Prospecting For Treasure

Always prospecting for the next treasure of an idea.

Medieval History for Kids

My school is a Core Knowledge school, and one of the highlights of the year is our study of the middle ages. 
We begin by building a timeline, so that the kids understand how this period of history fits in.  This is easier at a Core Knowledge school, because the children have already learned about ancient Egypt in first grade, ancient Greece in second grade, and the Roman Empire in third grade.  You can learn more about Core Knowledge curriculum by visiting The Core Knowledge Foundation website.   I also include some map skills, because I want to be sure that the children understand what part of the world we are talking about.  It is important to compare and contrast maps from the middle ages with Europe of today.
I like to teach Core Knowledge across the curriculum.  While some of our medieval history is taught during social studies time, much is done during our literacy block and even during math.  I usually start with small group reading groups exploring non-fiction. 
For read alouds I like to read:
  •   The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman
  •    Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman (I edit this one as I read.)
  •    The Door In the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
I have reading groups reading:
  • Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
  •  King Arthur (Scholastic Junior Classics) by Jan B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens.
  • Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest by Ann McGovern
As we build this background, we stop to explore some things in more depth.  As we learn about feudalism, I impress on students and help them to imagine what it would be like to have their dad pick who they would marry.  I want them to think about what it would be like to be sent away from home at the age of 7 to become a page.  I want them to appreciate the freedoms we have today to make choices about the work we do, and the opportunities we can take advantage of.
I try to fill the room with non-fiction to read during free reading time.  There are some great books out there to use to learn about the middle ages in Europe. Here are some of my favorites.
  • EyeWitness Books, Castle by Christopher Gravett
  • Eyewitness Books, Knights by Christopher Gravett
  •  See Through History, The Middle Ages by Sarah Howarth
  • Knights by Philip Steele
  • Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections Castle
  • Usborne World History, Medieval World by Jane Bingham
  • Castle by David Macaulay

There are also some excellent teacher resources to help you plan your unit.  I like:
  • Knights And Castles, By Teacher Created Materials
  • Medieval Times, By Teacher Created Materials
  • The Middle Ages Independent Learning Unit, By Lorraine Conway
  • Knights & Castles, 50 Hands-on Activities to Experience the Middle Ages, by Avery Hart & Paul Mantell
  • Exploring Ancient Civilizations, Medieval Times by Robynne Eagan

We are beginning our Castle Project this week.  My next few posts will talk about some of the special projects we do to further our understanding of life in the Middle Ages.  If you have additional ideas, I would love to hear them.

April 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] About Medieval History for Kids […]

    Pingback by Our Castle Project « Prospecting For Treasure | April 24, 2010 | Reply

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