The weekend after a block ends is always a very busy one.
This time our school had an open house, which gave me the perfect opportunity to camp out in my classroom and get ready for the next block
On Monday we start our Medieval History block.
I’m starting off the block by finishing up the end of Rome. I had planned on telling the biography of Jesus during our Geometry block, but for various reasons, that didn’t happen. So, this is what I’m looking at for week one . . .
- Monday — biography of Jesus
- Tuesday — Constantine (see the drawing above)
- Wednesday — fall of Rome
- Thursday — biography of Muhammad
- Friday — biography of Muhammad
In my mind, there are two different parts of the Middle Ages block.
- What happens in Europe following the fall of Rome.
- What happens in the rest of the world during this period.
In my training at Rudolf Steiner College, they recommended moving into the European picture following the fall of Rome. I’ve decided to use the arrival of the Dark Ages in Europe as an opportunity to move to another part of the world. It’s sort of like, “While Europe was asleep in the Dark Ages, there were things happening in the rest of the world.”
Waldorf Sixth Grade Islam
Taking a look at the rise of Islam is the perfect thing to do at this time. We’ve had a break from history, we’re feeling a bit detached from the Romans and we’re overdue for examining other cultures and the rest of the world. Due to the constitution of my class this time around, I am giving particular thoughtfulness to our study of Islam. I’ve really enjoyed the research and there are some fantastic resources out there.
- Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet is a great PBS video that is available on YouTube and elsewhere. I remember watching this video the first time I taught this block and it is just as good now as it was then.
- Muhammad by Marilyn Tower Oliver is a basic book about the life of Muhammad from the library. You can probably find a basic book about the life of Muhammad from your own public library in the juvenile section.
- Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time is a great book by Karen Armstrong. It is completely digestible and gives a richer picture than what you get in books from the kids’ section of the library. This book is an update of her book, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. I am always hesitant to rely on resources from the adult section of the library (a week’s worth of reading yields two days’ worth of main lesson content) but for this topic I want to be thorough and I’m enjoying the reading.
- Islam: A Short History is another good one from Karen Armstrong.
I plan on spending about a week and a half on Islam this time around. In addition to the life of Muhammad we’ll cover . . .
- The Five Pillars of Islam
- The Four Rightly Guided Caliphs
- The schism between Suni and Shia
- Stories from Arabian Nights
In addition to main lesson content, with my last class we visited a mosque and this time around we have an opportunity to have an Islamic calligrapher come teach the class. At Rudolf Steiner College it was recommended to explore Islamic calligraphy after learning English calligraphy as part of the European portion of the Middle Ages block, but I plan to take advantage of this opportunity anyway.
Following our Islamic studies, I plan to spend a few days studying medieval Japan, particularly the life of a Samurai, and the biographies of Miyamoto Musashi and the poet Basho.