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Middle Ages

Compiled By: shazam

Ideas and activities for teaching middle ages.

Castle Theme
Posted by: Becky

I used the Middle Ages as my theme last year. Here are some ideas:

-Hear Ye! Hear Ye! for the information board
-Royal Duties for the job chart
-We made a castle for a book nook... used a wood frame and refrigerator boxes for the walls. We painted the background gray and added different colored "stones" using sponges cut to shape.
-The Medieval Times for the newsletter
-Called the students "lords and ladies"
-Knightly Reading Log for at home book reading list
-Crowning Behavior for incentive plan (kids put compliments in a jar and I picked one out each week. The kid being complimented got to wear a crown I had for the week.
-A Quest for Knowledge (I used this for a newsletter column where I answered parent and student questions
-Royal Proclamations for class announcements board
-Jester's Journal was another column in our newsletter

I had more but am going blank right now. Hope that helps.

Posted by: LT

Here are just a few:
*Bocce Ball
*Lance throw- swimming pool noodles
*Sheep toss- use a stuffed animal and see who can throw it the fartherest.
*play checkers(draughts) using people as the markers
*Blind man's bluff- guess who tapped you

I teach a year long unit on the Middle Ages to gifted and talented students. If you have any questions I would be glad to help.

Posted by: QW

I made a mural of a castle and had kids make things found in fairy tales out of cut out paper, etc, such as dragons, witches, queens, knights, etc. to go on them. When we did writing workshop, each kid had a magic wand (a brand new pencil with a gold die-cut star taped to the top). They liked that. We had names, such as Prince Austin or Princess Lily and I was the Queen and we addressed each other like that during the unit. I even went to Burger King and got crowns and sometimes we would wear them when we were working on the unit. 3/4 probably wouldn't like to wear them outside of the classroom. I used a lot of purple and gold in my decorations. In social studies, we learned about castles and the medeival period. We read Knight at Dawn in the Magic Tree House series. I made a 3-D cake that looks like a castle for the culmination of our unit. I could try to give you directions if you need them. Use simple props and act out fairy tales. Do magic spells to figure out math problems. It's a lot of fun. Maybe I'll have to try it again this year. Good luck!

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middle ages
Posted by: Julie

I would think it would be fun if the kids dressed up as people from the middle ages. Then they can maybe sit down and eat a middle ages meal. I would think that would be fun. How about each student being the "expert" on a certain middle age topic? Then he/she could report on it to the class and answer any questions the class may have about it. They could also write poetry about the middle ages.

Is there any museum or show that they could go to the enhance their experience? When our sixth graders learned about medieval times they went to a medieval times restaurant and watched jousting of knights. They also ate a medieval times meal, complete with chicken and no fork. They had to eat with their fingers! Messy, but fun.

a knight statue
Posted by: sukie

I once used a medieval theme for a big party I had. My sister made all the decorations. She made medieval figures using upside-down tomato cages as the support for the body. The head was paper-mache over a balloon base and then painted and hair put on with doll hair. The hands were paper twist wrapped and looped. The hands- arms were covered with crepe paper and silver paper twist. We made a shield and he held a toy sword. He had a helmet made out of cardboard. There is some rolls of paper that have brick patterns on them. Maybe you could use that for bulletin boards. Check out a catalog called Stumps. It is for party decorating. It might be good inspiration.

