Thursday, April 13, 2017

Eric the Red

Today was our last day of CC for the year, and part of the festivities included the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders (Essentials students) presenting their big end-of-year research papers, which CC calls Faces of History. The assignment was to choose a real person from Medieval history, find at least three credible sources about that person from which to gather information, write a five-paragraph paper in the third person, and then turn the paper into a presentation, to be delivered in the first person and in costume. Finally, the kids were asked to provide a snack representative of the geographic region their characters were from to share at the reception that followed the presentations. Weston chose Eric the Red and worked for weeks completing the assignment, sometimes even during non-school hours--not because I required that of him, but because he was so excited about the project. He did a phenomenal job with the paper and the presentation, and we are so proud of him! (His paper follows the pictures, for those of you who might want to read it.)

All decked out before the presentation

Presenting before an audience of peers, parents, siblings, and other invited guests

The Man on Fire
Could history ever forget a discoverer with fiery hair and a fiery spirit? Will Eric the Red’s legacy be remembered? Like everyone, Eric, the son of a Viking chief, was deeply influenced by his family. Sadly, as an adult, he was unable to restrain his temper and was therefore forced to flee his country. Making the most of this less than ideal situation, Eric became an explorer.
Everybody is profoundly impacted by their families. Eric was no exception. When he was still a young boy, Eric’s family left Norway and traveled to Iceland because his dad had become an outlaw. In his early adulthood, Eric married Thorhild, who was the daughter of a different chief. Together they had four kids, one of whom became the famous explorer Leif Ericsson. Clearly, parents have an enormous effect on their children.
Like his father, Eric had a terrible temper, which turned him into an outlaw as well. Eric’s slaves stupidly started a landslide, which demolished a neighbor’s home. Retaliating, the neighbor slayed the thralls. When Eric found out, his anger overtook him, and he killed his neighbor. As a result of his horrible temper, he was banished from Iceland.
Taking advantage of what seemed like a tragic situation, Eric sailed west because he had not explored that part of the world before. Finally, after about three months of traveling, Eric landed on a distant land covered in ice. He named it Ericsholm, which means “Eric’s Home.” After a while, Eric had a noticeably nifty notion and changed the name to Greenland in order to draw more settlers. The name worked, and twenty-five other ships embarked upon the six month journey. Sadly, only fourteen arrived in Greenland. Since there was no wood in this new land, the Vikings had to hunt whales and seals so that they could trade the skins for the wood they needed. After a life of exploring, Eric eventually settled down in a town in Greenland he called Eric’s Fjord.
It is clear that Eric’s family had a great influence on him. Tragically, this may have led to him becoming an outlaw. On the bright side, Eric finally had an opportunity to become a proficient explorer. Though he faced many struggles early in his life, Eric the Red managed to overcome them all and is now remembered as the founder of Greenland. Importantly, this legacy of exploration carried over to his son, Leif, who discovered an entirely new continent. The world will not soon forget the adventurer with the fiery hair and equally fiery spirit.

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