So… to start with an introduction. Intro… Intro… Intro… Oh well 😔. Maybe I’ll try a different tactic. Back to the bullet points:
Working everyday! Not getting payed! Not having enough food! That is what life was like for most people in the Middle Ages.
We just finished a project on Change and Continuity in the Middle Ages. Imagine living back then! It would have been really difficult, especially if you were a serf. We started the project by learning about the feudal system. We did a lot of fun activities around this, including each picking a different role. I ended up as a serf and a merchant, and I wrote some interesting things on this. (To be visited later).
The driving question for this project was: What was life like in the Middle Ages? How does it compare to today?
We started with the Comprehend competency. What literacy skills did I use to read, listen, and view texts that we studied for understanding? I’m actually kind of impressed with myself on this one. I read A LOT and I didn’t realize that some of the things I do while reading help me understand the text more. These include, but are not limited to (hee hee. I really wanted to say that. I feel like I sound like a government article! Anyways): Visualizing myself in the book, highlighting and looking up words I don’t know, and writing a little note at the end of each chapter.
Pink = Passages I find interesting and helpful
Blue = Words I don’t know
My favorite technique is visualizing myself in a book. I feel like I’m actually there. I can get lost in a book, unaware of what’s going on around me. Sometimes I pretend that it’s like a movie, with headshots and music. I feel like what I’m saying inside my head is reality. I completely understand what is happening in the book, and I feel like everything the characters feel, I feel too. I the emotions of the characters aren’t always written clearly in the book, and you need to puzzle them out. I think that if you pretend you are there with them, you really feel what they do, and you can understand their emotions.
The second competency is identifying Continuity and Change. How are lives and conditions alike over time, and how have they changed? To figure out this competency, we made a keynote of somethings that have changed, and ones that have stayed the same. The ones that me and my partner Nate made (you can visite his blog here) were communication as change, and golf as continuity.
Here is a slider of some of the different slides we made. The ones I made were on change. They were called How and What. I think that when researching communication in the Middle Ages, I realized that then and now is very different.
I think I had a bit of trouble at the start with this competency. I didn’t understand how to show that things have changed or stayed the same. I really worked on it through the project, and by this presentation – which was the last milestone- I think I kind of understood it. It’s all about finding evidence to show what it was like back then. That’s the hard part. The easy part is showing evidence for now, because “now” is where we are! Another thing I didn’t really understand was how we know what it used to be like. This ties back into the evidence, but really do we know all this 100 %? Now I’m asking all these hard questions, but I really want to know. Is it possible that all the discoveries we think we are making now, for example iPhones. What if we used to have things WAY more advanced than this, but suddenly something happened and it was all destroyed. Even though I don’t like all types of history, these kinds fascinate me.
My favourite milestone we did along the way was the Character Letter. This was a pretty long milestone, but I found it amazing! We started by getting specific roles from the feudal system. Mine was a merchant. We then wrote a letter from the point of view of this character. I decided to put a creative spin on it, and write it from the point of view of a merchants son. There were certain things we had to cover in our writing. These included a description of where we lived, a description of our day, and other interesting facts. I might have said this in earlier posts, but I love to write. I am currently trying to write a series of short stories about a girl and the ocean. Anyways, I really enjoyed writing this letter.
April 11, 1995
Left on a basket left out from yesterday
I’m righting this letter to you as a goodbye. I have reached the age of 14, and I feel it is now my time to go explore the world. I shall take my best friend Scruff, and all my belongings. I hope that I shall meet you again, maybe in a dream or maybe in reality. This letter is also a thank you, as I would not of been able to write it without your secret schooling. I know you learned from your father, who was a knight. I will never forget that he died when you too were fourteen; protecting our dear England. I feel as though a life as a merchant is not for me, but after my explorations I shall return and see. I know you work very hard everyday. You collect your wool from the peasants who gather and sheer it, and then the hourlong journey by carte that you take to the market every other day. O the market. I have been going there for so long to help you sell your wool that I think I have become a bit overwhelmed. I am so accustomed to the shouts of the vendors that it just blurs into one. I took Scruff to the market last day, and I tried experiencing it from his point of view; the first time I experienced the overall amount of desperation and longing from the workers. I feel as though Scruff has been scarred from this experience, although I cannot ask.
My favourite part of our life together is our relationship. I feel as though we bond ever closer each day we go to the market. I loved playing the games you made up, from tag to throw the stick. These are my best memories so far, apart from speaking to Scruff. Thank you for always being cheerful, even when times were bad.
Now I’m not saying that I shall grow tired of Leicester city, or our humble house. I shall think fondly of those old wooden walls. Of the creaky old ladder that leads up to my straw bed under the beams of the attic. I loved the dirt path that lead up to from the highway just beyond. I do sometimes stare longingly at the larger houses of some of the richer children, but I always come back to our sweet, modest home. I try to share all my longings with Scruff, but he doesn’t seem to understand. He is so innocent. It is quite calming to pet his soft, feathery down. I am glad I finally have a best friend. I have longed for someone to share my thoughts and inner feelings with. When I try to share them with the other village children, they just laugh and run away. At least Scruff doesn’t run. I think he enjoys my company, although he never gives any indication. Sometimes when I feel particularly lonely, I give Scruff a voice, and I imagine that he was human. He is a real person of course, just not one of our kind. His voice is all quacky, but I don’t mind. I find it endearing he answers back to my conversation.
I’m righting this letter after we returned from the market. I remember today very clearly for some reason. Usually the days all blur into one. First we woke at sunrise. The rooster crowed and startled Scruff. We arose and fixed ourself a large breakfast of porridge. I helped you pack the wool you had gathered from the night before. After, I went outside to affix the donkey to the cart while you finished prepping your wears. I got donkey saddled up and went to gather the wool. On the ride to the market you asked me “Son, I won’t be around forever. So what do you plan to do with your life?”. “I don’t know, Father”, I replied. That was an odd question, and it got me thinking. Did I really want what he did? I didn’t have an option. You did what you were born into. But there was another option, I could run away. So here I am now, writing hunched over on my small cot, with the sun setting though the cracks in the wall.
I apologize for the grief I may cause you. Our business may not continue without me, but I shall try to return. The probability of me righting again is low, as in my new life, people of my class do not read or write.
One last farewell Father. I bid you good luck for the rest of your life.
Your son, Oiffi.
When I was writing this letter I was in a weird mood. I wrote it about a boy who is unhappy with his life. He is very lonely. His best friend is a duck named Scruff.
This is kind of another Milestone, but during this project we also read a book. This book was called The Book of the Lion. It’s set in 1195 and is about a young boy – Edmund – and his experiences with the crusades. Each week we wrote or did an activity about that third of the book. For week 1 I was a Creative Comparer. This meant that I had to compare things in my life to the book. For week 2 I was an Artful Artist. I made a beautiful drawing about the important parts of the book. For week 3 a was Smart Summarizer. I summarized that third of the book.
*Ahem. Well, over all, I think I did a pretty good job on this project. I definitely tried my hardest on the project. I think that I struggled a bit with some of the milestones and some of the competencies. I tried my hardest and am pretty proud of my work.