Each year, my daughter’s school has a “Masquerade” where the students choose amongst a list of characters of a given theme, this year’s being “Medieval Times.”  The students draw a character, learn all about him or her and dress up in costume with their presentation. This hands-on approach is so beneficial, as you can see how kids learn, retain knowledge and more thoroughly understand the lessons.

My daughter has consistently chosen strong female characters, including this year’s heroine: Joan of Arc. Together, she and I designed her costume according to her drawing: leather, sequined fabric, kitchen gloves all became transformed into character, and along the way, Sydney learned about Joan of Arc’s life, accomplishments and legacy. By becoming the character for the “Masquerade,” Sydney was able to understand a bit more what life was like for a woman in those times, and learned lessons more thoroughly than had she simply read it in a textbook.

Sydney Portraying Jeanne d'Arc, maid of Orleans, deliverer of France

Sydney Portraying Jeanne d’Arc, maid of Orleans, deliverer of France

This principle of applied learning applies to all subjects. Check out an article I read at the start of this school year in Huffington Post about applied learning as it pertains to science.

Favorite Joan of Arc quotes:

“Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone.

But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.” ~ Joan of Arc

“I am not afraid….. I was born to do this.” ~ Joan of Arc

“Courage! Do not fall back.” ~ Joan of Arc