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Women in the middle ages

23 Aug

Year 8 will soon be learning about the roles played by different groups of people in the middle ages.  Our first case study will be women.

My plan is to begin the lesson with a general discussion about what the kids want to be when they grow up.  Hopefully I will get a range of interesting responses.  I will then use this as a segue into explaining that in the middle ages not all career paths were open to everyone.  This was especially true for women  – society had rules about the roles that could be performed by women.

As a number of students in my class have low literacy skills,, this brief introduction will be followed by some textbook reading and pointed questions.  While there will be class discussion, students will be given time and assistance to write the responses in their books.  This way, they get to practice their reading, writing and speaking skills.

Some of the language in the text is quite difficult, so we will probably also have to do some kind of vocabulary activity so that students understand what they are reading.

Once we have finished the content, I will play a game called ‘Is a woman in the middle ages allowed to do this job?’  I will project images of women in different roles (doctors, lawyers, architects, mothers etc).  If students think a medieval woman would be allowed to do a particular job, then they vote with a big thumbs up.  If they think that she would not be allowed, the need to create a X using their arms.   We will then discuss whether or not a woman in the middle ages would be allowed to do that job.  A short version of the game can be found here: SLIDES – medieval women game 

Capturing castles

21 Aug

I have my first class with year 8 History students next week.  They are currently studying medieval Europe, and the next lesson will be on attacking and defending castles.

I have observed a number of classes already at the school, and the common approach of the teachers is to teach using Powerpoints rich in images and Youtube clips.  The plan for the first lesson is to conform to the format that the students know.  Once I know them better, I may deviate from that format.

At the moment I am leaning towards using a Horrible Histories clip to explain to students the difficulties and dangers of attacking a heavily fortified castle.   In order to encourage active listening, I will likely get students to list the dangers associated with ‘Plan A’ in the clip.  One of those dangers is the arrows shot from the castle.  In order to get students to understand what a bow and arrow is, I think I might offer one or two students the opportunity to teach the rest of the class to be archers.  In essence, this will involve them getting up and trying to hit the target in this quick game.

I will likely spend the rest of my (k)night scouring the web to see what else I can find!

Something is plaguing Europe!

19 Aug

Another approach to the Black Death would be to have students map the spread of plague.

EDSITEment offers an interactive map and some helpful worksheets to guide students through this process.

If students do not all have access to computers, you could provide them with slips of paper with the names of cities and estimated arrival dates of the plague.  The students could then order these dates, and the interactive component could be completed as a class.  A further alternative would be to have students annotate a paper map.

 

Dying to play an educational game?

19 Aug

I am currently on the look out for some interesting ICT activities for my upcoming lessons on the Black Death.  One interesting resource I have found is this quiz.   I think I would use it as an end of lesson revision activity.  While it is not sufficiently detailed to use as a means of revising that entire section of the syllabus, it is sufficient for testing student understanding of attitudes and responses to the plague.

One of the things I really like about this particular resource is that you cannot actually get an answer wrong.  By this I mean that a screen informing a student that s/he is incorrect will simply not appear.  If you click on the incorrect response, that response simply turns red thus informing you that you should try again.  Once you hit on the correct answer, a screen informing you that you are correct will appear.  This screen is accompanied by additional explanation.

This quiz could be completed individually or in small groups (if the class happens to be in a computer room), or as a whole class activity (if there are insufficient computers).