The Grade 5 students at C.P. Blakely Elementary School have been learning about medieval culture and celebrated what they learned during a recent medieval evening.
They had recently studied 11th and 12th centuries and were eager to show what they had learned.
Students and teachers were dressed in theme.
The night started out in the school’s gymnasium with many different medieval games such as stilt walking, sword fighting, jousting and arm wrestling.
Then it was time to head over to the Sylvan Lake Community Centre where the students and their families would wine and dine like people would have in the medieval era.
The room was decorated with the artwork the students had done – as well as shields, masks, portraits of kings, jokers and knights.
Dinner included bread and stew and other medieval nibbles.
A head table of queens and kings were seated on the stage, dressed in their finest royal attire. Guards were positioned on the stairs to ward off ‘invaders’.
The head table was served their food first. A taster brought out the first plate of food and performed his duty to his disposal. The food just so happened to be poisoned and the students acted as though he was choking and pretended to die on the spot.
A second taster then came in. The food she carried had not been poisoned.
After eating, everyone enjoyed the acrobatics that were performed, along with sword fights.
The students learned about knights, castles, food and siege stories through different writing activities.
“It has been a great time of engagement for the majority of the kids,” said Grade 5 teacher, Regan Lynn. “We have discussed the pride and quality of work that we have seen from the kids. Most stuff has been really well done. It has been neat to see the kids work diligently and put forth their best efforts.”
When learning about castles, Lynn said the children were interested to learn about their many different parts, as they had not realized there were so many.
They also learned that it could take around 15 years to become a knight.
“They just thought it was the castle walls but then you talk about the sieges and how they protected themselves – it’s quite ingenious,” Lynn said. “We bring a variety of different parts of the castle up to make it more informative for them.”
The children learned how castles were cold and damp with their main purpose being to protect those within. Comfort wasn’t a priority.
Learning how to write calligraphy style was another aspect of the medieval era the students learned and tried out for themselves. They learned about sealing the letters with wax.
“Times were treacherous and that was their way of protecting their messages,” Lynn said.
Overall the most valuable lesson learned was about the social inequality present during this time period, in particular the sexism that occurred.
“Women were important but weren’t considered equals,” Lynn said regarding the medieval culture. “Then you had peasants who couldn’t really get into the nobility. If you were born poor, too bad for you.”
“Now you can be rich, poor and have opportunities to do anything you want. Back then you really didn’t have that option. You were born into a station,” he added.
Education was also discussed; including how boys were the ones who had the opportunity and that it was considered a waist of time and money to educate a noble girl.
This raised a reaction in some of the girls.
“I said ‘hey that’s not my message, that was the thought process back then’,” Lynn said. “Things have changed and that’s awesome but that’s just how females were viewed back then.”
Lynn made sure to point out how things have changed for the better.