August 25

Question J: Request for Examples of Steiner’s Storytelling Curriculum for Fifth Grade: Scenes from Medieval History.

Question: I am teaching 5th grade this year. I have a question about the Storytelling Curriculum. I need a couple of examples of what is meant by Stories and Scenes from Medieval History. Are you meaning telling them Beowulf? Canterbury Tales? A story from the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine? Joan of Arc? I need a little direction to fuel my imagination and research.

Your question about storytelling in fifth grade is a good one. There are lots of ways you could cover scenes from Medieval history in fifth grade storytelling, and every suggestion you offered was a good possibility. However, there are more possibilities that are worth considering.

My advice would be as follows: Go to page 900 of Continuing the Journey to Literacy and use Appendix 7: Summer Preparation Forms Grades 4-6. Use it as a brainstorming tool to find possible material for your storytelling curriculum in grade 5. As you fill out the tables, you will briefly consider the history curriculum in grade 6–medieval history. The tables look at the following topics:

1. How Medieval History Impacts the Present (How it is important in students' lives today) (e.g., tell a scene from the Black Death and plagues or a story that features the Black Death)

2. Major Historical Figures (e.g., tell part of the biography of Joan of Arc) 

3. Major Wars (e.g., tell a story from the Hundred Years War)

4. Literary Works (e.g., tell one of the tales from Canterbury Tales)

Once you have the tables filled out, you will have a list of possibly story topics to tell in fifth grade. My advice would be to choose a mix–some fiction and some historical. Pick material you love, material that would speak to your class, and material that would allow you to introduce medieval history in sixth grade. 

Based on what you have said, it sounds like you have some good ideas for tables 2 and 4 (i.e., a story from the life of Elanor of Aquitaine and something from Canterbury Tales). That's great. Also consider stories from tables 1 and 3 (e.g., how medieval history impacts the present and major wars). Look at All About History magazineit has some fun magazines at They are incredibly user friendly and provide aspects of the history in a narrative form. You can easily find possible topics for storytelling in these magazines. You would just pick one or more narrative story/ies about one of these topics to tell in fifth grade.

I hope this helps. If you have follow-up questions, please let me know.

Good luck!


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