Sunday, February 27, 2011

How To Make A Fun “Knighting” Ceremony In Your Classroom

This is a really fun way to end a unit on fantasy literature or medieval history. Here's what you need:
  • Some Gregorian chant music — I use the Chant CD by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos on an iPod attached to powered speakers.
  • Robe or sheet for each student. It works best if they bring in their own.
  • A ceremonial “sword” of some sort. A wooden replica works very well for this.
  • A clear space in your classroom for all the students to kneel.
  • Darkness.
In the days before this event, students will need to chose some sort of chivalric symbol, like a dragon, crow, or tower. This would be fun to do while teaching heraldry. Hand out shield-shaped paper and have the students draw their symbol on it, then decorate the classroom with the shields.

Darken and clear the room before the students enter. Put on the music. Have them put on their robes and drape their sheets over themselves before they come in. If you feel comfortable asking this, have the students leave their shoes at the door.

Students will enter silently and kneel in the clear space in the classroom. Have them kneels silently for a few moments, then tell them about how a young boy would advance from page to squire, then finally to knight. (Make sure you have your research done. Here and here are good webpages with information on knighting ceremonies.) Have students understand that the kneeling part of ceremony was meant to be uncomfortable, although you as a teacher should not push it. Have students kneel as long as they're comfortable.

Once you've taught what you wish to teach, have one student stand and approach you. He/she will kneel in front of you, then you will have him repeat some sort of code of honor. It would be good to make one up appropriate for your school or community. Then ask the student his/her symbol. When you receive the answer, dub the student with the wooden sword on both shoulders, then say, “I now pronounce you Sir (name) of the (student's personal symbol).” If the student is a girl, replace “Sir” with “Dame”. Go through the students one by one, making sure the unknighted ones stay on the floor until they're called.

This is a fun moment for everybody. Students get a feel for what a knighting ceremony feels like and you as a teacher will get mucho cool points from your students. Usually this ceremony takes about 20 minutes, so have something planned for afterward too. A discussion on knighthood or a journal entry might be appropriate.

1 comment:

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