Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Medieval/Fantasy Resources for your Classroom Theme: Part 2

Continuing on with some awesome medieval themed classroom resources, check out writing and art ideas below. If you're looking for math, reading, and general knowledge resources, head to Medieval/Fantasy Resources for your Classroom Theme: Part 1.



Writing

Castle for Sale is a freebie! Get those budding real estate agents to thinking with a fun persuasive writing assignment.


Dragon Persuasive Writing allows students to choose between 3 scenarios in which they need to persuade a dragon to do something. The assignment is set up in the OREO format.


Dragon Profiles: Creative Writing features dragons responding to a dragon rider's newspaper advertisement.


Fairy Tale Story Map is a freebie graphic organizer to help set up some fantasy fun.



Art


Water Color Castles are a beautiful way to incorporate art into a subject. We used ours for creative writing for fantasy kingdoms. Check out the link for more examples for inspiration.



Dragon Eyes started all sorts of dragon inspired activities in our classroom. More beautiful student examples are posted for additional inspiration for your students.



Try making a stained glass window with this fun activity. I didn't have the materials on hand when I spur of the moment wanted to do this activity, so I ended up making a construction paper outline, copying it and turning it into a polygon identification activity. Cutting out the white areas, the students glued tissue paper to the cut sections to create the stained glass look.  It was a bit too time consuming, so it'll be adjusted in the future. It did look fantastic though!



Make a castle bulletin board and post your themed activities for all to see. The castle bulletin board has examples of spelling line art that our class completed. Just pick an image and have the students recreate it using their spelling words repeated to create lines. We made knights, shields, dragons, castles, and stained glass window spelling drawings.


That's all for now! If you started on this post, don't forget to check out Part 1 of this post for math, reading, and general knowledge resources. Also, if anyone desires, I can track down my favorite medieval themed video clips to post. Let me know in the comments, and the hunt will begin. Best of luck with your classroom theme!





Medieval/Fantasy Resources for Your Classroom Theme: Part 1


One of my favorite themes of the year is my medieval-themed trimester. Originally this was slated for the third trimester, but soon outgrew the trimester as there's really just so many ways to implement this theme in my third grade classroom!



As all you fellow theme-crazed and inspired teachers know, it takes a lot of time and effort to compile resources and comb sites for background information and fun projects. To save you a little time, I have compiled some of my favorite sites and resources for my medieval/fantasy themed trimester.

This post is organized by General Knowledge, Reading, and Math resources. Writing and Art resources are featured in the next post. There's a link below or you can head that way now.


General Knowledge



Beacon Learning Center created a nice interactive on knights and the medieval hierarchy called Knight in the Night. I used this with a worksheet with review questions and vocabulary focus for homework or for a computer station in the classroom.





Skipton Castle - An English Castle. Lots of great information and some fun resources to print and use.






Medieval Siege Engines are a great way to incorporate some STEM into your theme. Learn about siege engines here and check out my Medieval and Castles Theme Pinterest Board for some ideas on building catapults. YouTube is a great resources for siege engine videos.




Learn the lingo for parts of the castle with this freebie worksheet. These terms show up quite often in stories, on worksheets, and in video clips.






BBC has an amazing wealth of information and resources on the site Hands on History: The Normans! Too bad I don't live in England where we could field trip to a castle! How cool would that be?!




Build your own castle model for book reports, class projects, or for a model to launch marshmallows at with your own newly built catapult!


More general Medieval Themed Ideas on my Pinterest Board Medieval/Castles Theme for the Classroom.



Reading


I have used Castle in the Attic for whole group and small group centers rotations. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow a whole set from another elementary school library.




I love Castle Diary! This one has featured as small group reading in centers and sometimes as small groups lead by me. I would love to do this one whole class, but lack of books hasn't made that a reality. I scrounge copies from the local libraries and school libraries to get enough for center rotations.



A to Z Mysteries: The Castle Crime was a quick great read whole class. This was a,"Oh look, it's a $1 deal from Scholastic and would work well for our theme!", kind of book. Bring on the whole class sets, yes!!



Everything a good fantasy needs! Magic, knights, magicians, and ogres! We read The Time Warp Trio: Knights of the Kitchen Table as a whole class because I was able to get the whole set on loan from the public library! The worksheet and activity set that I used is here.




Bad Wolf Press has a great array of musicals. I have many of their musicals and just love them. They are so much fun to perform at the end of the year. Good Manners: A Medieval Quest for Polite Behavior is great for reading too if you don't want to do a complete performance. I usually create review worksheets and a test to gain grades.



Math



Knight Division Color By Square worksheet is a nice review filler for your early finishers or the during testing so can't teach new content season. ☺



Plan out a castle siege using elapsed time! The project page features a castle surrounded by siege engines.




