Medieval Identity Task – Year 8 History (Australian Curriculum)

MedievalIdentity1

This task is essentially the framework which I use to complete depth studies into Medieval Europe and The Black Death in Year 8 History.

Each year at the beginning of our Year 8 History course, I ask students to create a medieval identity. The identity is referred to across our depth studies on Medieval Europe and The Black Death. Students use the identity to answer questions, complete tasks, and as a basis for the major assignments.

This has been useful for engagement and critical thinking as students are encouraged to make connections between their worlds and the world we are studying.

This idea was inspired by the Society for Creative Anachronism (the SCA): a roleplaying society who are obsessive in creating historically accurate identities. If you’re curious, check out their website: http://www.sca.org/ and their links to research on the Middle Ages: http://www.sca.org/links/misc.html

Note: I limit the research students do to 14th century England purely so their identity could be a victim of the Black Death!

Download all of the files in a single zip file over at Teachers Pay Teachers (WordPress isn’t keen on zip files these days)

Teaching Notes:

1. Within the first week I introduce the concept of feudalism :
The PowerPoint I use is very popular and available here:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Feudalism-Pyramid-Manorialism-Middle-Ages-PowerPoint-Posters-and-Worksheet-834762

2. Then I invite students to pull a ‘rank’ out of a hat (Medieval Identity Rank Cards).
There is only one royal and a limited amount of clergy (monk/nun), nobility and knights. This provides a talking point about how approximately 5% of the population were the ‘ruling classes’ while the remainder were workers.

3. Students then do the research to find the profile information (Medieval Identity Profile and Medieval Identity Research Links):
a. An appropriate name for a 14th century Englishman or women of that rank.
b. An occupation
c. A family motto
d. A family crest or shield
e. Everyday life including clothing, housing, occupation, free time etc.

4. Students create an A4 (Letter) sized poster showing their information.
In the past I have given students a template, just to keep the posters uniform (Medieval Identity Poster Template) though in the future I might encourage students to design their own.
An example of the Profile Poster:
The posters are then arranged on a pinboard in the Feudal Pyramid, to match the diagram from the Feudalism PowerPoint: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Feudalism-Hierachy-Pyramid-of-Power-PowerPoint-and-Poster-834750

6. At the end of our depth study on Medieval Europe, students complete a major assignment: Medieval Identity Comparison.

7. We then commence the depth study on the Black Death. I have been busy upgrading this unit of work to put up on TPT.
My Black Death depth study can be found starting here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-is-the-Black-Death-Depth-Study-Introduction-ACARA-1456263

8. At the end of our depth study on the Black Death, students complete another major task: Black Death Diary Assignment, whereby they write a diary from the perspective of their medieval identity. Students enjoy this as it is creative and I encourage students to ‘coffee stain’ their paper to get a medieval effect.

Ring around the Rosey and The Black Death

Put your hands up if you’ve always believed Ring-around-a-rosey is about the Black Death:

handsup-rifle

Image Source: OpenClipArt.org

Even worse, how many actually teach that that nursery rhyme is about the Black Death?

SteveLambert_Lambert_Hand_Up

Image Source: OpenClipArt.org

Yeah, I thought so too. Then I started fact checking my Black Death Year 8 History unit before posting to TPT. Nope:

Picture1

 Snopes.com

That’ll teach me: I should run everything via Snopes.com!

It’s quite amazing though: do a Google search on Ring-Around-The-Rosey and you’ll find more than a dozen websites which appear quite reasonable yet consider the Black Death connection as fact. Generally, I’d be happy if most of my students referenced a site like Rhymes.org.uk – it seems relatively reliable and it’s even an org!

So anyway I rewrote the beginning of my unit to include a source evaluation task: those that can’t do, teach!

It’s available now on TPT at my store, if you’re interested in an activity on Ring-around-the-rosey and source evaluation. The remainder of my Black Death unit is soon to make it there too.

BlackDeath01-Roses01

Here’s the preview if you’d like to have a look: BlackDeath01-RingaRingaRosesPREVIEW (PDF)

Printable: Feudal Pyramid of Power Poster and Power Point

FeudalismPosterFeudal pyramid of power poster

FeudalPyramidofPower1 FeudalPyramidofPower3 FeudalPyramidofPower2

What is it?

A poster of the English Feudal Pyramid of Power using Phillip Martin’s iconic Clip Art (http://www.pppst.com). Two versions: with and without paper background.

AND

A sample of the upgraded Power Point which has been remade with a more stylish feel, public domain Clip Art and improved information. The full Power Point is now available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.

Download:

Original Phillip Martin Clip Art version: PDF FeudalismPoster

Updated poster: PDF FeudalismPyramidPoster

Sample of new version PowerPoint: PPTX FeudalismPowerpointSample

Printable: Draw a Maneki Neko (Japanese Lucky Cat)

What is it?

A printable fact sheet about Maneki Nekos (Japanese Lucky Cats). Seriously awesome: who doesn’t love Lucky cats?

I collated information from several different websites to create this fact sheet to use in a lesson on Japanese culture.

It includes the instructions on how to draw lucky cats, shamefully stolen from this website: http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/8904/1/1/how-to-draw-lucky-cat,-maneki-neko,-lucky-cat.htm and general (and very basic) about the symbolism of different types of Maneki Neko (derived mostly from http://donaldmoon.tripod.com/neko/index.html).

How it’s used:

As part of the Australian National Curriculum, Year 8’s can cover Shogunate Japan (the Edo period) in History. The Maneki Neko originates in the late Edo period to Meiji period.

The idea is students will either draw their own Maneki Neko or colour in a template, choosing the style and symbols which are important to them; and potentially learning a bit about Japanese culture in the meantime.

Update: I’ve since delivered this task two times. Students seem to really love it!

Download:

2011 401 Draw a Maneki Neko (DOCX)

2011 401 Draw a Maneki Neko (PDF)