Jr. PreK - Medieval TimesCastles, Knights, Royalty and Medieval Cuisine
Blue: Book: "Castles" by Colin Thompson
Green: What is a castle? / book: National Geographic's "Everything Castles" by Crispin Boyer
Red: Building Castles
Week 2 (Knights)
Blue: books: "The Bravest Knight" by Mercer Mayer & "The Knight and the Dragon" by Tomie DePaola
Green: What was a knight?
Red: Knight Costumes and Pretend Play (book: "Days of Knights and Damsels" by Laurie Carlson)
Week 3 (Royalty)
Blue: book: "King Arthur's Very Great Grandson by Kenneth Kraegel
Green: Who were kings and queens?
Red: Costume Creation & Pretend Play (book: "Days of Knights and Damsels" by Laurie Carlson
Week 4 (Medieval Cuisine)
Blue: book: "A Medieval Feast" by Aliki / Creating a menu
Green: What did people eat for a medieval feast? /Prepping for a feast
Red: Making food fit for a medieval feast!
Planning and Teaching with the B.A.S.I.C.S (Beginning Acquisition of Skills Incorporating Core Subjects)
Letter Writing & Recognition
Letter writing and recognition should be addressed on a daily basis. Each Blue Room lesson should begin with a review of the alphabet using a consistent method (game, song, letter cards, etc). Throughout the month find opportunities to teach individual letters through the sub-themes. Entire Project Based Lessons could be focused entirely on learning a letter. For example, after reading the book, “Castles” by Colin Thompson, focus on the letter “C” by allowing students to create their own “castle” out of letter C's! Extend the activity by asking students to write the letter “C” at the bottom of their paper. Create lessons similar to this throughout the month to ensure that students are being exposed to a variety of letters throughout the theme.
During each letter lesson, teachers should also be introducing the sounds that letters make. Make the learning of sounds interactive and fun. For example, while teaching your lesson on the letter “C” ask students questions like, “Can you make the sound of a quiet letter ‘C’ ?” and “What would a loud letter ‘C’ sound like?” This should get students excited about making the sound of the letter and should promote retention of the sounds as well.
Number Writing & Recognition
Number writing and recognition should be addressed on a daily basis. Each Green Room Lesson should begin with a review of the numbers 1-20 using a consistent method (i.e. games, songs, number cards, etc). Throughout the month find opportunities to teach individual numbers through the sub-themes. Entire Project Based and Activity Based Lessons could be focused entirely on learning a specific number. For example, after introducing students to castles have them create their own castles. Allow students to choose the number of "castle blocks" to use to build their castle so that they can count the blocks/stones as well as practice writing the number on their project. Create lessons similar to this throughout the month to ensure that students are being exposed to a variety of numbers throughout the theme.
Students should have the opportunity to count aloud at least twice a day. Students should be practicing counting from 1 to 20. They may practice counting beyond if there is an interest or if students need the extra challenge. Find opportunities throughout the day to practice counting aloud with students. For example, when cooking your medieval cuisine have students count aloud the number of ingredients that are required for each recipe. Create and find opportunities to ensure that students are given many opportunities to count throughout the theme.
Shape Recognition & Drawing
Shape recognition and drawing should be addressed a few times each week. Start at least two lessons in the Green Room each week with a review of basic shapes using a consistent method. Throughout the month find opportunities to teach individual shapes through the sub-themes. Entire Project Based and Activity Based Lessons could be focused entirely on learning a specific shape. For example, after introducing students to the concept of castles, talk to them about what shapes they think it would take to “build” a castle. Plan an Activity Based Lesson that then allows students to physically “build” the castle using the shapes they previously named. End the activity by giving students the opportunity to paint or draw the shapes on the castle they “built.” Create lessons similar to this throughout the month to ensure that students are being exposed to a variety of shapes throughout the theme
Color Recognition & Color Wheel
Color recognition should be addressed on a daily basis. Each Red Room lesson should begin with a review of basic colors. While a particular lesson should not necessarily be based on any single color, teachers should be looking for opportunities throughout their lessons to introduce and review colors (i.e. “Look at the red circle on the cover of this book!”). Teachers should also work with students on their understanding of primary and secondary colors. This may best be taught through Project Based Lessons with goals of creating colors that are suitable to the month’s theme (i.e. making the color gray for their castle creation!). A lesson like this should be taught at least once each week.
