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November: Historical

Catherine, Called Birdy

Activity #1: (WRITING) The accepted roles for females have changed drastically since the Middle Ages. Write a dialogue between Catherine and yourself in which she explains her frustrations with her role as a female, and you tell her how times have changed -- what life would be like for her today. Be sure to maintain Catherine's voice and her unorthodox sense of humor.

Activity #2: (RESEARCH/ART) Put together a labeled collage or illustrated chart that shows the differences in personal hygiene and sanitary conditions between the Middle Ages and the present. Use the novel as a springboard for your ideas, but research beyond the novel by using other informational sources.

Activity #3: (COOKING) Prepare a Medieval feast for the class to share. Working in pairs or individually, have everyone bring in a dish typical of the era. (Remember that food was eaten without utensils.) Top off the feast with a cake decorating contest. See who can bake the most creative cake representing the Middle Ages -- dragons, swords, rats, castles, whatever!

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman was published in 1994 by HarperCollins, NY NY.

For information on the author KAREN CUSHMAN.