscans? 7- (Horatius) Then have the students tell what happened to Horatius 8- (He dove into the river.) Ask: Did he survive? 9- (Yes, he was pulled to safety.) Finally have the students tell what happened to Horatius. 10- He was rewarded with a gift of land.
If this lesson is to be combined with Art Lesson 26, save the chart
for later use. If you do not wish to use Horatius's story then, distribute
drawing paper and crayons and allow the students to illustrate their favorite
Burrell, Roy. The Romans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
DeSpain, Pleasant. Thirty-three Multicultural Tales to Tell. Little Rock: August House, 1993.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992. (0-385-31257-1)
________. What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1993. (0-385-41119-7)
Paxton, Tom. Androcles and the Lion. New York: Morrow, 1991. (0-688-09683-2)
Russell, William. Classics to Read Aloud to Children. New York: Crown, 1984. (0-517-55404-6)
San Souci, Robert. The Faithful Friend. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. (002-7861317)
Stevens, Janet. Androcles and the Lion. New York: Holiday House, 1989. (0-8234-0768-3)
Usher, Kerry. Heroes, Gods and Emperors from Roman Mythology. New York: Schocken Books, 1984. (0-8052-3880-8)
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. (0-395-65597-8)
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Our Children Need to Know. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. (0-395-59901-6)
Pickering, David, compiled by. Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs. London: Cassell, 1997.(0-304-34911-9)
Room, Adrian, revised by. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: HarperCollins, 1959, 1995. (0-06-270133-9)
Spears, Richard A. NTC's Super-Mini American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1996. (0-8442-0916-3)