BLUE ROOM LESSONS
During week 1 students will be introduced to the magical and mystical world of castles through the book, "Castles" by Colin Thompson. "Castles" is a imaginative book, taking what we know of castles and evolving that knowledge into structures only possible in our dreams. This book is the perfect introduction to castles, allowing your young students to take what they already know about castles and inspiring them to create structures one never thought possible.
Start your week with a short Discussion Circle. Have copies of some or all of the magical castles from the book, "Castles," placed in the middle of your circle. If you have time to laminate or place them in sheet protectors, they will become a more effective tool throughout the week. This will be a fun way to draw your learners into the discussion you are about to begin. Also be prepared with a white-board or large piece of paper to write down ideas that children already may have about castles. Start your Discussion Circle by inviting children to join you on the floor. As students are getting settled allow them to quietly pick up the pictures of the castles from the book and explore them. Once children have calmed their bodies, say "Today we are exploring castles! Who can tell me something they know about a castle?" Write their responses down on the white board or paper that you have ready so that you can refer back to their thoughts throughout the discussion. As children are telling you what they know of castles, ask them to look at the pictures from the book and say, "Do you think these are castles?" "What about these structures makes them a castle?" Turn to the first page of the book and read the numbered boxes (1-5) about what every castle has inside it. Ask children what castle they would like to learn more about from the book. Read through a few descriptions of the castles as you sit in your Discussion Circle, calling attention to the details of castles previously discussed as you read through each description.
Once you have finished your Discussion Circle, move into an activity of project that reinforces the concepts just discussed as well as incorporates one or more of your B.A.S.I.C.S.
The remainder of the week will progress in a similar manner, revisiting your initial discussion and the book each day before moving onto your reinforcement activity. Be sure that each lesson is approached in a slightly different manner to best meet the needs of your young learners.
GREEN ROOM LESSONS
During week 1 through Green Room lessons your students will delve even deeper into the world of castles. While Blue Room lessons encouraged your learners' imaginations to soar, Green Room lessons will give children the opportunity to learn about and experience what life may have been like inside a real medieval castle.
Utilizing the book, "Everything Castles" by Crispin Boyer, you will explore the castles of medieval times. Children should learn what materials were used, how they were built and who lived within the thick castle walls during this fascinating time in history.
To prepare for your week, designate a space of your classroom as a "castle building space" where there are cardboard boxes, tape, foil, large rocks/pebbles, etc. so that students can plan and build their own life-size castle. Also be sure to have a large flat space to utilize for the planning process that will occur this week.
Green Room lessons should center around PLANNING to build. With your students, draw out what their castle will look like. Include rooms inspired by the book, "Everything Castles," such as an armory, dungeon, garden, and a drawbridge. If you study pages 18 and 19 of the book as a class, your students will lead the creative process and will be sure to design a castle with spaces they feel are important for their castle.
During the planning process, discuss who may have lived in the castle and how many people it may have taken to keep the castle running on a daily basis. When drawing blueprints include the number of materials students think they will need, practicing their counting skills and number sense along the way. Think of other creative ways to work in your B.A.S.I.C.S. throughout the week.
Your young learners will be anxious to begin building during Red Room lessons after so much planning that will be involved in the pre-build process. Take advantage of their excitement letting it lead the way into your Red Room lessons for the week.
RED ROOM LESSONS
In their Red Room lessons this week, Jr. Preschoolers will have the opportunity to build a life-size castle! This castle will be utilized throughout the month for pretend play as kings, queens, knights and more, so be sure that you and your students build it to last!
