The Vikings - Curriculum Unit about Viking Explorers, Rulers, Places & More

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The ESL Nexus
Grade Levels
5th - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
115 PDF Pages & 65 Google Slides
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Teach about the Vikings with this 115-page resource that includes reading, writing, vocabulary, and speaking tasks appropriate for all students, including English Language Learners. Also included are a map activity, task cards, word search and crossword puzzles, an activity about runes, a Viking game, and end of unit tests.

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* You can find this resource, along with 6 other products, in a money-saving bundle HERE.

Resource at a Glance:

What will students learn?

* Facts about Viking rulers and explorers, places where the Vikings lived, and Norse gods and goddesses.

* Vocabulary related to the Viking Age.

* Information about the runic alphabet.

* How to play a Viking-era game.

Who is it for?

* All students, including English Language Learners and other students who need support to access grade-level content.

How does it help teachers?

* Introductory activities can be used when beginning a unit about the Vikings.

* A reading passage enables students reading below grade level to access basic information about the Vikings.

* Filled-in charts present information about the Viking Age in language that is comprehensible for ELLs at intermediate and higher levels of language proficiency.

* Blank charts can be used by all students to take notes about this time period.

* A glossary and vocabulary tasks support and reinforce students’ learning of new words.

* Task cards let students discuss information learned and give them speaking and listening practice.

* Word search and crossword puzzles can be used for homework, as fillers, or with early finishers.

* The runic alphabet and Viking game are fun activities for students and provide different modalities to learn about the Vikings.

* Several types of extension activities let students further their learning about the Viking Age.

* Included tests let you easily assess what your students have learned after you finish teaching about the Vikings.

* Google Drive component is provided if you're teaching remotely or 1:1.

What educators who have used this resource say about it:

♥ "I appreciated this packet more than others I have used. The resources were adaptable, accurate, fun and engaging, and comprehensive. Great purchase!" -- Kendra H.

♥ "A wonderful resource, my students love learning about this amazing time in history." -- Eliza H.

♥ "This is exactly what we were looking for. This pairs perfectly with our notebooking pages and activities for our viking unit. My littles are enjoying using this with their viking unit. Thank you!" -- Susan N.


What you get with this Viking product:

In the PDF File:

★ Cover (1 page)

★ A table of contents for easy reference (1 page)

★ A Notes to the Teacher page with background information and suggestions for using the charts (3 pages)

★ Directions for accessing the Google Drive™ materials (1 page)

★ Suggested sequence for using the materials in this resource (1 page)

★ A list of ELA Common Core standards addressed in this product (1 page)

★ Sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators (1 page)

★ Student Learning Objectives page (1 page)

★ Introductory activity (1 page)

★ Map activity (4 pages)

★ Reading passage, glossary, comprehension questions & answer key (4 pages)

★ 2 vocabulary tasks with rubrics & answer key (5 pages)

★ Cover page for completed charts (1 page)

★ Glossary for the charts (1 page)

★ 18 charts filled in with answers to questions about Viking explorers, rulers, places, gods and goddesses (18 pages)

★ Cover page for blank charts (1 page)

★ 18 blank charts about Viking explorers, rulers, places, gods and goddesses (18 pages)

★ Templates for charts about a Viking person, place, god, and goddess (1 each for a total of 4 pages)

★ Task cards with 14 general questions, 2 blank task cards, and answer key (7 pages)

★ Task cards with 6 “Would you rather…” questions and 2 blank task cards (2 pages)

★ Cover page for word search puzzles (1 page)

★ 1 word search puzzle, with 3 levels of difficulty, and answer keys (6 pages)

★ Crossword puzzle and answer key in 2 versions (3 pages)

★ The runic alphabet and 2 rune stone templates, 1 in color and 1 in black-and-white (3 pages)

Hnefatafl game with instructions, game boards, and playing pieces (7 pages)

★ Suggestions for research, writing, and alternative tasks plus rubrics (4 pages)

★ Suggestions for extension projects and rubrics (5 pages)

★ 2 end of unit tests with answer keys (Test A is 4 pages and Test B is 5 pages for a total of 9 pages)

In the Google Drive Materials:

★ Cover (1 slide)

★ List of materials (1 slide)

★ Reading passage with glossary, questions & answer key (4 slides)

★ Cover slide for charts (1 slide)

★ Glossary for charts (1 slide)

★ Charts about people (5 slides)

★ Charts about places (7 slides)

★ Charts about gods & goddesses (6 slides)

★ Cover slide for task cards (1 slide)

★ Factual information task cards (20 slides)

★ Answer key for factual information task cards (1 slide)

★ “Would you rather” task cards (6 slides)

★ Cover slide for tests (1 slide)

★ Test A (3 slides)

★ Test B ( 4 slides)

★ Answer key for Test A (1 slide)

★ Answer key for Test B (1 slide)

★ Copyright, social media & credits info (1 slide)

More Info:

A suggested sequence for using the materials in this resource about Viking history and Norse mythology will help you organize your students’ learning. You can display the page with the Student Learning Objectives on it to show your students what they will be learning. A quick task that introduces the Viking Age to your students is provided as a way to begin the unit.

