Exploring Around the World: England

by admin

This school year for social studies, we have been traveling the world and learning about important people, places and landmarks. If you’re new here and want to see what we have been up to, check out our other Around the World Units:


Continuing our exploration of Europe, our next stop was England! Like all the other countries, we began by finding it on the map and globe. We identified what continent it belonged to and which landmarks surrounded it. We love using our MAPS book for every new country we explore. I also really love my fabric map that I keep folded in a drawer. It’s so easy to pull out and lay on the floor. They don’t sell my exact one anymore, but this one is similar. They colored the country’s flag and map and added them to their social studies journals.

Next, we learned about London–prominent landmarks in the city, the iconic double decker buses, etc. We spend most of our time, though, learning the history of Big Ben. The kids did a directed drawing of the tower, that came out amazing. After the drawing, I had the kids work in a small group to complete a reading comprehension exercise. I found it for free on TPT here.

Next, we learned about why England’s flag has a red cross. We read about St. George and how he is known for being a brave “red cross knight.” We made cookies that resembled a shield, and used jelly and powdered sugar to add the cross. They turned out super cute!

Queen Elizabeth I was up next! I read about her life and how she was known for unifying the Catholics and Protestants in England during a time when tensions ran very high between the two. We paid attention to her elegant attire and red hair. The kids had the creative freedom to draw their own portraits of the queen. They did not disappoint!

We learned about the Titanic next. I had a couple library books I read from, then we watched a short video of the submarine footage that compared it to how it once looked. Our art was a mixture of tempura paints for the background and oil pastels for the boat. These turned out great.

Every unit I choose an animal from that country, and for England I chose puffins! We watched a couple National Geographic videos about them and did a directed watercolor painting.

We moved on to Queen Elizabeth II! I printed and cut out a silhouette of her I found online. I had the kids trace it onto watercolor paper and add red and blue textured (splattered/stamped) tempura paint all over it. We chose these colors because of the UK flag. Once dry, they used a gold marker to draw in a crown and cut out their silhouette. As with all the art they create, they added these to their social studies journals along with a few sentences about what they learned.

Last, but not least, we learned about William Shakespeare. I struggled with lesson planning on this one because I wanted to do more than just a biography and art piece, however, the content of his plays were too advanced for my students. After many hours of research and planning, I found a happy medium. I split the lesson over two days. The first day, I had the students create patterned paper portraits, which are way easier than they look! I printed out a simple portrait of Shakespeare, and cut it into 4 different pieces. I then had students trace each piece on their choice of scrapbook paper. While they worked, I read about Shakespeare’s life and how he came to be the most famous play-write who ever lived.

On day two, I read Sonnet 18 in my very best acting voice, then I read through it again, translating each line to help them better understand the meaning. I did this same exercise with Juliet’s monologue “Romeo, Romeo..” This gave them a good feel of the style of his writing, without diving too deeply into his plays that could easily overwhelm them at this age. I purchased an awesome activity on TPT where the kids could write their very own soliloquies and translate them into Shakespearean language. They did such an awesome job on these, I was so impressed! I had a few read theirs aloud to the class.

We could not learn about England without having our own high tea. Fortunately, this landed on our annual Valentine’s Day Tea, so it worked out perfectly! We concluded our unit on England in style.

Loved learning all about England with these kids. This wraps up our study of Europe. Next stop, South America!

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