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St George and the Dragon by Gina Cocks
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St George and the Dragon by Gina Cocks

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  • 1. Teaching English Through the Topic A Scheme of Work designed by Gina Cocks Upper Primary Literacy, Science/Geography/History, Art Curriculum Learning Objectives through the cultural theme St George’s Day – April 23rd
  • 2. Teacher’s Information Sheet – St. George By Gina Cocks St. George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England. During the Crusade wars the English King's soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle. Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry, but actually he wasn’t English at all. St. George is believed to have been born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a Christian. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith. When the pagan Emperor Diocletian started persecuting Christians, St. George pleaded with him to spare their lives. However, St. George's pleas fell on deaf ears and it is thought that the Emperor Diocletian tried to make St. George deny his faith in Christ, by torturing him. St George showed incredible courage and faith and was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine on 23 April, 303. In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced Edward the Confessor as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day. St George is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine and Portugal amongst others, although he is celebrated on different days. The most famous legend of Saint George is of him slaying a dragon. In the Middle Ages the dragon was commonly used to represent the Devil. It is likely that the many stories connected with St George's name are fictitious. 2
  • 3. The Legend of St. George and the Dragon St. George travelled for many months by land and sea until he came to Libya. Here he met an old man who told him that everyone in that land was frightened of a dragon. 'Every day,' said the old man, 'the dragon demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and now all the young girls have been killed. The king's daughter alone remains, and unless we can find a knight who can slay the dragon she will be sacrificed tomorrow. The king of Egypt will give his daughter in marriage to the champion who overcomes this terrible monster.' When St. George heard this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so he rested that night at the old man’s house and at daybreak set out to the valley where the dragon lived. When he was near he saw a beautiful girl dressed in pure Arabian silk. She was Princess Sabra being led by her attendants to the place of death. The knight spurred his horse and overtook the ladies. He comforted them with brave words and persuaded the princess to return to the palace. 3
  • 4. As soon as the dragon saw George it rushed from its cave, roaring with a sound louder than thunder. Its head was immense and its tail fifty feet long. But George was not afraid. He struck the monster with his spear, hoping he would wound it. The dragon's scales were so hard that the spear broke and George fell from his horse. Fortunately he rolled under an enchanted orange tree. The dragon tried to kill George with his poisonous breath but the magic orange tree protected him. Within a few minutes George recovered his strength and was able to fight again. Then with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where the dragon had no scales. The dragon did not die immediately and George allowed the princess to lead it back to the castle by a rope, like a pet dog, and then he killed the dragon in front of all the people. 4
  • 5. History /Geography - St. George – Questions and Answers Where and when was St. George born? What religious beliefs did St. George follow? What was George’s job? Why did George get very angry with the Roman Emperor? Why was George tortured and beheaded in Palestine? In the Middle Ages what did the dragon often signify? George refused to give up his Christian faith so the Roman Emperor had him tortured and finally beheaded. 5
  • 6. George was a very brave Roman Soldier. It is believed that St. George was born in Eastern Turkey around 270 AD During the Middle Ages the image of a Dragon was often used to signify the Devil. What is the Emblem of St. George? The Roman Emperor was a pagan who worshipped many gods, he began to persecute Christians for their religious beliefs and many were killed if they did not agree to renounce their faith. St. George’s Emblem is a red cross on a white background. George was a Christian. His parents were also Christians. 6
  • 7. Science Looking after a Pet Dragon I try to link subjects through a topic. If the children have previously studied the topic ‘Caring for Pets’, in Science it is very easy to extend their knowledge of factual informative writing into creative writing. ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell is a great story for introducing the children to the problems associated with looking after different animals. After you’ve read the story ask them to consider what problems they would have looking after a pet dragon? Consolidate the childrens’ suggestions by looking at the ‘Pet’s Needs’ worksheet. Below are some resources that might be useful. (The web page can be translated into Spanish) pet care http://www.first-school.ws/activities/occasions/petcare.htm For older children you can use more factual texts - the RSPCA resources about exotic pets for example are very good resources. The site provides lesson plans such as the one below. http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RSPCA/RSPCARedirect& pg=ReptilesPetCare Lesson Plan: Exotic Pets This activity looks at the complex needs of exotic pets and the responsibility involved in looking after them. 7