Students who are reading below grade level can learn about the Vikings with a reading passage that is at a Grade 2 reading level. This would be helpful for ELLs who are at a high beginning or low intermediate proficiency level. Other students who have difficulty understanding grade-level texts will also benefit from using it. A glossary with definitions that specifically address the ways the words are used in the text is included. Comprehension questions let you check students’ understanding and an answer key is provided.

For students with higher reading skills, 18 charts about the Vikings comprise the main part of this resource. Each chart lists questions on the left and answers to the right.

There are 5 charts about Viking rulers and explorers:

* Rollo

* Erik the Red

* Olaf Tryggvason

* Leif Eriksson

* Canute the Great

There are 7 charts about regions the Vikings lived in:

* Scandinavia

* Iceland

* Greenland

* Vinland

* Great Britain

* Normandy

* Russia

And there are 6 charts about Norse gods and goddesses:

* Odin

* Frigg

* Thor

* Baldur

* Heimdall

* Loki

In addition, there are 18 blank charts that your students can use to take notes if they are reading other texts about the Vikings. Blank templates for a person, place, god, and goddess are included if you’d like your students to learn about other ones. Eight ways for using the charts are described.

There are 2 vocabulary tasks in this resource:

* In the first task, students complete templates about words by writing their own definition, writing a sentence using the word, drawing a picture of the word, and adding other info about the word. An evaluation rubric, with 2 versions, is provided so you can assess your students’ understanding.

* The second vocabulary task deals with multiple meaning words that are found in the texts; an answer key is included.

Task cards with 14 general questions about the Vikings and 6 “Would you rather…” questions are included, along with an answer key. You can use these task cards for speaking and/or writing practice, and as a review before a test.

The word search puzzles, which have 3 levels of difficulty, and the crossword puzzle -- all with answer keys -- can be used for homework, as fillers, or for fun. There is a page that shows the runic alphabet and students can use the runestone templates (one in color, the other in black-and-white) to write their names or a sentence in runes. Instructions for playing a Viking game called Hnefatafl are provided along with 2 versions of the game board and playing pieces.

On another page, 8 research topics, 8 writing ideas, and 8 alternative ideas for students who are less proficient in reading and writing are offered. There are evaluation rubrics for all. Another page offers 2 ideas for extension activities — creating a poster and a folded paper project. Rubrics are provided for these as well.

There are 2 tests you can give your students when you have finished teaching this Viking curriculum unit. One test is based on the reading passage and the other test is based on the information in the charts. Both tests include true/false, multiple-choice, vocabulary, and open-ended response questions. Answers keys are included for your convenience.

A Notes to the Teacher section provides explanatory information. Pages listing the ELA Common Core standards addressed in this resource and sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators are also included for teachers working in states that use them.

The digital component of this Viking resource includes the following materials:

* The reading passage about the Vikings with glossary, questions, and answer key

* The filled-in charts about Viking rulers, explorers, places, and Norse gods and goddeses

* The task cards, with 1 question on each slide, and the answer key for the factual question task cards

* The 2 tests and their answer keys

In addition, a list of materials in the Google Drive version plus cover slides to help you organize the materials are also included.

I fell in love with the Vikings when I was a high school exchange student in Sweden. I walked in places where the Vikings lived and saw many different types of rune stones. I am pleased to share my knowledge of the Vikings with your students through this Historic-ELL™ resource!


More Historic-ELL™ resources you might like:

Early European Colonies in America: Charts for Reading & Writing, Word Searches

Chinese Dynasties, Emperors & Philosophers: Charts, Task Cards & Puzzles

Ancient India Emperors and Empires: Charts for Reading & Writing, Word Searches

Other products you may be interested in:

English Words with Old Norse Roots: Posters & Task Cards for 51 Words

End of Year American History (Late 1400s-1800) Persuasive Writing Activity

African-American Biography Task Cards for Writing, Speaking & Listening Practice

The Corn Raid Novel Study (a story about Jamestown)


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Thank you and happy teaching!

Common Core Standards © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. Any claims of correlation or alignment to the CCSS Standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS standards.

Any claims of correlation or alignment to the WIDA ELD standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the WIDA Consortium. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the WIDA standards.

© 2015 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google Drive is a trademark of Google Inc. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with Google, Inc.


Total Pages
115 PDF Pages & 65 Google Slides
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


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