with Kim Rodgers
Istanbul? No, Constantinople!
We started off reading our summaries from last week. I have to say I really enjoy hearing what they remember, as they each seem to highlight one aspect of what we studied the week before. By the time they have all shared we have a thorough synopsis!
I pulled out the illuminated letters they had started last week and we talked about how they should have lots of bold color using the colored pencils. They used fancy gold, silver, and copper pens to go over the glue outline. I forgot to take photos of them, so if you would like to send me a photo of your child’s letter I’ll add it to this post on the website. They looked very nice!
While they were working on finishing their letters I read to them about the Byzantine Empire. We talked about the city of Constantinople and how crowded and busy it was. At this point children were attending school while the city bustled with sites and smells of a flourishing metropolis! We focused on Justinian, the just emperor and learned how he began life as a peasant in a family of farmers. He longed to learn and taught himself how to read so he could study law, music, poetry, and religious studies. He begged his parents to allow him to travel to Constantinople to learn more. They consented and he became a learned man before joining the army where he proved his bravery and leadership. When the emperor died, Justinian was named the ruler of the Byzantine Empire. He was very interested in claiming the land that used to belong to Rome. He succeeded in capturing a lot of it, and brought it to a place of power that was more than Rome had ever seen. He also wanted to make Constantinople the greatest city in the world, by having beautiful places to live and stunning places of worship. One building in particular stands out above all the rest as it’s the first time in history we see this type of architecture...a dome built on a square base...the Hagia Sophia.
There was one problem. All of the different countries in his empire had their own laws, which made it very difficult to govern. Under his leadership Justinian unified the laws so the whole empire knew what laws to follow. Ask your kids if they can remember some of the laws we read together. Some of them seemed a little absurd!
When we finished our discussion we watched a video about the architecture of Hagia Sophia and pulled out the Legos. Using what we learned in the video along with pictures and drawings, the students tried to re-create the main dome. Part of my purpose in this exercise was for the students to realize how difficult this task was. Some students decided to work together, while others worked on their own. If they would like to try to build one at home to bring in for our next class, please encourage them to do so.
Just a reminder...there is no class next week as it’s Columbus Day. I will see you the following week. As usual there is a notebooking page, along with a map and directions. There are special activities the students can do with the map if they so choose that includes some of the famous buildings. On the notebooking page is a place to draw a picture. The directions say to draw a picture of Constantinople, but the students can draw anything about what we learned.
Supplies Needed for Next Class
For our next class please bring in a rinsed out gallon jug as we will need them to form the base of the mosaics we will be working on. I’ll provide all the other supplies.
Enjoy your week off and I’ll see you on the 20th!