Myths and legends throughout Europe: from England to Sicily (LS-IT-101)

Context

My name is Emanuela Leto, I designed this activity for 11-year-old students. The learning scenario is integrated into the national curriculum of Medieval History of 7 th grade classes of Italian school. It aims at the acquisition of reading skills. The topic is related to myths and legends. More precisely, the lesson highlights the link to the British world with one symbol of Sicily: The Volcano Etna.
In this scenario, most of the 21st-century skills are implemented. Such as digital skills, creativity, communication in mother tongue and in English, collaborative skills, and creation of open-source resources.

Using digital storytelling to connect with cultural heritage

Storytelling is a non-formal methodology, which can be really useful in language learning. In particular for foreign languages. Moreover, a multidisciplinary approach is really effective in terms of attention, and motivation among the youngest students.

Connecting together different disciplines such as History, Art and language, both mother tongue and English as a foreign language, we explored an old medieval legend which has the peculiarity to link the British world with one symbol of our region: The Volcano Etna (Sicily). Using some images taken from The Europeana Collections, paintings, or icons belonging to the middle ages, students can rebuild the settings the court of the legendary King Arthur. Students used the Sicilian version of the legend, by Arturo Graf, to retell the legend in a digital storytelling guise. In this way, the students will reuse elements belonging to a past cultural heritage making them actual.

Procedure

First, students are being introduced the topic through the vision of some parts of the Disney Cartoon movie The Sword in the Stone, in foreign language. To test their comprehension, some Kahoot quizzes will be administered in order to acquire contents and specific vocabulary related to the historical age and to the main characters.

Then, I introduce the legend of King Arthur and the Middle Age period. For this, I used a summary of Sir Thomas Mallory “Morte d’Arthur”, supported by images selected in the Europeana Collections. After that, some extracts of the book A.Graf “Miti e leggende di Sicilia” in a storytelling guise is read. A summarised version of the legend is shared with the students. It allows students to translate it and create a storyboard using characters and scene drawn by them and material from Europeana.

Final Outcome

The materials design by students were used to create an e-book, which has been evaluated in terms of personal reallocation of the content, use of foreign language and media tools.

Overall, this activity motivates the students to learn about history, which is usually considered boring. In fact, the use of the Europeana platform increases curiosity, attention and promote the learning process.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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