Middle ages art!
Posted by: Morgan

Yes there's lots to do with that! I'm a bit biased, being a medievalist though. For a really fun set of medieval pictures, I can't think of anything I like better than the Maciejowski Bible. It contains lavish illustrations of the Old Testament. It is 13th century and depicts all those biblical events as if they were happening in medieval Europe, at the time, so there are lots of pics of knights in maille from all the wars in the Old Testament, pictures of DAILY LIFE like threshing wheat or masons at work. it is a bit archaic in form but highly detailed also. You might want to be selective with the plates, some of the battle scenes/executions are gory, and at least one plate has a couple in bed together. The whole book was reprinted in a work called "old testament miniatures' by sydney cockerell (now oop). Many parts can be found online for free. You might want to take something like the Bayeaux tapestry (c. 1070) the mac. bible (c. 1250) and breugal or some such later piece to show changes in art over the years. People tend to forget that the middle ages spans 1000 years of history over an entire continent, and thus have impressions that an awful lot was happening or existing together whne in fact hundreds of miles or years or both may separate them. You could bring that up, even if you don't go wildly in depth with the concept. Other myths about that time could also be dealt with if you felt so inclined. For instance, people bathed A LOT more frequently than they are now given credit for, they ate a rather healthy diet (high in fiber, low in fat) and knights armor and weapons were actually quite lightweight. Hope this helps, email if you want anything else.

Medievil theme
Posted by: Sarah W.

I'm not sure how medievil you're going, but I have some ideas that I'm using in my room that might help. My bulletin outside my room is a banner that reads "Welcome to the Kingdom of Fourth Grade" and I found a coat of arms template that each child decorated. I also found some punch out crowns to spice it up. My class library is called "The Royal Reading Chamber", my A.R./Computer area is "The Computer Dungeon" and my compliments board is "Royal Compliments fit for the King and Queen". Just a few ideas that I hope may be useful! Good Luck!

Midwife's Apprentice
Posted by: Lara

You have to teach using this book! My 6th graders and I love it and you're right, it works great with a Middle Ages curriculum. Some parts may be "worldly" for kids, but guidance from you is all that's needed. Just having kids today imagine what her (name?) life must have been like is so powerful! Daily life, past occupations, medical treatments, hygene, marriage, life expectency, etc.

Medieval Feast
Posted by: Beth

Hi Sarah
I am planning a faire for early spring. I ran one last year with great success. Use Proteacher to search Medieval Times and about halfway down the list of recommended sites, one will turn up for a Medieval Faire. It is quite lengthy. If you can't find it I can check the url at school tomorrow.
To prepare I had my kids learn a line dance - very simple, and we set it to Celtic music. A Celtic cd makes a nice backdrop to the faire or feast.
We did not do the tables and meal but rather, as per the document I downloaded, the students had roles and set up a booth where they peddaled their wares. This requires a lengthy explanation but assured, the kids loved it.

We had a lord and lady, a dubbing ceremony, a jester, a few singers, a bagpiper and some gymnastics for entertainment. These were all prepared by the students.
Everyone received a drama/dance, social studies and language mark. The language mark came from a journal they prepared where they recorded their character's life story and their preparations for and participation in the fair. It was all quite fun. Parents loved it.
Let me know what else you need to know.
Ps. I would never do the feast after having done the fair. The faire was so much fun!

middle ages - long
Posted by: cc

This is a hard theme...I am doing it this year too. I am picking up a book today from the teacher store around here so if there is some good stuff in it I will let you know.

First of all, my door is a castle with a knight on either side -- guarding it. I had to make this myself because I couldn't find any great patterns.

On the open side of the door, I have Royal Readers written with Purple Fancy Script. With that, I am going to take all of my kids pictures and have them look like kings, queens, knights, jesters,...etc.

I just teach some might not apply to you. Then we have an incentive board that I wrote, "Red Hot Readers" which has a dragon shooting flames out of his mouth. This is where I am going to put their incentive sheets.

Another bulletin board says, "Books can take you Anywhere." I found some really cute Fantasy material at Wal-Mart that is my background.

Another bulletin board says, "Reading is Magical" and it has different fantasy background material.

I have a 5' dragon in my room that holds a book. I bought it from Trend. I also have a poster that has a 10' banner that has a dragon on it and it says, "Catch a dragon by the Tale." This I also got from Trend. I ordered book bags too for my students that have the same dragon and "catch a dragon by the Tale" written on them.

I ordered a new series of low-level chapter books too that are called, "Dragon Slayer Academy." Since I do low-level reading for grades 3-5 this is pretty appropriate.

Also, there is some great websites that have some wonderful ideas too. I can't remember the URL but type in castle theme and I think they come up.

