Fourth Grade - World History - Overview - February

This month's topic, the Middle Ages, is a continuation of last month's subject matter. The material is covered in both lessons and performance assessment tasks. The lessons should be completed before the tasks and ideally the tasks should be completed in the numbered sequence. While knowledge of the content of these lessons is not necessary for success in the performance assessment tasks, familiarity with the subject matter will aid in the children's understanding.
Some of the Literature performance assessment tasks this month are also related to the Middle Ages. Between the History and Literature tasks the students will be reading for information and for literary enjoyment, using a table to gather information, and constructing a glyph.

Fourth Grade - World History - Lesson 27- The Norman Conquest

Become familiar with the Norman Conquest of England.

Classroom-size world map

Suggested Books
Teacher Reference
Hodges, C. Walter. The Norman Conquest. New York: Coward-McCann, 1966
May, Robin. William the Conqueror and the Normans. New York: Bookwright Press, 1985.
Sauvain, Philip. Castles and Crusaders. New York: Warwick Press, 1986.
Unstead, R. J. The Middle Ages: Looking at History Book Two. London: A & C Black, 1974.
Pages 6 and 7 of this book contain photographs of sections of the tapestry and descriptions of what each section shows.

Teacher Note:
The Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Battle of Hastings, is covered in the Art lessons this month. If you are able to obtain a photograph of the tapestry, have the students look at it and try to pick out events from the battle after having been exposed to the basic sequence of events in this lesson. Ask leading questions. For instance, the students may see boats filled with soldiers and you could ask if that tapestry scene was showing the Normans or the Saxons and which destination. (The Normans traveled by boat from France to England.)
Since the Bayeux Tapestry tells not only the story of the battle, but also the events that led up to the battle, students may also be able to glean details about the battle that they did not know before. Have the students look at the arms and armor used during this time and the fortifications that were built for protection.

Ask the students to recall that Germanic tribes invaded areas of the Roman Empire causing the empire to be divided. Ask: Does someone remember the name of the Germanic tribe that invaded what is today England? (the Saxons) Tell the students that after attacking the northeast coast of England, the Saxons took control of England from the Romans.
Tell the students that the Saxons ruled in England for hundreds of years from about 500 A.D. until about 1066 A.D. Relay to the students the following information:
In 1042 the Saxon throne passed to a king named Edward. Although Edward was a Saxon, he had lived in a part of France called Normandy for much of his life. (Tell the students that Normandy is a region of northern France. Show the students on the classroom world map.) Because of this he felt more of a connection to the Normans than he did the Saxons. Edward did not have any sons to take his place as king, so he promised his throne to Duke William of Normandy, who was also known as William the Conqueror. When Edward died, a Saxon duke named Harold seized the throne before William of Normandy was able to claim it.

Ask: What do you think happened after Harold seized the Saxon throne when it had already been promised to William? (The two men fought over the right to rule England.) Tell the students that William sailed with his troops from Northern France across the English Channel to England.

Explain to the students that the English Channel is the strip of water that separates southern England from France. Show the students the location of the English Channel on the classroom world map. Tell the students that the effort of the Normans to take over England is called the Norman Conquest. Write the term on the board. Explain that the word conquest means the act of conquering a nation.
Explain that when Harold received word that William the Conqueror was coming to England, he led troops to stop the Norman invaders. The two armies met not far from where the Normans landed and fought in a battle called the Battle of Hastings (write on the board). Tell the students that Harold was killed in the battle and William was crowned as the new English king.
Ask: Since William was from another country, do think life in England changed under his rule? In what ways can you imagine it changed? (He brought his culture with him. The Norman culture meshed with the Saxon culture.) Why?

Fourth Grade - World History - Lesson 28 - England in the Middle Ages

Identify that Henry II established the right to trial by jury.
Describe the significance of the right to trial by jury.

Suggested Books
Teacher Reference
Biel, Timothy Levi. The Age of Feudalism. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1994.
Hirsch, E. D. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Unstead, R. J. The Middle Ages: Looking at History Book Two. London: A & C Black, 1974.

