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About The Knight at Dawn and Knights and Castles: A Nonfiction Companion to The Knight at Dawn

In The Knight at Dawn, Jack and Annie travel back in time to medieval England for an adventure inside a storybook castle, from feasting hall to dreadful dungeon.

What was it like to wear armor? What was the food like in castles? Find the answers inKnights and Castles: A Nonfiction Companion to The Knight at Dawn, as Jack and Annie explain what life was really like in medieval times.

 

Classroom Connections

Activities for The Knight at Dawn

  • Make a knight’s helmet by cutting off the top of a gallon-sized milk jug. Cut and shape the remaining piece and cover with foil cut into strips or scallop shapes. Decorate with scraps of paper or other materials.
  • Construct a model of a Medieval Castle using cardboard, posterboard, paper towel tubes, Legos or other available materials.
  • East Meets West, Land Meets SeaHave students think about how knights, ninjas, pirates, and vikings acted during the time they were alive. Then bring them to life in improvisational skits, pairing students in a series of role-playing combinations: Knight/Ninjas, Pirate/Viking, Knight/Viking, Pirate/Ninja. Performances may be given a fun personal touch with topics, such as: My ship is better than your ship; a warrior’s home is his castle; a book is a treasure greater than gold.Curriculum:
    • Creative Drama
    • Social Studies

     


Activities for Knights and Castles: A Nonfiction Companion to The Knight at Dawn

  • Please Pass the Salt!Discuss the main food groups of today and compare them with the food eaten during medieval times. Also compare place settings and utensils. Then have students design menus illustrating the similarities and differences between a modern and a medieval feast.Curriculum:
    • Health

     

  • The Royal Family Feud!Jack and Annie have been studying the concepts of feudalism and social class. Divide the class into teams and have each team create a poster of the social classes represented in a pyramid. Write facts about each social class on index cards. Have students flip the cards and decide which facts apply to which class. The side that first completes its pyramid is the conqueror.

    Curriculum:

    • Language Arts

     

  • Dressed to Kill!The system of coats of arms is called heraldry. Ask students to list the characteristics that best describe themselves and to choose symbols or pictures that represent those traits, such as a lion to show bravery. Then have them create their own coats of arms.

    Curriculum:

    • Social Studies
    • Art

     

  • Is Chivalry Dead?Is Chivalry Dead? Jack and Annie are amazed at the rules that existed during the Middle Ages. Brainstorm with the class about good and bad manners. Discuss the difference in manners of medieval times and those of today. Which medieval rules should be brought back today, if any? Have students role-play various scenarios to exemplify chivalrous behavior.

    Curriculum:

    • Social Studies

 


Teaching ideas provided by Jamay Johnson, second grade teacher; Melinda Murphy, media specialist, Reed Elementary School, Cypress Fairbranks Independent School District, Houston, Texas; and Rosemary B. Stimola, Ph.D., professor of children’s literature at City University of New York, and educational and editorial consultant to publishers of children’s books.