  • 8. Curriculum objectives Children should learn: to know about the responsibilities humans have towards animals. to know that it is important to think carefully about whether a particular pet will suit your lifestyle. Starter activity What is an exotic pet? It is difficult to give a clear definition of 'exotic'. However, any animal that is not native to the country where it is kept in captivity can be called an exotic animal. Generally, these animals are not adapted to the climate and wild environment in the country where they are kept. Therefore, they are often completely reliant on their keeper to provide the appropriate captive environment and food they need to stay healthy and to exhibit their natural behaviours. The RSPCA has rescued more than 2,000 exotic animals each year, since 2000, who were abandoned or suffering unnecessarily. Keeping a pet can be a lifelong commitment. Therefore, it's important to do your homework before you buy any animal. Be sure that you can provide a suitable diet, care and captive environment for the rest of the animal's life. Examples of exotic pets: spiders, such as tarantulas frogs, toads, salamanders and newts from tropical countries green iguanas, geckos and chameleons exotic snakes tortoises and terrapins parrots and other exotic birds monkeys chinchillas, chipmunks and gerbils. Why does the class think that people keep exotic pets? Main activity Focus on iguanas Show the pupils a photo of an iguana. (There is one on the webpage) Tell them iguanas come from tropical places in the Caribbean and in Central and South America. Ask them to think about the conditions iguanas are used to in these places - heat, sun, monsoon conditions. 8
  • 9. How do the pupils think iguanas feel when they come to the UK? How are conditions different here? Show the pupils the factsheet ‘Suitable pets’ and ask them to read through it with you. Read it a second time and ask the pupils to make a note of all the different things you need to buy to look after a green iguana properly. Ask the class to feed back what they noted. Write a list of their suggestions, which might include: vivarium thermostat hygrometer (to measure humidity) special lights heat sources food water plants and branches. In pairs, ask the pupils to compare a common pet, such as a dog, with an iguana. What are the differences? What do dogs need to be happy and healthy and what do iguanas need? After feeding back these ideas to the class, ask groups of pupils to decide whether they think animals such as iguanas make good pets. Ask the class to share their experiences of exotic pets. Do they know someone who owns one? Do they have an exotic pet themselves? Vocabulary exotic captivity non-indigenous vivarium thermostat hygrometer humidity Please see RSPCA photocopiable handouts. Linking Science and Literacy Using the children’s previous knowledge of looking after pets the teacher can then encourage children to write a fact sheet about looking after a dragon. They will have to decide on the size and features of their dragon. To help feed their imaginations their are various DVD clips you could show. Film clips – DragonHeart, St. George, My monster and me Science Debates – Could dragons exist? What factual evidence is there? 9
  • 10. Literacy Once the children know the story of St. George and the Dragon they can make up their own versions of the story by changing the characters or adding details. Try finding different versions on the internet, or in story format. Children should be encouraged to try writing their own books. You may want to use the cover below to get them thinking. Don’t forget to help them by supplying lots of vocabulary. Activity In pairs or groups think about the vocabulary you would give to children. 10
  • 11. England’s National Day 23rd April Celebrating Book Day By 11
  • 12. Poetry - Rhyming Pairs George was a knight. His armour shone bright. One day he heard a scream, And there was the biggest dragon he’d ever seen. He hurried on his horse to help the Princess. The dragon had spoilt her nice new dress. His firey breath made a hole appear. But George frightened him off with his long pointed spear. Back to the castle went George and the Princess. Where she put on a more comfortable dress. Activity Find the rhyming pairs and check you’re understanding of the vocabulary. Making up poems is much more difficult than stories but children love rhymes. I always provide the children with a model like the one above and words that rhyme to help them when I ask them to do poetry. As a class we will ‘brainstorm’ words and write between 6 and 8 of the best keywords from the topic on the board. Then I use a rhyming dictionary to help me select words that rhyme with the keywords. (I always do this prior to the lesson.) It is essential that the children understand what all the words mean before they compose their sentences. 12
  • 13. Children should work together in groups to make up 2 sentences. The sentences must END with a keyword or rhyming word in order for the poem to rhyme. It is like working backwards and children do find it difficult. To help I often give them a strip of paper with the keyword already written on it. When groups have their 2 sentences they can share them with the class and they can be organised with the other sentences to make a class poem. Activity – Make a class poem Each group make up two sentences, one which ends in a keyword and one which ends in its rhyming word For Example: One day a knight came riding through the GORGE He was brave and true his name was GEORGE Key Word or phrase. Rhyming word 1 Rhyming word 2 George Gorge Forge Sheep Weep Peep King’s Daughter Water Slaughter Dragon Flagon Wagon Fear Tear Spear Fire Shire Deep fat fryer Happily ever after Laughter rafter Art – Looking at Paintings The 2 books above both have pictures of St. George and the Dragon and are great for getting children to talk about art. 13
  • 14. St. George and the Dragon by Rogier van der Weyden 14
  • 15. Investigating and Talking about a Painting The artist Rogier van der Weyden was born in 1400 and died 1464. He lived in Brussels and was a busy artist with many assistants and pupils. This painting is actually quite small, about the size of your hand and was painted with oil paints on to wood. The painting was completed around 1435. There is so much detail in the painting that experts think that the artist used a very fine brush and a magnifying glass to help him. What is the Princess doing? Describe what she is wearing? What do you think the dragon stands for? What emblem tells you the man on the horse is St. George? What is he doing? Who do you think lives in the castle? Why are there bones and skulls at the bottom of the picture? Can you see the two men on horses travelling to the castle? Dragon Collage Use recycled materials and paints to create a Dragon for the classroom. Story Boards The class can recreate books they have read or written themselves for displaying on the wall. Dragon Mask 3D Dragon Use the template below to make your own dragon. It is very difficult to see which way he is looking. 15
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