Maybe you’re just like me and have been reading King Arthur tales for as long as you can remember. Or maybe you are merely familiar with King Arthur due to all of the modern movie adaptations. Or maybe you’re someone who has never attempted anything King Arthur because it’s “old”.
Chances are, your students are somewhere in-between options 2 and 3. I’m here to say that King Arthur is still alive and well in my classroom . Here are some tips with making him relatable in the modern day classroom.
King Arthur movies and shows literally pop-up almost every single year. Currently, I am reading (and watching) a new spin on Arthurian legends with Cursed. There is also the old favorite of Star Wars: A New Hope. My favorite modern pop culture connection activity right now is having them watch the movie Aquaman and looking at how King Arthur parallels with Arthur Curry.
My students love to listen to podcast episodes as much as I do. Sometimes it helps to break up the monotony of reading nonstop. Plus, it is a fantastic position for any of your struggling readers. I absolutely love the podcast entitled Myths and Legends. The podcaster has done several episodes on King Arthur tales now. I personally love to read about Arthur’s Origins and pulling of the sword in the stone and then contrasting with the episode entitled The Mayday Massacre. This leads to some great discussions on choices that leaders make and where do we draw the line on actions for the greater good.
Modernize The Text
I love to share Le Morte de Arthur with my students. My first year of teaching, several teachers shied me away from using this version because the text is so archaic. While I don’t have as much trouble understanding the text I completely understand why my students would. The first time I tried using it it did take a little while of me reading it aloud to them and discussing it, but they did eventually get it….and loved it. However, I soon decided that modernizing the text would also be beneficial in empowering them to read and comprehend more on their own. So I spent several weeks and modernized chapters 1- through 17 of Book XX. This took a lot of work and patience but it was a huge success!
As I said at the start of the post, I adore King Arthur legend and I love sharing this with my students. We discuss ideals like chivalry, what it truly needs to be heroic, and at what point do you your poor actions outweigh your good ones. I hope this has given you some fantastic ideas of how to incorporate King Arthur into your modern classroom. Long live the King!