Begin your Red Room lessons by revisiting your "blueprints" created in the Green Room each day. Take inventory of the materials in your "castle building space" and begin to build your castle! Each day build a portion of the castle you have planned. By the end of the week your castle should be complete with drawbridge and all for you and your young learners to explore and play in for the rest of the month!
As you move through your building phase of your castle, be sure to work into your lessons some color learning opportunities. For example, if you are mixing up gray paint for your castle, teach a short mini lesson on the primary colors used to create the color gray.
BLUE ROOM LESSONS
Week 2 Blue Room lessons will turn their focus to the brave knights of medieval times. Two books will lead you through your exploration of these medieval heroes with a fun and comical twist.
The first book you will encounter this week is "The Knight and the Dragon" by Tomie DePaola. "The Knight and the Dragon" is a light-hearted, few-worded story that begins with a knight and a dragon preparing to fight one another. In the end neither is well-suited as a fighter and they come together in a new adventure: the opening of a BBQ restaurant.
This fun and silly book will have your students laughing in no time at the folly of both the knight and the dragon. Since there are very few words in this story, read with great expression allowing children ample time to digest the pictures as you turn the pages. Plan an Activity Based or Project Based lesson that truly checks for understanding of the story. For example, a Project Based lesson that first allows students to create stick puppets of the main characters in the story, and then moves into an Activity Based lesson requiring them to act out the events of the story could be a fun and effective way to see just how much your young learners understood throughout the "reading" of the book.
Week 2 will also give your students the opportunity to explore another story about a knight through Mercer Mayer's creative and enchanting story, "The Bravest Knight." In the story of "The Bravest Knight" a young boy imagines that he is a squire for one of the bravest knights in the kingdom. He does everything a squire should do (i.e. shine his armor, take care of his horse, polish his sword) and a few things that a squire isn't normally known for (i.e. saving the knight from a dragon). In the end, after imagining a battle between a troll and himself, the young squire decides that he would rather live in his own time where encounters with trolls and dragons only happen in the depths of our imaginations.
"The Bravest Knight" is yet another fun story that will leave your students imagining about the days of years past and whether or not they would enjoy being a squire to the bravest knight in the realm. Plan activities and/or projects that reinforce the events of the story as well as give learners a chance to practice some of their B.A.S.I.C.S. For example, a lesson or two incorporating different letters in a fun and creative way could be very effective (i.e. creating a shield from the letter "S" or armor using letter "A's"). Whatever you choose to do do with your young learners, be sure that it captures their attention, engaging them with not only the stories being presented, but with the many potential learning opportunities before you as well.
GREEN ROOM LESSONS
Green Room lessons this week will focus on the knights of medieval times. Using the book, "Days of Knights and Damsels," by Laurie Carlson plan interactive lessons that help your young learners understand what life may may been like as a knight all those years ago. Read through the website: http://www.medieval-life.net/knight_training.htm to gain some insight to the steps it took become a knight before planning your lessons.
Your students will take the path toward becoming a knight starting with learning about and acting as a PAGE. They will then move onto SQUIRE, finally ending the week as a KNIGHT. Your lessons should reflect where your young learners are in their journey toward becoming a knight. For example, while they are pages, students should be exploring things like horsemanship, archery, and swordsmanship as well as performing different duties around the castle you built the previous week.
The week should ending with a knighting ceremony where each of your students is officially knighted.
Throughout the week you will find many opportunities to work in the B.A.S.I.C.S. For example, while the students are acting as pages and "taking care" of the king's horses, they could be instructed to brush the horse ten times. Also, should you decide to have students create their own coat-of-arms (page 66 "Days of Knights and Damsels") provide a variety of shapes for them to create with having mini conversations about the shapes they are using as they work.
