Using the sagas in the classroom

On Friday, September 13, 2013, at the annual Autumn Teacher Conference in East Iceland, our organization received the opportunity to meet with teachers from elementary schools in East Iceland and present ideas of how to connect the sagas to the classroom.

Haustthing kennara 2013 handavinna og spilThe organization has been working towards goals of drawing East Icelanders‘ attention to their roots and how the sagas still appear in today‘s society, in thoughts, reactions, and landscape, as well as widening people‘s perspective of the opportunities of historical-based tourism in the area.

To fill the“ missing piece of the puzzle“ perfectly, dr. William R. Short made a trip to East Iceland on Friday while on vacation. He gave a short presentation on his group‘s work and the Hurstwic homepage and spoke to the group of intrigued and enthusiastic teachers about the work and some ideas. Haustthing kennara 2013 gestur

The present foreman of the Hrafnkels Saga Organization, Michelle Mielnik, has a B.Ed. in elementary school teaching and has taught for a total of over 12 years as an elementary teacher, dance instructor, and musuem educator. To combine her interest in history, museums, and teaching  she has written a small list of ideas that teachers can choose from and find more information about what is possible for their classroom. Keeping in mind that not every aspect is described in full, there are clues throughout the sagas, enough to interest students. For example, a short passage about a wedding may be enough to arouse curiosity about food, sitting arrangements, poems, gifts, love vs. efficiency, loyalty and status, instruments, dancing, etc.

Haustthing kennara 2013 vikivakiThe sagas are not only a part of history class as they provide information about basically every aspect of daily life during the viking age. Therefore they inspire a certain curiosity and understanding in every subject. And even though their credibility is sometimes controversial, many of the place names, people, and events have been recorded or proven real by other means.

For further details see the whole document HERE and feel free to improvise and use more ideas. All teachers, in Iceland and every other country, are persuaded to connect their classrooms to the area‘s, the children‘s and the country‘s history, because what happened – or didn‘t happen – in the past is what makes us what we are today!

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