11 activities are completed in Quest for the Kingdom: An End of the Year Math Review Project- Gamification Style. Students level up through the medieval hierarchy in a gamification math review and create a keepsake notebook with all the themed activities.




Keep track of the knight's earnings and losses at the tournament in Tournament Checkbook: Leveled Addition and Subtraction. The story and accompanying worksheet is leveled to allow for differentiation.



The King is throwing a feast. It is your job to set the King's table with the correct amount of food and cutlery using fractions of a group. Check out the blog post on Medieval Feast Fractions for more information.  



Another color by square worksheet. This time is rounding to hundreds. There are other fun medieval and fantasy themed color by square worksheets too. I'd recommend searching their site for the topics you'd like.



Students become Castle Architects and build a castle with 2 floors in the keep and a surrounding curtain wall by using perimeter and area. Read more about the project on my blog post.





Medieval Themed Resources for Writing and Art in the next post!




Friday, April 21, 2017

Pirate Arrays Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunts and Pirates go together! Great for birthday parties, adventures, active imaginations, and now for the classroom! ☺



After creating my Pirate Treasure Hallway Hunt, I wanted to have a similar treasure hunt that would be useful in the classroom. The hallway is great, but is reserved for special events. I wanted the same fun, but contained in my classroom. It'd still get the students out of their desk, engage them in more pirate themed treasure hunt fun, and of course practice and review important subject content.




The Pirate Arrays Treasure Hunt focuses on arrays and covers the following:

♦ identifying the correct array from equations
♦ writing equations for a given array
♦ drawing arrays for an equation
♦ splitting larger arrays into smaller arrays
♦ identifying errors in a pictured array



19 pirate themed question clues are hung around the classroom. The fronts of the cards have letters to unlock a secret message while the backs have the review questions.




Students carry with them a student folder with the secret message to be decoded on top, a treasure map to fill in as questions are answered, and the student answer sheet packet. The treasure map makes it handy to keep track visually of what questions have been answered and to allows students to easily pick up where they left off if completing the treasure hunt over the course of a few sessions.




The final clue sends students to you, their captain, for a quick check of their work. If all passes muster, on to the treasure chest of goodies they go!



To obtain this treasure of a math review, head on over to my TpT store.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New World Explorers Skits- Freebies!

What happens when you get bored with reading the social studies textbook? Create skits instead of course! :) I love teaching history. Sometimes though, history can be rather dry when explaining the happenings of people and events.

I love teaching about the Explorers of the New World. Such adventure and exploration changed the future of nations. I was in my first few years of teaching and didn't have all the fun resources and tool kits ideas gathered yet. Sticking to the textbook was a good starting place, but after a few chapters, it was time for something new.

Find it here!


I had quite a lot of fun writing skits to use in small groups to cover the New France and Spanish Borderlands sections in the textbook. Over the years, we performed these as reader's theaters and also would film with a dedicated group of actors willing to give up their recess time. It was an adventure. I do recommend allowing the students to perform it in some manner. Otherwise some of the humor falls flat.

After 5 years in 5th grade, it was time for the new adventure of tackling another grade. Though my focus has been all things 3rd grade in the last years, I found these skits and dusted them off to share with anyone else needing a change of pace.

Also included is a worksheet with review questions about the historical parts of the skit, an answer key, and teacher information with additional historical notes. Have fun! If you enjoyed it, I'd love to hear about it. Comment below or leave comments and ratings on TPT. Thanks and best of luck this year!

Find it here!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Castle Siege: Elapsed Time Activity

It doesn't take long when delving into medieval themed fun for the classroom to become intrigued with medieval siege engines. Seriously, how dedicated were they in kingdom conquest to lug massive and extremely heavy siege engines across far distances in the hope they would win the victory? Also, for the time period, I'm impressed with the sophisticated technology. For those of you teaching 3rd grade, siege engines are a nice tie in to simple machines too.


We had already played with building catapults in class and launching them at our castles we built as Castle Architects for a unit in perimeter and area. The end of the year was fast approaching and lo and behold the ever daunting end of year testing was looming. In comes the giant review project game, Quest for the Kingdom-An End of Year Math Review Project: Gamification Style, and I have another opportunity to incorporate siege engines into a fun assignment for the game.



Castle Siege: Elapsed Time Activity is born. In the game, this activity is at the Lord level. As a lord, your duty is to protect your land and people from attack. Earlier in the game, a neighboring country had and damaged the manor. The king orders retaliation and now it is time to lay siege in return. The activity as a stand alone assignment sets the stage at the siege with no backstory from the game.

Students are given the amount of time each siege engine will take to be in the right place for the siege start time. Students work backwards to find the set off time for each siege engine in order for everything to be ready for the official siege start.

