This page is intended to give an example of what a day might look like. Each day is tailored to meet the preferences of each school.
The scene is set for the day. The children will spend the first part of the day familiarising themselves with where the Saxons/Vikings came from They will 'sail' boats across the North Sea and disembark the invaders in their relevant locations. Lots of children are involved and are encouraged to move over the map.
The next stage is to consider what the Saxons/Vikings wore. Cathy and some helpers will put on clothing, considering the available materials and contrasting them with their own clothing. The children will learn to identify the differences between clothing of the rich and poor. We will also contrast pagan and Christian styles.
A teacher says... 'Very visual - hands on and functional. Great how the children could physically see the movement of people.'
After the introductory session, the children will begin on a series of workshops, which are selected beforehand by the leading teacher. This class of Y3/4 are experiencing a range of replica items close up, by playing 'What's in the bag?' An item is placed in the bag and each child takes a turn to describe it, then the others have to guess what it is. There are plenty of opportunities for trying things on and examining the objects further.
A teacher says... 'Feely bag (guessing game) was great. It was good for the EAL children who were able to join in and gain new vocabulary by listening to the other children. It also made the children really think about the objects that they were handling. Engaging activity!! All children were involved and offered suggestions.'
The next workshop involves learning about the significance, construction and design of shields. First the children look at replica components of a shield and consider their different uses. They then label the components, using an 'How to make shield' instruction sheet. Once they are familiar with the different elements, they design their own shield pattern. During the session, all the children have the opportunity to hold a replica shield and feel the weight and bulk of it for themselves.
A teacher says... 'The children really loved the creative side of this activity -designing their own shield. They really took ownership of thier own shields and they are looking forward to actually making them later in the half term. the children also enjoyed choosing their village colours.'
Here the children lift off layers of cloth to represent layers of soil. As they 'dig' back into the past, they discover the different reasons objects are found in the soil and explore the materials which usually survive burial and those which usually decompose. The removal of the final layer of 'soil' reveals a human burial. The rather friendly looking skeleton has been buried with a range of objects, which give the children some clues about who he might have been.
A teacher says... 'The children (and I!) loved this. Brilliant activity which got them thinking and all involved.'
Preparing for Battle 1
Cathy now focuses on a battle relevant to your period of study and your geographical location. This group of Y5/6 children are preparing for a Battle between the Mercian King Penda and the East Anglian King Ecfric. First, Cathy explains about the different weapons which would have appeared on the battlefield, their significance and other uses.
Preparing for Battle 2 - Training the Warriors
First, the warriors are given a safety briefing and the teachers in charge are asked to watch for adherence to the rules. The (mostly) young warriors in this school are practising attacking their opponents and using their imaginary shields to protect themselves. Once all adults are happy that all the 'young warriors' are well trained (and following the safety rules), the young warriors then collect weapons to use in the battle.
A teacher says... 'AMAZING! So controlled and structured, yet the children had the freedom to have fun at the same time. We were thrilled with how this part of the day went.'
Recreating the Battle
The warriors are now taught how to form a shield wall and practise their battle cries. We then retell the story of the battle, with the children taking key roles. Unsurprisingly, when the children are asked about their favourite part of the day, the battle usually features highly. The 'Battle' allows the children to experience a structured roleplay and have fun bringing history to life...and death!
A teacher says... 'The experience you gave the children during the battle was so different to anything they have done before! They loved it.'
To round off the day, Cathy demonstrates archery to the children. A real 'wow' to end a day full of hands on learning.
A child says... 'I asked my friends what was the best bit and all of them said when you drew the bow and let go. I never knew how far it (the arrow) would go!'