Tell the students that after William the Conqueror took over the throne of England, the Normans ruled in England for about 200 years. Remind the students that during this time the cultures of the Saxons and the Normans meshed together. For example, the languages of the Normans and Saxons mixed and changed over time to become what we know as the English language.
Tell the students that in the years that followed William's reign the throne was passed on to William's relatives. In the mid-twelfth century William's great grandson Henry became the king of England. Explain that just as presidents in our country are remembered for the accomplishments during their presidency, kings are also remembered for their accomplishments. Explain that King Henry II is remembered as having established a law that even today is one of the most important rights given to people and that is the right to trial by jury.
Ask: Is this a right that people in our country also have? (yes) Tell the students that in the American judicial system today we are guaranteed the right to a speedy, public trial by an impartial jury. Explain the the word impartial means that the jury does not know the accused and therefore shouldn't favor one person or another. By establishing this right to trial in England, Henry II set an example that other nations around the world have followed. Ask: Why is the right to trial by jury an important right to have?
Tell the students they are now going to hear an example of how this worked in medieval times (from What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch):

Let's say that you are a knight, the vassal of a feudal lord, and you're arguing with another knight about which of you owns a magnificent horse. You know that you won the horse in a recent battle, but the other knight claims the horse is his. Before the system of trial by jury was invented, your case might be decided by the feudal lord. And what if the lord didn't happen to like you? Or what if he decided upon a trial by combat? In a trial by combat, "might makes right": what matters isn't who is right but who is stronger . . .
You would probably stand a better chance under the system established by Henry II. Instead of letting feudal lords decide arguments or punish crimes, Henry gave these powers to judges who would hold royal courts throughout England. This way, you could take your case before one of these royal courts. The judge would call together a jury, usually a group of twelve local people who were your social peers (people who were as high as you on the social ladder). These people would swear to tell the truth. (The word "jury" comes from the French word juror, meaning Tao swear.")
Explain that the judge would ask questions to find out who should own the horse.

Have the students discuss the significance of the right to trial by jury. Ask: What makes the right to trial by jury a more fair process of settling disputes?

Fourth Grade - World History - Lesson 29 - King Henry II of England

Become familiar with the events that occurred during the reign of King Henry II.
Discuss the significance of the Magna Carta and a Parliamentary form of government.

Suggested Books
Biel, Timothy Levi. The Age of Feudalism. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1994.
Hirsch, E. D. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.

Have the students recall what they know about King Henry II of England. Ask: What was one great accomplishment of King Henry II? (establishing the right to a trial by jury) Tell the students that in addition to this great accomplishment, King Henry II lived a life full of other noteworthy events.
Explain that by appointing judges to be in charge of royal courts, Henry II had taken power away from the feudal lords because they were no longer the ones to make decisions about people's disputes. Tell the students that during this time the Catholic church also had separate courts run by the church. Explain that King Henry wanted to make changes in the way the church's courts were run, but the pope was not willing to give up the church's power. Tell the students that in an effort to get around this Henry appointed his good friend Thomas `a Beckett to a powerful position in the church Thomas `a Beckett became the archbishop of Canterbury. Explain that King Henry thought that by appointing his friend as archbishop, Thomas `a Beckett could work from within to weaken the church courts, but this did not happen. Instead Beckett worked against the king, so King Henry had him killed.
Explain that the murder of Thomas `a Beckett upset many people. Tell the students that he was buried at Canterbury Cathedral and soon after his death the church declared him to be a saint. Beckett's burial site became a place to which people called pilgrims would travel. These people visited Beckett's grave or the tomb of another saint. When they arrived, the pilgrims would pray to the saint for help.
Tell the students that another controversy in King Henry's life was his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Tell the students that Aquitaine was an area that is part of present-day France. Explain that Eleanor was a powerful, well-educated woman who inherited a good deal of land from her father. The marriage of Henry to Eleanor made for a powerful merger because it made Henry not only the king of England, but also gave him control over a good deal of land in France. Ask: How do you think the King of France felt about that? Draw the following family tree on the board.