There are 2 options for solving the elapsed time problems. I am in love with arrow language. It has been quite a useful notation for addition and subtraction and can be used for elapsed time as well. If you'd like to see how to use arrow language with elapsed time, check out my freebie here. No more messy stacking and weird subtraction for elapsed time, thank you very much. (Bad memories from when I was a student!) Arrow Language to the rescue! As such, using arrow language is my preferred method for this activity. It is rather structured for the students to allow ease of subtraction. It also includes clock faces for visual aids and also to practice drawing times on clocks. The other option for solving elapsed time is with using clock faces on their own.



Each option has its own project pages with siege engines and time label slips. The arrow language option has time slips for the project page with arrow language on the slips. The second option has students writing the start times on labeled slips to add to the project page.



After determining the start times, students cut out the siege engine and corresponding time slips and glue them into positions surrounding the castle. A layout page is included to show how to organize the project pieces on the page. You can glue the worksheets on the back or hand those in separately.


The stage is set. It is up to the lord's strategy and the student's imagination on whether the siege will be successful or not. Perhaps the next activity would be to determine how much time students need to build siege engines to test. 😉



Check out my blog posts on Arrow Language and Quest for the Kingdom below if interested.

Arrow Language Blog Post


Blog Post



Friday, April 7, 2017

Quest for the Kingdom: An End of the Year Math Review Project: Gamification Style

That's a very long name. It is accurate though! It is also completely my style of project. Why not combine the idea of gamification where students level up, earn badges, and unlock rewards with my ever favorite notebook projects!




I'm laughing a bit as I write this, because I remember commenting on how my Castle Architect Project had sooooo many pages. Well, this one has it beat by 30 pages! Apparently, I like really big projects in general.

So what is this Quest for the Kingdom: An End of the Year Math Review Project: Gamification Style? It is a 3rd grade math review that has been put in a medieval game format and keeps track of all the themed activities in a notebook that makes a great keepsake of 3rd grade.


Prepping everything at the beginning allows the students to flow through the game assignments at their own pace. File folders with the levels are posted with the activities in them. Hang them on the wall, and let the students go! File folders have color or black and white options for printing.






The game has students leveling up through a medieval hierarchy. Students start off as a Serf and working in the village garden (arrays) and work their way up through Peasant, Page, Squire, Knight, Lord, and finally to the very top, the Monarch! Each activity is themed for not just medieval times but relates to the hierarchy level as well. So while the serfs, peasants, and pages tend to do more manual labor, the knights and lords are protecting the people and country.


9 Activities and 2 Bonus Activities:

♦ Village Garden- Arrays
♦ Curtain Wall- Polygons and Multiplication
♦ Feast Fractions- Fractions of groups, unit fractions, story problems
♦ Tournament Checkbook- Addition and Subtraction
♦ Catch the Brigidane Band- Bar Graphs, Tally Charts, Data Analysis
♦ Queen's Jewelry Sort- Sorting Polygons
♦ Manor Repair Calculations-Multiplication and Addition
♦ Repair Taxes- Subtraction and Division
Castle Siege- Elapsed Time
♦ Bonus Badge #1- Cursive Letter and Data Analysis
♦ Bonus Badge #2-Siege Engine Attack- Division









Also Included:

♦ Teacher Information Pages
♦ Notebook Layout Pages
♦ Teacher Assignment Tracker
♦ Project Grading Sheet
♦ File Folder Labels for displaying the level assignments- available in color and black and white
♦ Game Badges in color and black and white





We like to make Quest Time fun with quest music. When the quest music plays, students drop everything and start questing. When the music stops, quest time is finished! When students level up, an official announcement is made and everyone cheers! It is a big deal! If students choose to do the Bonus Badges, special privileges are unlocked like computer medieval game time or loads of class money.


For the end of the year, it is nice to have a review project that motivates students to keep learning. Some of the activities are straight forward, others are definitely more of a challenge. The fun comes in creating a mini medieval society where the monarch gets to rule the class and make commands ( temporarily and of course under express permission from the supreme commander.)

Head on over to Morsel Tidbits to check out Quest for the Kingdom and good luck leveling up!

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More fun to add to your notebooks!

You can expand on the notebook by adding art and creative writing too if you want to extend past the math review. I get a little carried away with my themes sometimes, so my notebooks end up with stories and art as well. For some fun dragon creative writing, check out my posts on Dragon Persuasive Writing and Dragon Profiles.

One particular picture started all sorts of dragon fun in our notebooks. The Dragon Eye was beautifully created by a girl named Grace in year 4/5 from the blog Once Upon an Art Room. Check out the post for a lot more Dragon Eye Art. So beautiful! Ours turned out well too.