Children at home? An Easy English & History Activity (which involves grandparents)


Many are working from home right now while also trying to keep children occupied. People are generating and sharing activities, ideas, and more (ex. Facebook group Kid Quarantine Resources). Here’s what one English Professor at UWaterloo (me) is doing. It combines English and History, while also including interactions with grandparents and others who are self-isolating.

The plan is this: search your house for age-appropriate novels set in historical periods. I was lucky to have a box of suitable books in the attic. Well, mostly suitable–I weeded out the ones about plagues, and the remaining books weren’t as ethnically diverse as I would have liked, but we’ll make up for it later. Then I generated a work sheet that brings in Freytag’s Pyramid (see below). The idea is that the children read the book, fill the sheet out, and do some independent research. Then they send a copy to a grandparent, and a day later have a phone call or Skype to discuss it together. We’ll do related activities as well–at least one trebuchet is getting built this week!



Novel title: ________________________________________________________________________

Time period and location: ____________________________________________________________

Date of publication of the book: _______________________________________________________

Plot the novel on Freytag’s Pyramid


What makes this conflict compelling?

Who is the protagonist? ______________________________________________________________

Who is the antagonist? _______________________________________________________________

What form is the narration?    First person.        Second person.             Third person.

What are three things about this historical period you are going to look up?




What have you learned looking those things up?


2 responses to “Children at home? An Easy English & History Activity (which involves grandparents)

  1. Excellent work indeed you are doing. My city Calcutta/Kolkata together with Delhi and Mumbai has just gone into complete lockdown two hours back for seven days (if required more) for Corona Virus.I will ask children I know here, to follow your site. Thank you and just carry on.

  2. Great idea, especially getting them to discuss it with someone else when they’re done. Really helps their retention 😀

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