Friday, July 4, 2014

Medieval Shield Project

(So, I'm going to pretend like I've been blogging this whole time! Long story short, class was misery and I'd rather not think about those kids one moment longer than I needed to! I'll be moving to a 6th grade high achiever class for next year, so hopefully I'll have more inspiration!)

This past year, I brought back a fun project for my students to work on - the Medieval Shield!

My students get to design their own Medieval Shield, complete with symbols that symbolize who THEY are. I tie it into the Medieval unit, which is about two chapters in our social studies books.... It works nicely with the Feudal System and Knights.

I'll tell you one thing, students love to talk about their favorite topic - THEMSELVES.

The shield has six openings, so I have my students pick six symbols. They have a rough draft shield to sketch their symbols on first and plan out their shield before I give them the construction paper cut out.

Additionally, because I feel guilty if my students are not constantly writing about something... they have to complete at least a paragraph that explains why they chose each symbol. The paragraph requirement depends on the class/level/attitude of the students that I'm teaching. If they can handle more, the requirement goes up. If we can actually get to the computer lab, then their paragraphs have to be typed.

Additionally, even the background color should symbolize an emotion or feeling that the students can tie to themselves. Here are a few links that you can use. I was planning on re-doing my instruction guide this year, however... I'm moving back to 6th grade. So, I'm not going to bother (haha!) since it's all Ancient History, not Medieval!

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  1. I love the shields!! Middle schoolers do love to talk about themselves, what a great project to tie it to the SS curriculum. Great job! Sorry to hear you had a tough year! Do you use any Whole Brain Teaching strategies?? There are some AMAZING strategies to help your most challenging students be on task, put in effort, and also to motivate them to continue to improve. I hope next year is better!!

    Meador in the Middle with Whole Brain Teaching

  2. You posted! I am so proud of you! Those shields looked great! I know this last year was rough, but I am so excited to have you back in 6th and right across the pod!

  3. I understand about your year... I had a whopper too! I had to decompress before I started to blog again. I love the shield. We are knights at my school so I could see them doing this for the cover of their interactive notebook. Have a great summer!

  4. I love your shields! My students (6th grade) do something very similar each year - they need to draw the symbols on their shield, then write about what each symbol means and how it applies to themselves (for example, if the symbol stands for bravery, they need to explain how they show bravery when they stand up for a bullied friend, etc.)
    It sounds like you'll have a better year coming up!

  5. I'm hoping your next year goes better than this last one! I wonder if it would work for the shields to talk about what medieval people actually used to symbolize different feelings or actions, and why they chose those things? I write the website and I'd be willing to research those symbols and write this shield project up with a list of the symbols if you'd be interested. But I know you're not teaching this next year - we do a lot of ancient stuff too though.

  6. This is a fantastic idea!! I'm teaching sixth grade this year after teaching fifth grade last year, so this project is not only beautifully done but it could be the performance task at the end of an amazing unit ! Thank you for sharing:) Carol Beaumont

  7. These shields are awesome! I bet it really makes the history stick for the sudents. Plus, the paragraphs about each symbol work for common core, huh?

  8. I love this idea! I think it is a great way to incorporate social studies and language arts. Students do love to talk about themselves and this would be a great activity for symbols for language arts and medieval times in social studies. I think if students create something on their own, the meaning of a word "sticks" better!

  9. I absolutely love this project. I love integrating Social Studies, Art and Writing in one assignment. This is such a valuable project. Thank you very much for sharing the idea as well as the pictures.
    Renee (AKA Madame Kenny)

  10. Is there a link to the shield or a place to purchase?

  11. Those shields look fabulous - what a great idea. I love that they combine different skills and learning. You could also use this approach to create banners and flags. Thanks for sharing.

  12. What an awesome idea for middle school social studies. I am student teaching right now and the class is learning about the medieval time period. I think this would be a great addition to the teachers unit plan.


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