I am trying to think of some more things I have in my classroom...I'm at home right now. If I think of any other ideas, I'll post more.

Also, if you have some ideas to share, I would love more!!!!

Middle Ages unit
Posted by: Diana

I taught the Middle Ages for a whole semester last year. We had a blast! I used several resources, but if I had to recommend just one it would be Picture the Middle Ages by Golden Owl Publishing. It is more commonly known as "the Jackdaw company." It has everything you need plus many activity suggestions. I also used The Door in the Wall. My students loved it. Progeny Press publishes a great study guide for the book. We culminated our semester with a Medieval Festival. There are so many activities you can do from this time period that it is my favorite era to teach. Have fun!

Medieval Times
Posted by: Marrywther

We also do a large Medieval Time unit. We make really cool stained glass windows. I make copies of a rose window design onto overhead sheets, then the students color them with colored Sharpie markers. Then they cut out what looks like the from of a church.
We also do illuminations and portriats with tinfoil. You cover a piece of cardboard (anysize) with aluminum foil. then have the students trace a picture of a knight, horse or castle with a ball point pen.

Where do you teach?? I'm in Florida. We are lucky we live close enough to Medieval Times (a dinner show), that we can go for a field trip. The kids love it.
If you have any questions you can email me at

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Middle Ages Artists
Posted by: Patty

Bruegel's Childrens Games has over 80 games being played in it...find as many as you can. The color red is used throughout the painting to move you eye thru the painting, it's real obvious now that I have said it, but look at other paintings and see if your eye travels, and why? (or how). Take time to discuss the construction of Cathedrals. The Rose window of Notre Dame is an excellent example of Radial design. I don't have my Middle Ages stuff at home, but thats off the top of my head. Not that there is much there to begin with

Medieval Times Portfolio
Posted by: Beth

My students are creating a Power Point presentation of what they learn about medieval times. It is not a research project necessarily, however, several have added information and pictures form the Internet. It is amazing how quickly they pick up on how to proceed. We have an LED projector and they are thrilled when I display their ongoing project on the large screen.
They were to have minimum 7 slides: title page, amazing facts, description of their castle projects, description of their role for our upcoming faire, interesting events in the novel "The Whipping Boy", and a Plus/Minus/Interesting page. Any other pages are their own doing.
When I went to a workshop on Powerpoint they recommended that students create their text first then teach them all of the slide backgrounds and transitions. So right! I wasn't strict enough in that regard and am still pulling teeth to get them to work on the text. Pictures, transitions, and slide backgrounds are much more interesting.

Castle, Knights, and Ladies
Posted by: iteachkids

I have had the theme of castles for the past few years. Both the students and I love it! My whole classroom is based on this theme.
Castle Duties: King/Queen, Castle Attendant, Paper Pages, Throne Sitters (get to sit on the bean bags during silent reading), Royal Sweeper, and Money Lords (pay the students their BK Bucks they have earned. Bank of Knights Bucks-classroom money).
I have a Prince/Princess of the week. They wear a prince or princess crown during Friday's Friendship Circle while the students go around the circle and each give a compliment to the prince or princess of the week.
The students fight the mathematical dragon to pass off their math facts. They earn jewels for their crowns as they pass of their addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and mixed facts.
I decorate with castle art and frog princes.
I refer to the students as knights and ladies of the castle.
I teach 4th grade and both the girls and boys have loved this theme every year!

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medieval art
Posted by: LLK

I taught the regular social studies for my 6th graders, but I did do a couple of successful art projects with this unit. We did a mock stain glass project, using black construction paper and tissue paper. They looked nice hanging in the large windows of our cafeteria. I also did a illuminations project....I found some fancy alphbet letters, the kids copied them by 'eyeballing' it to make each letter as large as a regular piece of paper, and then they colored them. I showed several examples from books on the fancy leaves, etc. that were used in medieval times. On the day we 'colored', I had them pretend to be monks in a scriptorium. It was fun. I backed the letters on black construction paper. Easy yet striking when all posted together in a row in the hallway.
Hope this helps.