RED ROOM LESSONS
The focus of Red Room lessons this week will be to create the knight uniform that students will need for their "knighting ceremony" at the end of the week. The book, "Days of Knights and Damsels," by Laurie Carlson has detailed instructions on how to create knight's armor including the helmet, shield and chest armor on pages 31 to 35. Let these projects guide you and your students in their creations for the week.
Keep in mind to have medieval music playing in the background as your young artists and blacksmiths create. It will not only help to set the creative tone for the week, but will aide your students in their abilities to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Be sure to work into your lessons some of the B.A.S.I.C.S. for colors throughout the week, focusing on either the naming and recognition of colors, or the creation of the colors you are utilizing in the construction of the knight attire.
BLUE ROOM LESSONS
Week 3 Blue Lessons will be inspired by the book, "King Arthur's Very Great Grandson" by Kenneth Kraegel.
The story begins when King Arthur's very great grandson wakes up on the morning of his sixth birthday and decides to have a great adventure with his trusty donkey, Knuckles. On their journey they encounter a dragon, a one-eyed giant, a Griffin, and a Leviathan; however Henry finds that these "monsters" are not what he expected. Henry ends his journey still having had a grand adventure, but also having acquired four new friends. This story is an engaging and fun way to experience some medieval folklore as well as allows you to segue easily into discussions about the kings and queens that ruled during these fascinating and dark times.
The story of "King Arthur's Very Great Grandson" will be a favorite among your students. Read it every day in an Expressive Voice so that your young learners truly "hear" the voices of the "monsters" Henry encounters in his travels. Focus lessons on the "monsters" Henry meets throughout the book. By doing this you will easily work into your lessons some of the B.A.S.I.C.S. For example, the first "monster" that Henry meets is a dragon. By creating a Project-Based or Activity-Based lesson on dragons you are also inadvertently creating a lesson focused on the letter "D." Continue working through your Blue Lessons in this manner until your students have had an opportunity to get to know each of the monsters Henry met throughout his adventure.
End each day draw your young learner's attention back to the fact that the young Henry from the story was King Arthur's great-grandson. Have short discussions about who King Arthur was (including pictures and folk tales) as a transition into your Green Room lessons this week. The following link will take you to a short e-book introducing the story of King Arthur: King Arthur E-Book
Remember that repetition is key when young children are learning about new concepts. Don't be afraid to repeat information and re-share images and videos. The repetition will help your students not only remember what they have been learning about, but will aide in their comprehension as well.
GREEN ROOM LESSONS
Green Lessons for week 3 will focus on the kings and queens of medieval times.
Continue your conversation about King Arthur as you move into your Green Room lessons, briefly introducing other famous kings and queens as you go (i.e. King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth). Throughout your discussion allow students to share their knowledge of kings and queens with the class, making notes of their ideas on a white board or piece of butcher paper so that it may be added to throughout the week.
Since Red Room lessons will be filled with Project Based activities this week, try to plan as many Activity Based and/or Movement Based lessons as possible this week for your Green lessons to get your students truly "interacting" with the subject matter.
For example, if you are designing a lesson to demonstrate what it may have been like to be royalty (or be a servant to royalty) as game of "The King/Queen Says" may be a fun way to do it. Played exactly like "Simon Says," this game will give children an opportunity not only to experience different roles in medieval life, but will also have them thinking about what sorts of commands a king or queen may have given servants during this time (i.e. "The Queen says go to the kitchen and get her a snack!" "The King says sharpen his sword!").
Continue to plan Green Room lessons in this manner to achieve optimal lesson diversity throughout your week and across classrooms, remembering to integrate some B.A.S.I.C.S. into lessons taught. By the end of the week your young learners should have experienced what it may have felt like to be royalty back in medieval times, and will be more than ready to participate in next week's Medieval Feast and Faire!
RED ROOM LESSONS
BLUE ROOM LESSONS
GREEN ROOM LESSONS
RED ROOM LESSONS