Henry II + Eleanor of Aquitaine
Henry Richard Geoffrey John Isabella

Tell the students that King Henry II and Eleanor had five children. Explain that when Henry II died the throne went to his son Richard. After Richard died the throne passed to his brother, John.
Tell the students that King John was not a good king. He was cruel to his subjects and
very greedy. Explain that he taxed the people very heavily and therefore even the noblemen disliked him. In 1215, King John's nobles forced him to sign a document called the Magna Carta (write on the board), which is a document that made promises about what the king could and couldn't do. Explain that the Magna Carta said that the king could raise taxes only if the nobles agreed to it, the king could not sell justice or deny it -- which meant that no one could buy his way out of punishment for a crime, and a free man could not be put in prison unless he was charged as guilty in a trial. Tell the students that the Magna Carta is an important document because it guaranteed liberty to all English citizens.
Ask: Do any of the promises made in the Magna Carta sound similar to rights that American citizens have? Explain to the students that because America began as an English colony, England gave her colonies some of the same rights enjoyed by English citizens. Also, writers of the Constitution of the United States referred to the Magna Carta when writing the Constitution, so many of the same ideas are in both documents.
Tell the students that in addition to limiting the king's power through the Magna Carta, a group called a Parliament was formed to discuss and respond to people's concerns and wishes regarding the kingdom. When Parliament began it was made up of noblemen, but over time Parliament has had representatives from many classes of society. Explain that as the system developed over hundreds of years, the system became such that the king would ask Parliament for something and in return he would possibly grant something that Parliament wanted for the people they represented. Tell the students that Parliament was the beginning of a representative government, which is another idea American government inherited from England.
Have the students recall what they know about the feudal system. Ask them to compare the hierarchy of the feudal system to the system of Parliament that developed in England. Ask: Which was a more fair way of governing a country? For example, in a feudal system serfs did not have any say in the rules by which they were forced to live, but with a Parliament or a representative government the representative spoke for the people he represented, including the common people. Ask: How is the government in our country like that of the Parliament system?

Fourth Grade - World History - Lesson 30 - The Hundred Years War and Joan of Arc

Locate, England, Scotland, and Wales on a world map.
Become familiar with the events of the Hundred Years' War.

Classroom-size world map

Suggested Books
Biel, Timothy Levi. The Age of Feudalism. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1994.
Fisher, Aileen. Jeanne D'Arc. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970.
Storr, Catherine. Joan of Arc. Milwaukee: Raintree, 1985.

Ask the students to recall the reign of King Henry II, reminding them of Thomas `a Beckett, Henry II's marriage to Eleanor, and the right to trial by jury. Direct the students' attention to the world map. Point to England. Tell the students that they will notice that England is part of an island which contains two other areas called Scotland and Wales (point to each on the map). Explain that although King Henry II was the king of England, the people who lived in Scotland and Wales resisted falling under the rule of the king of England.
Tell the students that today England, Scotland, and Wales remain separate areas which make up the island of Great Britain. Write the name of Great Britain on the board with the names of the three countries. Have students come up to the world map to locate the three areas in Great Britain. Ask: What body of water would someone who lived in England have to cross in order to get to the country of France? (the English Channel) Point out that Great Britain is bordered on all sides by water. Ask: Can someone come up to the map and locate and name the bodies of water that surround Great Britain? (the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel, and the Irish Sea)
Have a student locate the island of Ireland on the map. Tell the students that although Henry also claimed lordship over Ireland, the English never gained control of the whole island. Explain to the students that the islands of Ireland and Great Britain are also referred to as the British Isles (write on the board).
Remind the students that Henry II gained land in France from his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Tell the students that this claim to French land was passed to his son Richard and eventually his son John. Explain that the king of France was not pleased by this and wanted to get the English out of France. Tell the students that King John would not give up his French land and the conflict between England and France started the Hundred Years' War which lasted from 1337-1453. Explain that there were many small and large battles during the Hundred Years' War and even though the French soldiers usually outnumbered the English soldiers, the French came very close to losing the war.
Tell the students that a woman named Joan of Arc was the one who saved the French from defeat. Explain that Joan of Arc was a very religious French woman who said she heard voices from heaven telling her to force the English out of France. Explain that even though it was very unusual for a woman to be in a powerful leadership position, especially as a soldier, she convinced the king of France to give her an army to lead in battle against the English. Joan of Arc won many battles and helped Charles VII claim his land and his throne as king of France. Ask: How do you think the French people felt about Joan of Arc? (thought of her as a hero) Explain that although most people in France thought of her as a hero, she was captured and turned over to the English. The English tried her and charged her as being a witch for which she was burned at the stake. Tell the students that the Catholic church made Joan a saint many years later. Ask: Why do you think the church named Joan a saint? (She had a strong belief in her religion and saved her country from being taken over.)
You may wish to read Jeanne D'Arc by Aileen Fisher or Joan of Arc by Catherine Storr aloud to the class.